"The best pizza ever"? For real?
Well, one consistent thing about pizza is the subjectivity of it all. To me, this is the best pizza ever.
Pizza is a fascinating topic from a science standpoint, but it's also
delicious. And I've been making pizza for some years, trying to
perfect the recipe (if there is such a thing). Along the way, I
decided to write a book detailing the more technical aspects of what
makes a good pizza. And so, I wrote the Kindle e-book:
The Science of Bread and Pizza: From Biochemistry to Baking
Delicious Homemade Pizza
(Photo notes: Minolta X700 / 50mm f/1.7 / Fuji Superia)
The primary critique I'd make on my own book is that I didn't have a
photo of Neapolitan leopard-spotting. Instead I used the photo
above. Nothing wrong with it, except that what you're seeing here
is not considered "leopard spotting" by Neapolitan
I never said it was full-fledged leopard-spotting, actually; just the very beginnings.
was something I think could have been clarified a bit. It's not
that these spots would develop into big
coal-black leopard spots if only the oven were hotter. It's that
this crust has started to have some of the chemical and biochemical
changes that ultimately produce that kind of spotting. I know
this, because longer fermentations produce more leopard-spot-like
Therein, we have an important scientific point, and a controversy.
The Neapolitan pizza makers define leopard spotting, roughly, as "what
happens to a real Neapolitan crust". There is
small-diameter charring on a raised surface. (From what
I've seen, Neapolitan charring is not always that small in diameter.)
What interests me is the particular reasons for it.
Leopard spotting is not a one-zero, binary type of occurrence.
People on forums have shown photos with the distinctive raised
charring, and a Neapolitan guy-- I mean a Neapolitan pizza maker, not
an expatriate of Naples-- would say "That's not leopard spotting".
Well, it was, but it wasn't a Neapolitan pizza with the particular type of spotting he was looking for.
|Pizza, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the best things on
With this in mind, I wanted to write the "only pizza book I'd ever
It still is.
anyway, to critique my own book, I'd probably never have mentioned the
leopard spotting at all. Neapolitan pizza makers get extremely
passionate about their distinctive "brand". They are quick to
keep anything not-Neapolitan from getting classified as such.
Given that so many good things have gotten diluted over the years, can
you blame them?
However, I believe the conventional definition of "leopard spotting"
vs. "uneven browning" is incorrect: too binary, too
qualitative. I'd bet there are some important
commonalities, by which one of them can grade into the other. But
we'd need some pretty sophisticated lab tests, done with some high-tech
equipment. And one or two studies probably wouldn't solve it.
I actually have plenty of thoughts on why leopard spotting happens, but
it's highly technical. My book goes into quite a bit of detail on
this, which brings us to...
My book delves into technical detail to a point that might bore some
readers. Past a certain point, you can't popularize science
without it not being science anymore.
I actually toned it down, because the original version was even more technical.
There are some other considerations, too; the digitizing of
information and photography has altered the economic landscape in some very real, serious ways. That's a whole
'nother subject I won't get into in this article.
Therefore, The Science of Bread and Pizza
is currently not available, unless I hear enough clamor from readers of
this site. I'm planning to release the book in printed
format one day, but it's going to have to be a long-term project.
Here's my advice to home pizza makers. Make the pizza that you like.
Realize that some people get very passionate about their particular
"brand" or type of pizza, and that's okay. Pizza attracts a diverse
crowd, and there's a lot of opinion in there.
In the near-term, you might find some pizza-related articles appearing
on this website. They might not get into the technical aspects as
heavily, but there will probably be some useful product reviews and
tips on making a better pizza.
As always, thanks for visiting this website!
P.S. Chemical leaveners, really? Yep. Try it
sometime. When I make a baking-powder pizza-- distinct from
a yeast-leavened one-- it lasts about two minutes, because everyone
eats it up.
More Pizza Articles:
Review - Emile Henry Baking Stone
One of the Best Pizza-Making Tools Ever.
o.t o .1 2 0 s t u d i o.. c o m
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