Integrative Assignment #1
Basic Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe- Flour
1 &2. Assumption & Dish
Before I started my journey into this cluster class I thought of pizza in an American way and did not know what the authentic types of pizza were. I did not realize that there was no pepperoni on the pizzas in Italy. The funny thing is is that when I was in Italy I had pepperoni pizza which I came to learn was from a tourist location and therefore catered to people like myself who did not know what true pizza entailed. I also did not realize how specific a real authentic pizza must be, I thought it was a simple dish that really did not involve such specificity. I was just taken aback a little when I realized how much America had changed pizza and therefore my view on how I thought it was in Italy.
Authentic Neapolitan pizza in Italy according to the VPN include “the margherita (tomato, olive oil, basil, and mozzarella), the marinara (tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic) and the margherita extra ( tomato, fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, oil, and basil)” (Helstosky p. 38).
Authentic margherita pizza made with tomato, olive oil, mozzarella cheese and basil. As you can see from the crust the dough has a lot of bubbles and that is in part because of the flour used and its protein content.
3. Chemical analysis
In this specific recipe of Neapolitan pizza dough recipe bread flour type 00 is used. To make the dough for pizza yeast, water and salt are the ingredients that are needed. Also in order for the dough to rise letting the dough sit for a decently long amount of time is required. The flour that is used is also very important in this process. The type 00 flour that is used is the finest grade of flour and usually has a higher protein content and lower water absorption rate. In pizza you want to have a lot of bubbles and in order to have this the type of flour you use and the flour protein content is crucial.
Bread flour which can come in white and whole wheat options has a higher protein level than normal all purpose flour. Because of this “bread flour is able to absorb more liquid, allowing it to hold its shape and rise upwards instead of outwards. All of these elements create an incredibly sturdy flour that works wonders when used to bake a variety of different kinds of bread. The high amount of gluten in bread flour also creates a more elastic dough, which produces a lighter and chewier bread”(Bobsredmill.com). Kneading the dough allows for the gluten matrix to form and during this formation air is trapped making the bubbles you see in pizza crusts. When more gluten is made more bubbles form and also when there is more protein in the dough more of these bubble are created.
4. Cultural analysis
Pizza started off in Italy as being a food for the poor and it really was not popular. It was cheap and was originally made with garlic, lard, asly or basil, tiny fish, and cheese. This poverty stereotyped food soon grew to be a classic favorite when Queen Margherita of Italy came to Naples and tried pizza; soon after the Margherita pizza was born. This simple dish of pizza represents the population of Italy when it first started being made and represented the culture at the time, it was considered street food for the urban poor of Naples. Eventually pizza became a symbol of the revolutionary change that occured in Italy and its society. Pizza is now one of the most popular foods ever.
Pizza’s popularity spread from Naples due to migration within Italy and also because of WWII and British and American soldiers stationed in Italy. In today’s society pizza in Italy is a national treasure as authentic neapolitan pizza must fall under the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana and there are many requirements. Italians try to stick to what is authentic and what has a rich historical and cultural significance; pizza is one of those things.
When I look at the cultural analysis and the chemical analysis of neapolitan pizza the one connection I made was how pizza itself rose from being a food for the poor to one of the most popular foods in the world and how the flour in the dough of pizza rises. Pizza was a food sold on the streets and was looked down upon but once Queen Margherita came to Naples the food blossomed and became a national treasure earning VPN status. The dough for pizza rises and allows for the bread to have its unique flavor and texture and part of this comes from the type of flour that is used as well. I think this symbolic connection between the rise of pizza during the actual baking process and the rise of pizza to its cultural status now is quite interesting. Pizza did not have the best start just like dough doesn’t sometimes, but it has grown into this world phenomenon that is quite amazing just like pizza once it comes out of the oven perfectly risen.
- Helstosky, Carol. Pizza: a Global History. Reaktion Books, 2008.
- Bobsredmill.com, www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/breaking-difference-bread-flour-vs-purpose-flour/.