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Pizza, as you know, is an all-Italian pride. It is one of the foods that, together with pasta, has made us famous abroad and that has brought Italian cuisine to every corner of the world. But how many Italians really know how to get a top quality pizza? The answer lies in the choice of ingredients and in this article we will reveal some tips on how to prepare it in the best way.
The simplicity of a good pizza
Every time you eat a pizza, remember that behind this dish there is a very long history that has its roots in a past made up of homemade and, above all, local foods. It was cooked with what was there and, in fact, the ingredients of this ancient recipe are very simple: pizza is a dough made of flour, water and yeast, with the addition of a pinch of salt and oil, flattened and seasoned with tomato, mozzarella and other ingredients according to taste. Therefore, these are very common ingredients and for this reason pizza is always good, because it is a simple recipe, which everyone likes. To put it this way, making pizza would really seem like child's play. In fact, becoming a good pizza chef is not something that can be improvised and the secret of a good pizza lies, in addition to its preparation, in the quality of these ingredients.
The quality of products yesterday and today
Nowadays on the market stalls we find a myriad of products of all types and brands: lots of flours, infinite types of sauces and tomato purees, not to mention cheeses. This was certainly not the case once. All the ingredients were local and came from non-industrial, but homemade production processes. The cheeses were typical of the place and were bought from those who knew how to make them, the passata was homemade at the end of the summer and the flavor contained the genuineness of untreated and sun-grown tomatoes. Things have changed and today we have gained on the one hand the convenience of having a vast choice at hand in every season; while on the other hand the general quality of the products has dropped. All this to say that to make a traditional pizza it is necessary to go and look for first choice ingredients. Don't be discouraged: even today it is still possible to find the ancient flavors! Prefer flours that come from a local and eco-sustainable supply chain, ask your grandmother to teach you how to make a genuine tomato puree, buy the cheeses made in the malghe with the milk of the mountain cows and the same goes for the additional ingredients.
Which flours to choose?
There are many types of flours, you already know, which are distinguished by the fineness of their grinding: double zero, zero, one, two and wholemeal. The most used in leavened products is the double zero for its lightness and ease of handling. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you start with this one, but it does not detract from the fact that a quality pizza can be made with other, more rustic degrees of grinding. Rather! Once these were the most used flours and today they can give a pizza a more authentic flavor, as well as keeping intact some nutritional properties of the grain that are inevitably lost in the double zero processing. Also remember that stone-ground flour retains its organoleptic characteristics more than modern industrial processes.
And what about yeast?
There is no doubt about yeast: mother yeast. It is an ingredient that is always fresh and alive, which is why it must be fed every day. It may seem like a chore, but the flavor and digestibility of the pizza will certainly gain. Therefore, dehydrated or dried products should be avoided and must be reactivated when they are used. Tip: prepare the pizza dough with sourdough the day before, in this way you will get a naturally leavened base, according to its own times, without haste. Only in this way will you be sure to have a highly digestible and non-chewy dough. Another trick: add salt to the dough the next day, because salt is a natural enemy of yeast.
Genuine and first choice tomatoes and mozzarella
Here, too, the speech is almost obvious: take local tomatoes. If you have a vegetable garden, you can take pride in a self-produced ingredient; otherwise opt for the 0 km market. Starting from an ingredient of this type you can produce a truly genuine tomato puree. Ask the grandmother, the grandmother of a friend, in short, get advice from those who know it. Otherwise, if you don't want to prepare the puree yourself, make sure you have a product made with love, not the discounted one taken at the supermarket counter. Obviously, the same goes for mozzarella. Whether it is buffalo or fiordilatte it does not matter, the important thing is that it comes from work done as it once was. Beware of too fresh buffalo: it contains a lot of milk, which could result in an excessively wet pizza.
To finish, a round of oil (extra virgin!)
Adding raw oil to a freshly baked pizza always has its why. I'm talking about extra virgin olive oil, the Italian one, not the discounted blends of oils at the supermarket. Those are great for cooking in a pan, but not for garnishing a pizza. Look around, you will discover that even in your territory there is a local oil, made with local olives, cold pressed. Because it's the details that make the difference.