History of Neapolitan Pizza

Long time ago dough with lard was baked and sold in storefronts. The dough which is flatten out and baked is called “Focaccia”. It is believed that “Focaccia” is an ancestor of Pizza.

What appears to be pizza was born in Naples around 1660. The original “Pizza” was made with lard, basil, and Pecorino cheese, and it had been called by the name of “Mastunicola” which means basil.

Around 1750 pizza which is called “Marinara” and popular all around the world nowadays came up. This was dough simply spread with tomato source and sprinkled with oil. And fishermen stopped by bakeries and let them to cook it. This is the beginning of “Marinara”. This is the first of Pizza with tomatoes, which is an essential to today’s pizza.

In addition, the birth of the “Margherita” which is synonymous with the presence of today’s pizza in Italy is in 1889. It is said that to welcome a visit to Naples for Queen Margherita, who completed the unification of Italy, Pizza chef Esposito created the “Pizza Margheritta” for her. “Pizza Margheritta” is a pizza simply garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, oil and basil and baked. By chance, it gives us an idea of that red tomatoes, green basil, and white cheese represent the Italian flag.

The pizza had been blended into life of people in Naples, and popular but not unique food for the common people.
It is simple, delicious, inexpensive, can be eaten standing up, easy to digest, plenty of volume, and a lot of nutritional value so on. Because it has various charm, it likely has been familiar in not only Naples but also throughout Italy and all around the world. However, it is relatively recent that pizza was established a reputation such as today’s pizza in Italy except Naples. This is after pizza moved into the limelight with the pizza boom in 1960s.

Let’s introduce the minimum requirement of pizza for “True Neapolitan pizza”.

Material used in the dough is only four flour, water, yeast, and salt

Material used in the dough is mainly four flour, and water, yeast, and salt. The oil is allowed to be “sprinkled on top” in order to have a good condition of baking. But it is strictly prohibited to mix it into pizza. When the oil is mixed into pizza, it is not called Neapolitan pizza. The dough is allowed to be mixed up with hands or a blender.

Roll out the dough using only hands

You may place the risen dough on the marble worktops, and roll out the dough by “hands” sprinkling flour on it not to stick the dough. When you bake the dough, the outer periphery should be banked and like the frame (cornicione). This frame plays the role of the stopper, and prevents the filling from flowing out.

Bake directly at the floor of the kiln

The internal temperature of the kiln is more than 500 degrees Celsius. By burning a few hours before baking, you can keep the temperature required to cook. Skilled crafts men put a pizza on the best position of 400 – 450 degrees in the kiln with Pala, which is long shank tool for moving a pizza. It takes one minute to bake pizza. Baking pizza in short time makes the pizza not-powdered, with crispy surface and soft inside.

The finish is soft and has “frame”

Swelling periphery and “Good Face” is also Neapolitan pizza’s feature. If “Frame” mentioned above, called “Cornicione”, is uneven and has browned in places, it looks delicious indeed. It is also important that pizza has good flavor like freshly baked bread. The middle of it should be soft. People often eats Neapolitan pizza standing up. That is the reason because Neapolitan pizza must be easily fold or four-fold.

Be particular about the material placed on the pizza

■ Oil: Sprinkling the oil on top of the various material placed at the center of the dough. For cooking it is important to choose the oil that is stable at high temperatures and not easy to be oxidized. Olive oil is the most appropriate, specially extra virgin olive oil.

■ Tomatoes: Use canned tomatoes that is easy to adjust moisture compared to raw tomatoes. This is the way of Naples. The tomatoes must be “San Marzano”.

■ Cheese: Type of cheese to be used for pizza must be mozzarella. In addition, Parmigiano, Grana Padano and sprinkling with powdered Pecorino is also allowed.

■ Basil: The terms of the association says “It is suggested to put the leaves of basil on all pizza”. Basil is allowed to be used regardless of the type of pizza. Basil is herb that has been a favorite in Naples.