Author Topic: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?  (Read 4393 times)

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2013, 11:38:48 AM »
Craig, may I ask why this topic is so important to you? 

I wouldn't say it's important to me per-se. Rather, Reinhart's quote and Jeff's comment at Slice the other day were so black-and-white, I thought it was worthy of discussion because I don't see it black-and-white at all.
Pizza is not bread.


Offline scott123

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2013, 12:26:07 PM »
I wouldn't say it's important to me per-se. Rather, Reinhart's quote and Jeff's comment at Slice the other day were so black-and-white, I thought it was worthy of discussion because I don't see it black-and-white at all.

Well, you should know my feelings about Reinhart by now  ;D He's a great guy, and very knowledgeable on some matters, but Neapolitan and Reinhart are different universes. Jeff's issue (a whole wheat pie being called 'Neapolitan' by the most active pizza site on the net) is very black and white.  If you dig deep enough, there's tinges of gray in seed oil, non-Neapolitan ovens, non SM tomatoes and non 00 flour, but, not enough gray to challenge the black and whiteness of Jeff's issue, or, imo, to be of much consequence.

As a guy that overthinks EVERYTHING, Cento Italian and GM 00 inauthenticity never even crossed my mind.  Either they create the correct result, or they don't- and, so far, it's proven that they do.

Offline wheelman

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2013, 03:47:49 PM »
i think with something like neapolitan pizza, there's value in tradition.  when someone who's used to domino's asks "what's this?" and i can answer that i'm trying my level best to make a pizza just like you could get on the streets of Naples - i'm going so far as to import every single ingredient from Naples right down to the seeds to grow the basil to top this pizza.  I'm using, as close as i can get, every tool traditionally used to make such a pizza, and i'm studying at night to learn every detail of how this is traditionally done... that this adds something to the deal even if you can't taste most of it on the plate.  it also keeps me on track to try to get better knowing that i'm not on a detour that might take me further from the goal of making this pizza. 
on the other hand, if this flour would be classified by whoever does such as 00 because of the way it's milled and the wheat comes from the same place, who's to say that has anything to do with it?  i think i would be happy to use the Columbian buffala mozzarrelo if it tasted the same as my favorite calabrian version.  that flour obviously works great so i really don't think anyone should avoid using it if it presents advantages.  for retail i think the proof is in the pudding.  if it's real on the plate, you can call it neapolitan in my book. 

Offline andreguidon

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2013, 06:59:33 PM »
Wouldn't it then be hypocritical for them to apply a different standard to the flour? Either that, or I'm missing the part of the standard which identifies which specifications are starting points and which are strict.

Craig, this is from the Italian disciplinary

2.1.1 Prodotti (per dettagli si vedano le schede tecniche allegate)
Farina di grano tenero 00: Prodotto granulare ottenuto dalla macinazione e
conseguente abburattamento (raffinazione) di grano tenero, di colore bianco, esente da
puntature.E’ consentita l’aggiunta di farina di grano tenero tipo 0 (Manitoba) in
piccole percentuali (dal 5 al 20% max, in funzione delle temperature esterne) per
rinforzare la farina di grano tenero di tipo 00.
I valori ottimali per una lievitazione lunga tesa ad ottenere una pasta con buon rapporto
estensibilità/elasticità:
W: 220 - 380
P/L: 0,50 - 0,70
Assorbimento: 55 - 62
Stabilità: 4 - 12
Value index - Caduta E10: max 60
Falling: 300 - 400
Glutine secco: 9,5 - 11 g %
Proteine: 11 - 12,5 g %
Tali valori sono tipici di farine di media forza, equilibrate e con buone attitudini alla
panificazione.


As you can see a W 220 can make great 6-8 hour pizza and because of the low W it will not take high hydration around 55%, and a high W 380 will ferment very well for longer periods and also will take a higher Hydration. This is something technical not a guess or an opinion. Neapolitan pizza is part science, but also (in homage of OMID) philosophical....
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2013, 07:52:07 PM »
Andre,

Do you have any thoughts on why the AVPN disciplinary specifies 00 specifically when the TSG specification does not? I have to believe it has to do with a financial flow to them. Quite frankly, I have a very hard time assigning any credibility to the AVPN.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline andreguidon

