Pizza history

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Pizza history

The origin of the word Pizza is uncertain but it could have come from the Greek Pita bread as far back as 800 BC.

The Pizza as we know it today was born in Naples located in Southern Italy at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. The word Pizza was part of the national Italian language by 1540.
In the 16th century there were two types of Pizza the sweet for the wealthy and the savory for the poor. Although tomatoes found their way from the Americas in the 16 th century they were considered poisonous for 200 years and only became a popular garnish for Pizza in the 19th century.

In June 1889 king Umberto 1st set out to unify Italy. To achieve that he needed the support of the southern people so he journeyed to Naples with his wife Margherita. Here he sampled the famous pizzaiolo Raffaele Exposito's specialties "The Marinara" (olive oil and Oregano) and "The Mastunicola" ( Strutto = lard, cheese and basil) but it was the patriotic pizza prepared by Raffaele's wife Rosa which pleased the queen the most. She had combined the colors of the Italian flag, the red of the tomatoes, the white of the Mozzarella cheese and the green of the basil. This new creation was named by Raffaele in honour of the queen and became the famous Margherita as we know it today.

Emigration to the new world saw the spread of this popular Mediterranean dish and pizzerias sprang up everywhere until they joined the fast food chains and we saw a decline in excellence. But you can recreate history and a magical atmosphere, all you need are good friends, the warmth and glow of a wood fire oven and freshly baked pizza.

The choice of toppings is endless and should reflect on your taste and moods. At last vegetarians and meat eaters can share the same table. If you are using a domestic oven you can still make Pizza but the ambiance surrounding a wood fired oven is lost, never the less I am sure your pizzas will be appreciated.

Making Pizza dough
Pizza dough is a huge subject as even in Italy you eat a different pizza in Roma, and Naples but there are also a lot of variation in Naples and in the rest of Italy. As I really like Pizza Napoletana I find it difficult to talk about the other Pizza. There is no oil in the Napoletana dough so as it is like bread making you can use my quantity calculator to prepare your ingredients. Dough should be quite wet using white flour and if possible Naples Sourdough starter (you can source it in our shop). Make sure you refrigerate your dough before using it and make sure the dough has not overfermented when you use it. Pizza should be baked on a very hot stone or better still in a wood fired oven.
Breadnz will run a course on Napoletana style Pizza from June 2011.

For people who like olive oil in the pizza dough the quantity calculator can also help you as long as you select Pizza instead of bread.

So you have 2 choices for pizza dough either bread mixture or Pizza mixture. Try to use a moderately wet Hydration level to start with like 62%. Then when you are comfortable with that dough increase your hydration level. You can try to go to 67, 68%.

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