that is a very interesting video , i do not speak the language looks like they wrap old dough up and let it sit, cut away the dry and use it to leaven the fresh dough? the sample pies look weak. can anyone help with the method?
Dear Thezaman, I wished I could conclusively answer your question. But allow me to tell you that each region, or often vicinities within the regions, of Italy have their own distinctive culinary traditions. Unlike the United States, which is for the most part culturally homogeneous, various regions in Italy have their own peculiar customs and traditions that are often unbeknownst to one another. In fact, as an extreme example, some Neapolitans may not primarily identify themselves as Italians, meaning that to them being "Neapolitan" is of higher priority than being "Italian". They even have their own specific dialect that non-Neapolitans elsewhere in Italy do not understand. As such, the dough wrapped in the cloth in the video seems to be a Northern method of dough production, which I also had seen carried out in Germany as some kind of fermentation starter used, in an indirect method, in making dough for producing bread, not pizza. Molino Quaglia itself is a flour company from Northern Italy, i.e., Padua, close to Venice.
Not withstanding, perhaps it would not be unfair to posit that Neapolitan pizza was not born in a vacuum
, that it is an aftermath of a tediously long and complex historical process, which spans over a period of 2700 years. I think it would be beneficial to have a very, very brief historical perspective on the issue. In short, history of Naples is a melting pot of so many different civilizations (Greeks, Romans, Germanics, Byzantines, Normans, Spaniards, French, Jews, Arabs, and etc.) who have left their influences on the city that once upon a time was considered a jewel of Europe.
According to historical records, Naples was probably founded by the Greeks of pre-antiquity (known as "Cumaeans") who began to colonize the area about six or seven centuries before Christ. The ancient Greek became established as the language of the region, which posteriorly brought with it the virtues of the Hellenistic culture that began with Alexander the Great as a synthesis of the Greek and Persian cultures. The colonists called the city "Parthenope" and later came to be known as "Nea-polis", meaning "New City". Later, the city was incorporated in the Roman Republic until the Germanics, i.e., the Kingdom of Ostrogoths, took over the city after the decline of the Roman Empire. Thereafter, the Byzantine Empire took over until the ducal period (the succession of dukes) commenced, whereby Naples gained its short-lived independence by about 840 A.D. Later, Naples became a kingdom as opposed to dukedom, ruled by various Neapolitan, French, and Spanish kings. For a long time (1503−1714 A.D.), Naples was a part of the Spanish Empire, whereby it became a center of arts, math, sciences, and philosophy. Throughout the period, there were intermittent attempts to emancipate Naples from the Empire and make it independent again. By 1861, Naples joined the Kingdom of Italy as part of the "Italian Unification" in order to put an end to the foreign domination. And, later on, as the story has it, the Queen of Italy—Margherita Maria Teresa Giovanna—went down to Naples to have some pizza
as a gesture of solidarity with the Neapolitans!
It is notable that during the 10th century A.D., after the conquest of Malta and Sicily (which became the Emirate of Sicily) by the Moslem Arabs, many Islamic influences poured into Naples, which had made alliances with the Arabs in order to ward off the hostilities from the North. (The first Islamic attack on Sicily occurred in 652 A.D., and they were intermittently repeated until the eventual conquest which led to a long period of occupation by the Arabs (roughly 827-1091 A.D.). At last, Sephardic Jews have been in Naples (taken there by the Romans) since the 1st Century A.D. until present.
Verily, Naples has a very rich history, not divorced from its culinary tradition. Perchance, it would be audacious not to take the historical process into account in understanding the origins and evolution of the beloved pizza of Naples.