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2013, 08:35:23 PM »
Craig,

I asked this to Gianni Improta (pizzeria Al 22) why 00 flour was the way to go, he told me (and he is 40 and 3rd generation pizzaiolo) that since he was a kid in the pizzeria he always saw 00 flour around, the mill that was most used in Naples (wen he was a Kid) was Polselli (http://www.polselli.eu/) and his father always added Farina Americana (Manitoba) to make it stronger, also said that 00 Flour was not something that was found in supermarkets, but only for professionals. Maybe modern 00 has what Neapolitan pizzaiolos always needed before Caputo or even 5Stagioni developed the right blend...
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2013, 11:42:40 PM »
I'll toss in my 2c if I may. I say yes. Here's a couple somewhat unrelated examples. Capicola for instance is briefly brined/washed in wine, salted, spiced, rubbed and hung to cure/age around 50-60 degrees for several weeks. I use my vacuum tumbler to get the cure and spices deep into the meat in a few hours, rest overnite to let the meat rest and then do a 24 hour very slow, lite smoke increasing temp in stages til meat get to 155ish and never render fat/cook the meat and it comes out nicely dried and texturally damned near as good as the real deal.
Several years ago when I was dabbling more in cracker crusts as was Peter, I made whet could be called a high hydration cracker crust with the hydration being around 55-56% as I remember. It was stretched and lightly rolled thin, docked, par-baked and topped and was one of the better cracker crusts I've made, I think Peter tried it too and liked it. Some said it was NOT a cracker crust because it was not 36% hydration and the dough before rolling should look like wet sand and bust your ass rolling it out. End result was that the pizza had a very thin, crackery crust and side by side with other lower hydration ones was very good. Point being, changing a couple things in percentages, techniques, ingredients, temps, ovens, if the end result is pretty much indistinguishable from the original, YES, you have a cloned version. My thoughts anyway, take the highway or the back roads you still can get there and sometimes the back roads are more fun and educating learning new things,

jon
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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2013, 07:06:07 PM »
Allow me to make my contribution to Craig's original discourse. This issue, of course, can be approached from different perspectives, normative, ethical, or else, each with its own persuasive force. I enjoyed the different perspectives the members have brought to this discussion so far. Let me see if I can add to them. 

§1. Art
Viewed from one perspective, art is a medium of expressing the human experiences, which are of infinite range. For instance, human desires, emotions, ambitions, and et cetera. Viewed from another perspective, art is about possibilities (derived from Latin word posse, "to be able"; hence, "capable of happening"). In this narrow sense, art, in its totality, is significative, amongst other things, of life's polarities, ironies, and paradoxes of human thoughts and actions. An ideal of artistic expression, since the time of German Romanticism which swept across Europe in 18th and 19th centuries, is to experience every side of polarities, never to become rigid or static, never to become confined, the prisoner of any one mode of thought or way of life, but always to be in pursuit of the infinite. Goethe's Faust proclaimed, "Insofar as I am static, I am enslaved." It was the Romantic yearning for every experience, for infinity, that led Faust to sell his soul to the devil.

§2. Art and Tradition
Art creates, it does not just copy. The great German Romantic composer Ludwig van Beethoven understood that to create new music, the old laws had to be broken or modified. So he did, courageously. For years, many considered his music unusual, improper, deviant, ignoble, or even morally distasteful. However, today, the maestro's music is considered one of the indispensable pillars of the classical repertoire. According to philosopher Walter Kaufmann:

"The great artist does not stick to any established code; yet his work is not lawless but has structure and form. Beethoven did not conform to the rules of Haydn or Mozart; yet his symphonies have form throughout. Their form and law Beethoven created with them [namely, the legacies of Hayden and Mozart]. To create involves going 'beyond. . .'."

Art creates; tradition preserves. The tension between art and tradition has alway been there, often giving birth to change. Both Haydn and Mozart also experienced this tension in their own times. Both had to break or modify some rules, set by their predecessors, in order to gain immortality. As another example, consider the High Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The man, who sculpted "David", respected and copied ancient Greek and Roman statues, yet he set out to better them within their own traditions. It takes venturesome and valorous individuals to challenge the standards of their time and to go beyond, what Friedrich Nietzsche called, "good and evil". The history of art is abound with paradigm-shifters such as Michelangelo, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven who changed the standards of their times.

If making Neapolitan pizza is considered an art and tradition, then one needs to somehow deal with the tension between the two.

