Quite often, the debate between bread and pizza ("pizza is not bread", or vice versa) has to do with the extent of gluten development. On one side is the notion that a dough should be developed (usually through intensive mixing) to full gluten development (this is a commercial bread maker approach); on the other side is the notion that the dough should be slightly underkneaded and let biochemical gluten development do the heavy lifting (this is the Lehmann approach). However, in Marco's case, when he said "pizza is not bread", I believe that it was in the context of using a starter for a Neopolitan dough, and where the distinction between bread and pizza is based on the amount of starter used. The first time that Marco discussed this subject was in his third post after joining this forum in February, 2005, at Reply 10 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,861.msg8679/topicseen.html#msg8679
. The pertinent portion of that post (which is actually a good post to read for other reasons) is the following:Having clarified the above, I can now tell you that the main difference in Naples between Pizza dough and Bread dough made both with CRISCETO (WILD YEAST STARTER) is in the amount of CRISCITO used.
In the pizza dough it has to be minimum, in percentage that vary from 1 to 5% of the water's weight, and it is only needed as fermenting agent, assuring a slow and appropriate fermentation.
Marco subsequently elaborated on the "pizza is not bread" theme at Reply 10 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3153.msg26814/topicseen.html#msg26814
. What I believe that Marco was getting at in that post is that when one uses a natural leaven ("Crescito") above 5% of the formula water, you are in preferment territory and the attributes attendant a preferment, such as increased acid production, a more pronounced crust flavor, and strengthening of the dough, come into play, taking the dough away from the pizza realm to the bread realm.
Never a shrinking violet, Marco on at least one occasion railed against the pizzas that Anthony Mangieri made, proclaiming Anthony's pizzas not to be authentic Neapolitan pizzas and based on bread versus pizza principles.
With respect to the epiphany that Matt had in terms of the degree of rising of the dough, I had the same epiphany but, in my case, it was a bit over six years ago. At that time, the forum was in its early stages (with around 500 members) and there were very few members experimenting with using natural leavening systems for pizza dough along the lines that Marco discussed and there was a lot of fumbling around in the dark as we were trying to learn (although Bill/SFNM was in the forefront of using the Caputo flour and, I believe, natural leavening). I believe my first attempt at a naturally leavened dough according to Marco's instructions was in Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,986.msg9012.html#msg9012
. In that post, I mentioned that the dough hardly rose at all. I thought that perhaps it was a weak starter that I was using but I had recalled that Marco said not to expect much rise in the dough, as one might experience, for example, with other leavening systems. My next experiment along the same lines was described at Reply 23 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,986.msg9075.html#msg9075
. In that post, I again commented on the lack of rise in the dough. In retrospect, maybe there was some rise but not enough to be perceptible visually. Eventually, other members joined the fray and started producing stellar Neapolitan style, naturally-leavened pizzas and, as they say, the rest is history. One of those members was Peter Taylor, who went on to develop the Raquel dough and, eventually, to start his own restaurant where he uses a naturally leavened dough.
My last experiments with a Marco style dough in the abovereferenced thread were described starting with Reply 94 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,986.msg25807.html#msg25807
. I often get requests from members via PM for a dough formulation and instructions for making a Neapolitan-style pizza in a standard, unmodified home oven, and I refer them to Reply 94 for that purpose.