Recipe of the Neapolitan pizza
The pizza dough formula is the same as for bread so you can use the dough already prepared by the bakers. To get a really good pizza, however, it is advisable to prepare it at home using those precautions that lead to the best results, since it is the dough that is the most delicate operation, the one that determines the success of the pizza.
It is not easy to recognize the quality of a flour. In any case, the flour made up of strong grains adheres better to the hands and glides better. Making a mixture with water and ironing it shows precise indications on its toughness, elasticity and expansion. When the flour is obtained from the grinding of the wheat, it is not yet ready, that is, ripe, for the use that must be made of it. The ripening time is in fact from one to three weeks depending on the time of year.
Leavening, already discovered in the state of natural fermentation by the Egyptians, became an artificial process when, in the seventeenth century, the composition of the yeast was found and the action of microorganisms, called saccharomycetes, which reproduce naturally if we add warm water was identified (20 -25 °C) and flour to the previously worked dough. Yeast is also obtained industrially, as brewer's yeast, in small loaves, obtaining it from the fermentation of beer wort (fresh brewer's yeast).
For an optimal mixture, moderately hard water with a "ph" of around 5-6 should be used. Too alkaline water affects rising times which become slower. Furthermore, alkalinity negatively affects the formation of gluten. Too soft water requires an addition of salt. Chlorinated water disfavors the flavor of the dough, but favors a reduction in the fermentation time and improves the quality of the dough.
Tomato is essential for the very existence of Neapolitan pizza which, we must not forget, was born with the advent of this in Europe. The tomatoes most frequently used in the preparation of traditional Neapolitan pizza are undoubtedly those of San Marzano, but other types of tomatoes can also be used, such as the "fiaschetto" or the round tomato. To better enjoy the aroma and flavor, in Naples it is customary to use the cherry tomatoes that are picked as soon as they are unripe together with the twigs and then left to ripen hanging from a beam.
The richest in fats and proteins is buffalo mozzarella, one of the basic ingredients of true classic pizza. It represented the novelty to prepare that royal pizza which took the name of pizza Margherita. Today both buffalo mozzarella and the equally delicious fiordilatte are used indifferently. The term mozzarella derives from the verb to cut and literally indicates the operation of choking with the hands a piece of the stringy mass of the dough when it is still boiling and immersed in huge tubs. It is said that the lactation of buffaloes undergoes an influence, which changes their flavor, according to the phases of the moon.
Along with the other ingredients, a sprinkling of Parmesan is a must on the real Neapolitan pizza.
It is one of the essential ingredients for the preparation of pizza. It is necessary to choose it of excellent quality, that is cold pressed and extra virgin olive oil.
It is a precious fragrant herb that comes from the Far East and marries wonderfully with the tomato to which it gives a particular aroma. Basil is defined "herb of the kings" (this is in fact the meaning of the original Greek term), and its use is essential for the preparation of the real Neapolitan pizza.
We can calculate that to obtain six medium-sized pizzas it takes about 800 gr. of flour and 40 gr. of yeast. Once the quantity of flour has been established, linked to the number of pizzas to be made, it is kneaded with a certain amount of yeast, dissolved in warm water in winter and at room temperature in summer.
To save time, it is now possible to buy a particular quality of brewer's yeast that mixes directly with the flour and water without being previously dissolved.
This operation involves two stages. During the first phase, only a small part of the flour to be used is used, which is mixed with the yeast dissolved in water.
In this way we get a ball of dough that we put to rest. When the initial volume of the dough has doubled, the leavening phase can be said to be over. This first phase can be shortened by putting the dough in a warm place. During the second phase we put the remaining flour on the pastry board, arranging it in a cone shape with, in the center, the well leavened flour loaf.
We begin to work the mixture all together until you obtain a smooth, soft and elastic dough.
We divide the mass thus prepared into six loaves.
We then crush the loaves until we obtain thinner discs in the center and with the edges a little raised. These must be beaten carefully so as to let out the gaseous excess produced by the leavening, which could damage the pizzas during cooking.
On the discs of dough thus obtained, pour the other ingredients previously prepared. In the case of the Margherita pizza, the first ingredient with which we will season the dough will be the tomato.
We add the other ingredients, starting with the mozzarella cut into thin strips.
We then bake the pizzas in the oven at maximum temperature. The cooking time in the home oven is obviously higher than that required in a wood oven. In Neapolitan wood-fired pizzerias, lava lapilli are often used to reach maximum temperatures.
Beer: the choice of beverages is also linked to the different consumer categories. Unmissable the combination of pizza and beer spread all over the world, probably due to the fact that beer has a low alcohol content.
The wine: wine in moderate doses is the drink that best promotes digestion, especially if it is a genuine and unadulterated product. Among the undiscovered treasures of the south there are certainly the wines that first accompanied the pizza in its centuries-old history.
Soft drinks: the very young, who seem to have lost the taste and consumption of wine, prefer to accompany pizza or beer or the ubiquitous Coca-Cola, which also goes perfectly with this fragrant dish. It can also be combined with orange juice, fruit juices, or other recently invented soft drinks.