§3. Change/Evolution
It is a given that change or flux is an all-pervading, omnipresent fact of the natural world and history of mankind. In my opinion, the history of Neapolitan pizza, as I understand it, has not been immune to the flux. As I comprehend the history of pizzas of Naples (which is reflected in my own blog), what we call "Neapolitan pizza" today—is an aftermath of a long evolutionary process. The pre-modern pizzas of Naples (i.e., prior to the advent of modernity in 1600s) have very little in common with the modern pizzas of Naples in early 1700s and onward. As discussed in my blog, each description of pizzas provided by Bartolomeo Scappi (1500s), Giambattista Basile (1600s), Vincinzo Corrado (1700s), Alexander Dumas (1800s), Francesco de Bourcard (1800s), and Raffaele Esposito (1800s) varies from one another, sometimes substantially and sometimes insubstantially. Given the past history of pizzas of Naples, there may not be any guarantee that what will be deemed as Neapolitan pizza a century from now will conform to the standards of today.

§4. The People
According to Antonio Pace, "Neapolitan pizza has no inventors, no fathers, no masters, but is the fruit of the creativity of the Neapolitan people." Yes, the people! But, “people” is a tricky concept. It definitely does not imply a single individual. It may not convey a process of establishing consensus among the people either. Perhaps, this is where a crucial role of artists becomes essential: to creatively bring to conscious awareness the spirit of a people, their aspirations, their creative potentials, their existential possibilities.

Good day!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 02:41:40 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline scott123

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2013, 02:47:58 AM »
Do you have any thoughts on why the AVPN disciplinary specifies 00 specifically when the TSG specification does not? I have to believe it has to do with a financial flow to them. Quite frankly, I have a very hard time assigning any credibility to the AVPN.

I hate the corrupt and mercenary nature of the AVPN just as much as the next guy, but it's important to bear in mind that corrupt organizations/corrupt people can still do good things. I believe that there's solid evidence that Abraham Lincoln condoned all of General Sherman's activities.  This would, by it's modern definition, qualify him as a war criminal.  But he also freed the slaves.  (Most likely) bad person, good deed. My grandfather was the archetypal corrupt union boss.  I doubt he had anyone killed, but kickbacks, bribes and coercion were his bread and butter. And yet, while in the state senate, he was instrumental in having route 80 built. I have no doubt that he got kickbacks from the contracts for rt. 80, just like AVPN most likely has their hand in the 00 cookie jar, but just because he/they were/are corrupt, doesn't mean everything they touch is garbage.  Interstate highways are responsible for a great deal of the prosperity we enjoy today.  They are the nation's arteries.  Corrupt man, good deed.  Corrupt organization, good specifications.

Craig, as far as I know, neither you nor I have been to Naples, but we know countless people that have.  Out of the countless travel reports you've read, have you ever heard of a Neapolitan pizzeria using anything but 00?  I haven't.  Have you heard of any respected domestic Neapolitan pizzerias using anything other than 00? They don't exist.

00 is far too ubiquitous to ignore.  Regardless of their motivations, AVPN was right on the money with the 00 spec. Don't throw the 00 specification baby out with the corrupted bathwater.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 03:00:44 AM by scott123 »

Offline f.montoya

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2013, 06:04:03 AM »
Question...

Is there any specific quality, flavor or feature of a finished Neapolitan pie crust that simply cannot be reproduced without a 00 four?

The answer to this, I would think, answers the main question. Even though I taste a difference now that I use Caputo, I lean toward "no 00...no problem". But I just don't have that many great flours to choose from in Japan.


Offline italdream

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2013, 01:49:33 PM »
Craig, as far as I know, neither you nor I have been to Naples, but we know countless people that have.  Out of the countless travel reports you've read, have you ever heard of a Neapolitan pizzeria using anything but 00?  I haven't.  Have you heard of any respected domestic Neapolitan pizzerias using anything other than 00? They don't exist.

Hi Scott, Craig is likely not interested in that aspect. It would probably be off topic.

I'll tell you about my "travel reports".

I have been a few times in Naples (a few times as in I lived there for the first 30 years of my earthly existence).

First, most people in Naples would not know what kind of flour pizzerias use but the vast majority of people still use exclusively 00 in their homes (there really isn't anything else readily available). With supermarket chains (such for example the French Auchan - there are a few around Naples), you can now pretty much find everything. For example, tipo 0 is at present more readily available than in the past; manitoba flours appear more and more frequently as the cited ingredient for cakes, rustici etc.

