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What is a Neapolitan Pizza ?

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

Pizza comes in all shapes and sizes, but a true Neapolitan pizza does not!

Neapolitan pizza, or pizza Napoletana, is a type of pizza that originated originates in Naples, the capital of the Campania Region, where about 3,000 Pizzaiuoli now live and perform.

In 2017 the UNESCO inscribed the “Art of Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’” on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This is how this art is described on the UNESCO website

“The art of the Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’ is a culinary practice comprising four different phases relating to the preparation of the dough and its baking in a wood-fired oven, involving a rotatory movement by the baker. The element originates in Naples, the capital of the Campania Region, where about 3,000 Pizzaiuoli now live and perform. Pizzaiuoli are a living link for the communities concerned. There are three primary categories of bearers – the Master Pizzaiuolo, the Pizzaiuolo and the baker – as well as the families in Naples who reproduce the art in their own homes. The element fosters social gatherings and intergenerational exchange, and assumes a character of the spectacular, with the Pizzaiuolo at the centre of their ‘bottega’ sharing their art.”

There are specific rules established by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana an association established in 1984 with a mission to promote and protect in Italy and worldwide the true Neapolitan pizza.

The Ingredients

This style of pizza is prepared with simple and fresh ingredients: a basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. made with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. It must be made with either San Marzano tomatoes or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, a protected designation of origin cheese made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state and “Fior di Latte di Agerola”, a cow milk mozzarella made exclusively in the Agerola comun

The Method of Production

Neapolitan pizza dough is made from flour, water, salt, and yeast. No oil, no sugar. The flour is generally a high-protein flour, often of the Italian “OO” type flour, which is ground extra fine, giving it a unique texture and the ability to absorb more water without becoming soupy. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or another machine, and maybe no more than 3 millimeters (0.12 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) When cooked, it should be soft, elastic, tender and fragrant.

The stretching technique

The disk of dough is stretched exclusively by hand. This technique moves the air from the center outwards so that the edge stays puffier and will form the crust with the cooking.

Neapolitan pizza has a very thin crust at the base, with dough that puffs up around the sides and provides for a very airy crust. Because that crust is so light (even though quite large,) certain areas become charred very quickly, which is why it’s important not to overcook and completely burn this type of crust. But just as large as that crust is on the sides, it’s just as thin on the bottom

Neapolitan pizzas are generally pretty small (about 10 to 12 inches), making them closer to the size of a personal pizza. At The Pizza Pushers each of our dough balls os between 230-235 g making them the perfect size for one or two people. Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletanadirects that a pizza should be no thicker than 4mm at its center.

There Are Only Three Types of Neapolitan Pizzas

Pepperoni and pineapple lovers are out of luck. The association says only two kinds of pizza are authentic: which makes a Neapolitan pizza’s simplicity is legendary. Creative pizzaioli and restaurant owners take pride in different creations, but ultimately there are only 3 types of Neapolitan pizzas recognized by the Italian Ministry of Culture:

Pizza Marinara: Topped with tomato, garlic, oregano, and extra-virgin olive oil

Pizza Margherita: Topped with tomato, fresh sliced mozzarella, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil

Pizza Margherita Extra: Topped with tomato, sliced mozzarella di Bufala, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil

But despite all the rules, Making a good Neapolitan pizza is recognize more of an art than a science!

women eating Neapolitan Pizza
women eating Neapolitan Pizza

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