Obviously, pizzerias do not buy their supplies at supermarkets but if they were using a vastly different type of flour than most people, it would be common knowledge, which never was.

On my trips back to Naples, I often conduct informal polls asking the pizzaiolo in various place what kind of flours they are using. Never asked specifically about 00 as it never came to mind, but on my general question I almost always get the answer "Caputo", sometimes specifying rossa or blu. They are both 00 flours.

Offline italdream

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2013, 01:56:09 PM »
Is there any specific quality, flavor or feature of a finished Neapolitan pie crust that simply cannot be reproduced without a 00 four?

In my opinion there are other ingredients (mozzarella, tomatoes etc.) and factors (high temperature, type of oven, dough preparation etc.) that are vastly more important than the type of flour.

I used non 00 dough in my LBE many times and often the type of flour per se would not be THE factor, i.e. I may get a more Neapolitan looking/tasting pie as a measure of good temperature, dough etc. that by using 00 flour.

However, I think that I could recognize the 00 flour in a Neapolitan style pizza on a blind taste. It has a lightness and a "dusty" texture to it that I think I could recognize. Actually, I should probably do a blind tasting...  8)

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2013, 02:30:36 PM »
Have you heard of any respected domestic Neapolitan pizzerias using anything other than 00? They don't exist.

Scott, does Roberta's count?  They use a blend of 00 and Sir Ghalahad AP flour.  I thought their crust was one of the better NP ones that we ate at on the NY pizza tour. 

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17885.msg175867.html#msg175867

Italdream, that's pretty cool that you have lived in Naples for such a long time.  Someday I will make it there to try the pizza.  :P

If you decide to do a blind taste test, see if you can get your hands on this new GM Neapolitan flour.  You might be suprise.   I know that there were a lot of people at the Tx Summit 2 that have eaten a whole lot of pizza, both made with 00 flour and non 00 flour.  I also know that none of the participants could detect any difference between this GM NP flour and Caputo 00 flour.  It was suprising to say the least.  If there was even any hint of difference, I think someone would have said something.  We were in disbelief. 

Chau



Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2013, 02:43:19 PM »
Hi Scott, Craig is likely not interested in that aspect. It would probably be off topic.


Do you not listen at all, or should there be a smiley at the end of that quote?

As I said, I have no problem with off-topic discussion. My comment to you was that you kept addressing a very specific question with completely off topic examples.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Ronzo

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2013, 02:50:17 PM »
Anything can be defined as anything anyone wants it to be defined as.

According to 'the powers that be', though I don't think they'd be signing on board for it. Too much control... they'd make claims of "diluting purity" and all that sort of thing. Religious zealots...

Personally, as long as a pizza is delicious, I couldn't give a rat's butt what you call it.

More power to ya
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Offline italdream

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2013, 02:59:03 PM »
Have you heard of any respected domestic Neapolitan pizzerias using anything other than 00? They don't exist.

Scott, does Roberta's count?  They use a blend of 00 and Sir Ghalahad AP flour.  I thought their crust was one of the better NP ones that we ate at on the NY pizza tour. 

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17885.msg175867.html#msg175867

Italdream, that's pretty cool that you have lived in Naples for such a long time.  Someday I will make it there to try the pizza.  :P

If you decide to do a blind taste test, see if you can get your hands on this new GM Neapolitan flour.  You might be suprise.   I know that there were a lot of people at the Tx Summit 2 that have eaten a whole lot of pizza, both made with 00 flour and non 00 flour.  I also know that none of the participants could detect any difference between this GM NP flour and Caputo 00 flour.  It was suprising to say the least.  If there was even any hint of difference, I think someone would have said something.  We were in disbelief. 

Chau

Thanks Chau. Napoli is a beautiful town but it has its share of problems. Pizza is only one of the great gastronomic wonders of the city. Pastries and cakes are another thing worth investing energy (baba', migliaccio, chiacchiere, struffoli, sfogliatelle just to name a few). I think that I am going to try cooking in the BS oven two other savory dishes: gatto di patate e sartu di riso.

Anyway, I digress... I would like to try the GM Neapolitan flour. I am curious to see where I can find it in the NY area. Granted, you can find the big bag Caputo at wholesale price in NY, so it'd have to be really cheap to justify a switch. But I would be really curious to try.

Offline scott123

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2013, 04:04:40 PM »
Scott, does Roberta's count?

I wouldn't classify Roberta's as NP.  They're more in a Paulie Gee's territory.  If they branded themselves as NP, then that might be a different story.  I just checked their website, though, and I couldn't find any references to NP.

Offline Pulcinella

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2013, 06:56:27 PM »
Here's my angle. Lets not confuse "tradition" with taste or quality. For many of us europeans, America which is my new beloved home is land of inovation (which is its strength) but sometimes making changes in things already well established. America being a young nation (about 300 years of history), not always easy to completely understand meaning of tradition. (my opinion is Americans value technology and inovation over tradition.) We want make TRADITIONAL pizza napoletana but we miserably fail to understand the tradition --- ending up reinventing the wheel. Almost 99% neapolitan pizzerias in USA are examples in my opinon. They claim to offer "traditional/authentic neapolitan pizza" but what you get is scandalous corruption of the tradition/authenticity. Their prides blinds them to their ignorance. I almost fell in the same trap till a member convinced me of my ignorance. After months of pizza making i was ready to open up my TRADITIONAL NEAPOLITAN PIZZERIA I even leased leased a space, bought professional mixer and the rest. I know it would have been a prosperous pizzeria but prosperity is no synonym for "tradition". The advice that really stayed with me was that once you open up your pizzeria, the business will likely have a life of its own almost independent of your efforts. So, make sure you do everything right as much as possible from the beginning.  Still keep learning .. I have more questions than answers .. should neapolitan pizzerias use fridge or chilled box or room temp to ferment dough? should they ferment dough balls in individual containers or dough trays? should they open dough balls with neapolitan slap or on knuckles? can they use unusal cheeses? Must they use 00 flour? <<Ciro Salvo whose a AVPN instructor recently used a blend of 00 flour and WHOLE WHEAT.>> http://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/torre-annunziata-pizzeria-masse-qui-ce-ciro-salvo-che-fa-delle-pizze-favolose/47810/

What about weight of dough balls, 250, 260, 270 grams? da Michele whose pizzas I have had many times can get away with 300 grams or more (look at the size of the pizza in the picture) and not using olive oil and bufala. I will be damned by critics if I use whole wheat, dough ball of 300 grams or more and seed oil. Where do you draw the line? Somebody told me this is not like rules of jungle, Ciro is Ciro and da Michele is da Michele, you are none. They have earned the right, what have you done to earn the same?
 
I thank Craig and other members for keeping this discussion alive. By the way, any one knows the history of 00 type flour? Did Antonio Testa, Domenico Testa and Raffaele Esposito use 00 flour <<with proper W and falling number>> when they made neapolitan pizzas for the royalty of Naples? Did they have the technlology to produce 00 flours in those days? If not, when did it start?

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2013, 09:29:30 AM »
Here's my angle. Lets not confuse "tradition" with taste or quality. For many of us europeans, America which is my new beloved home is land of inovation (which is its strength) but sometimes making changes in things already well established. America being a young nation (about 300 years of history), not always easy to completely understand meaning of tradition. (my opinion is Americans value technology and inovation over tradition.) We want make TRADITIONAL pizza napoletana but we miserably fail to understand the tradition --- ending up reinventing the wheel. Almost 99% neapolitan pizzerias in USA are examples in my opinon. They claim to offer "traditional/authentic neapolitan pizza" but what you get is scandalous corruption of the tradition/authenticity. Their prides blinds them to their ignorance. I almost fell in the same trap till a member convinced me of my ignorance. After months of pizza making i was ready to open up my TRADITIONAL NEAPOLITAN PIZZERIA I even leased leased a space, bought professional mixer and the rest. I know it would have been a prosperous pizzeria but prosperity is no synonym for "tradition". The advice that really stayed with me was that once you open up your pizzeria, the business will likely have a life of its own almost independent of your efforts. So, make sure you do everything right as much as possible from the beginning.  Still keep learning .. I have more questions than answers .. should neapolitan pizzerias use fridge or chilled box or room temp to ferment dough? should they ferment dough balls in individual containers or dough trays? should they open dough balls with neapolitan slap or on knuckles? can they use unusal cheeses? Must they use 00 flour? <<Ciro Salvo whose a AVPN instructor recently used a blend of 00 flour and WHOLE WHEAT.>> http://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/torre-annunziata-pizzeria-masse-qui-ce-ciro-salvo-che-fa-delle-pizze-favolose/47810/

What about weight of dough balls, 250, 260, 270 grams? da Michele whose pizzas I have had many times can get away with 300 grams or more (look at the size of the pizza in the picture) and not using olive oil and bufala. I will be damned by critics if I use whole wheat, dough ball of 300 grams or more and seed oil. Where do you draw the line? Somebody told me this is not like rules of jungle, Ciro is Ciro and da Michele is da Michele, you are none. They have earned the right, what have you done to earn the same?
 
I thank Craig and other members for keeping this discussion alive. By the way, any one knows the history of 00 type flour? Did Antonio Testa, Domenico Testa and Raffaele Esposito use 00 flour <<with proper W and falling number>> when they made neapolitan pizzas for the royalty of Naples? Did they have the technlology to produce 00 flours in those days? If not, when did it start?


Dear Pulcinella, you made some critical points in your post. Mark Twain once said, "Get your facts first, and then you can distort [or modify] them as much as you please." Mozart first had to learn the rules of Baroque and Rococo compositions before being able to break or modify them for the sake of engendering his Classical compositions. In turn, Beethoven had to first master the preceding rules of Classical compositions before evolving them into his Romantic compositions.

In the same vein, if I were to establish my own Neapolitan pizzeria and uphold the tradition that has made it a possibility, first it is imperative for me to understand the tradition (which is an oral tradition for the most part, hence, not readily accessible and understandable) as a fundamental frame of reference that provides a mode of commitment, and, more specifically, as a system of thought, behavior, and rituals shared by a group of people to whom it is entrusted. Next, I would take a considerable amount of time to put to practice the system of thought, behavior, and rituals in making Neapolitan pizzas—the way Neapolitans do—until I have a relative mastery over them. So, I would have to forgo using non-"00" flour, dough fermentation in a refrigerator or chilled box, and the rest of the items you enumerated above. A tradition falls apart when there is no commitment to it and its prescribed norms. And, I am not saying that one should mimic all the norms like a parrot who utters words without understanding their meanings. In my estimation, there are sound reasons underlying the norms.

Once I have mastery over the tradition, which takes years, then I can commence to become creative about it. Ciro Salvo and Da Michele do what they do because they have already gone on a long journey which you and I have just begun. The journey is an odyssey, and every odyssey has an inbuilt sense of return to a distant past. To move forward, we must look back. Good day!

Omid
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline italdream

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Re: Can a pizza be Neapolitan without "00" Flour?
« Reply #59 on: July 26, 2013, 01:08:18 PM »
Pizza, I enjoy very much reading your posts... They show passion, deep knowledge and respect for the tradition.
This is matter for a different thread, but I am curious to learn your take about certain things surrounding the tradition of Neapolitan pizza.
I am talking about certain philosophical, environmental and cultural aspects that have not much to do with the pizza itself but with the experience surrounding the same.

Napoli is for the most part of a poor city with a rich past. The masses eat pizza and pizza is a poor's lunch, yet enjoyed by people of different socio-economic background. When I was a college student, I would take a lunch break, go to Mezzocannone or Forcella with a few friends and a few thousand liras in my pocket (less than $5) and get an incredibly satisfying pizza experience, loud, old place, little service, a coke or a beer to go with it. The pizza was big, never precut, the place loud, the ambience colorful, and the lunch CHEAP. These surrounding factors were, IMHO, as much part of the experience as the pizza itself.

You know that the place was in business to make money, but never felt that it was about money. It was about feeding people with something simple, enjoyable and enormously creative at the same time, catering to the students, as well as to the professors, to the blue collar as well as to the local bank employee. And doing it the same way, it had been done for generations…

I struggle constantly to get full enjoyment of Neapolitan pizza in New York (or anywhere else in the United States), no matter how much the pizzerias try to make me like it. There is something missing, almost philosophical in nature. Perhaps it is a form of commercialization that I find almost vulgar.

Any time I step into (almost) any Neapolitan pizzerias in New York, there is something that screams at me about money and business first. The precut slices and the overprices pies (of course I understand that rent and everything is very expensive in New York); perhaps, the "franchisization" of the experience. Michele, Di Matteo, Trianon, did not open a franchise for years.

There is something about some places that feels plasticky, almost artificial, in a way that you do not find in other successful establishments. And I understand that for the most part, these pizzeria are owned by Neapolitans.

You can Frenchify many Italian restaurants, make them nice and sparkly, and still get a great food experience. But can you do the same with Neapolitan pizza, without losing the essence of its experience, the philosophy behind it?


 

pizzapan