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Pizza Glossary
Pizza Making Terms & Definitions



00 FLOUR: In Italy, flour is classified either as 1, 0, or 00, and refers to how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed. 00 flour is the most highly refined and is talcum-powder soft. Italian 00 flour is made from Italian grains and/or blends of Italian and imported grains (including Manitoba flour from Canada) to achieve a range of protein of about 10–12.5%. Common brands of 00 flour available at the retail level in the U.S. include Caputo, Bel Aria and Delverde. The Vermont-based King Arthur Flour Company produces a "clone" of the 00 flour (called Italian-Style flour) with a protein level of 8.5% which is quite a bit lower than the imported Italian 00 flours, therefore it is not an authentic 00 flour and will have different behavioral characteristics.

6 IN 1 TOMATOES: A brand of canned tomatoes produced by Escalon Premier Brands located in the rural community of Escalon in the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley. Escalon tomatoes are always vine-ripened to a vibrant red, picked and packed within hours of harvest. Citric acid (a sour tasting preservative) is never added to any Escalon branded product. As a result, the final products are bright in color, and true to the sweet taste of fresh tomatoes. Spooned directly from the can then lightly seasoned, these tomatoes are the secret to making a genuine Chicago-style deep dish pizza. See also ESCALON PREMIER BRANDS.


ABSORPTION: A measurement established by flour producers to describe the capacity of a flour to absorb water and achieve a desired dough consistency. The value is expressed in terms of percent of water absorbed by a flour sample during the measurement test. The measurement is a laboratory measurement and, hence, is not identical to the hydration ratio actually achieved in field applications, although it is usually quite close.

ACTIVE DRY YEAST (ADY): A dried form of yeast that, before combining with other dough ingredients, is activated by re-hydration, or "proofing," in warm water (or other liquid) at around 105–115F Some brands of active dry yeast can also be combined with a portion of the flour and other dry ingredients, in which case the temperature of the liquid used (usually water) can be as high as 120–130F Advantages of active dry yeast include convenience of use and long storage life, especially when sealed and frozen in an airtight container.


ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: Flour with a protein level of 10-12%. Ideal for general baking purposes. Higher protein flours make firmer, stronger doughs while lower protein flours produce softer, weaker doughs. Cake flour is typically 7-9% protein; pastry, or cookie, ≈9-10%; all-purpose, 10-12%; bread, 12.5-13.5%; clear and high-gluten, 14-15%; and gluten "flour" (actually refined gluten), 45%.

ALPHA-AMYLASE: The alpha-amylase enzyme develops when grain sprouts. It has a direct impact on bread quality and adversely affects the malting process. As little as 5% sprouted grain, mixed with 95% good grain, can render the entire mixture unacceptable. A certain amount of alpha-amylase is necessary for proper baking to occur. The alpha-amylase breaks down starches to provide sugars to help fuel the fermentation process. The amount of enzyme present can have a direct bearing upon the quality of bread produced. When the alpha-amylase activity is right, a high volume bread with firm and soft texture is achieved. If the activity is too high, a sticky bread crumb and low volume may result. If the activity is too low, a dry bread crumb with large holes may result. Measured using the "falling number" method. See also FALLING NUMBER.

AP: An abbreviation for all-purpose flour.

ASCORBIC ACID: An organic acid more commonly known as Vitamin C and commonly used as an additive for flour and also for instant dry yeast (IDY), and sometimes with active dry yeast (ADY). When added to flour, it acts as an oxidizing agent (by virtue of acting with atmospheric oxygen), which makes it easier to form the gluten network (by preventing the gluten bonds from breaking down) during kneading of the dough. When used with yeast, it acts as a nutrient and provides an acidic environment for the yeast so that it acts faster and longer.

ASH: A term used in relation to flour to indicate its mineral content. The higher the ash count, the more minerals are present in the flour, and vice versa. To calculate the ash count, a sample of the flour is incinerated and the remains (the "ash") are then weighed in relation to the original sample weight to calculate the ash count for that flour. The ash count can serve as an indication of the degree of refinement of the flour since a flour from which most of the bran has been removed will have a lower ash count than one from which less bran has been removed. A flour with a high ash count will also be slightly darker than one with a low ash count because of the higher amount of bran. Today, ash count has even less of a relationship to milling quality than it did a few decades ago because new wheat varieties and richer soils have made higher ash levels the norm, with typical ash values commonly being around 0.50% for domestic wheat varieties.

AUTOLYSE: A rest period, typically lasting 15–45 minutes, during which flour and especially the protein in the flour fully absorb the water before the yeast and salt are added and fermentation activity begins. Full absorption allows the gluten structure to form better, more complex bonds and serves to reduce oxidation of the dough and shorten the overall mix time. Autolyse also helps increase the extensibility of the dough due to the action of protease enzymes in the flour to break down the gluten slightly during the autolyse. Over time, the term "autolyse" has come to be used to refer to almost any rest period during the mix/knead cycle even though such use is not technically an autolyse as conceived by its originator, Prof. Raymond Calvel, a professor emeritus of baking sciences at L'ecole Francais de Meunerie and author of the classic work on European breadmaking, LeGout de Pain. The term autolyse is pronounced ah-toh-leez.


BAKER'S PERCENTS (OR PERCENTAGES): A mathematical tool and "language" used by bakers to analyze recipes and to scale or re-size recipes up or down in quantity. It is a weight-based system in which the percentage of each ingredient is stated in relation to the weight of the flour, which always has a baker's percent of 100%. In the context of pizza dough production, baker's percents can be used to determine the quantities of ingredients required to make any dough batch size or number of pizzas of any given size and crust thickness.


BIGA: An Italian term that generally means preferment. A biga is made from a mixture of flour, water, a small amount of commercial yeast, but no salt, and typically uses a hydration sufficient to achieve a generally quite stiff, dough-like consistency, much like the final dough into which it is to be incorporated. It is allowed to ferment and ripen at room temperature for several hours (typically 12–24 hours or more) before incorporating into the final dough. Although bigas most often use commercial yeast, a biga can also be made using naturally occurring (wild) yeast. Such a biga is sometimes referred to as a "Biga Natural." The term "biga" is pronounced bee-gah.

BREAD FLOUR: Flour with a protein level of 12.5-13.5%. Ideal for breads and "hand tossed" thin crust pizza. Higher protein flours make firmer, stronger doughs while lower protein flours produce softer, weaker doughs. Cake flour is typically 7-9% protein; pastry, or cookie, ≈9-10%; all-purpose, 10-12%; bread, 12.5-13.5%; clear and high-gluten, 14-15%; and gluten "flour" (actually refined gluten), 45%.


BUFFALO MOZZARELLA (MOZZARELLA DI BUFALA): A cheese made from the milk of water buffaloes (river water buffaloes). The cheese is generally considered to be of high quality because the water buffalo milk from which the cheese is made is thicker than regular milk, whiter (porcelain-white), with more butterfat, and more non-fat solids.  (It also has 38% more calcium and 43% less cholesterol than cow's milk.)  The cheese is a firm, stringy-textured cheese with a thin rind and delicate taste. Its principal drawback for the average home pizza maker is that the cheese has to be imported from Italy, mainly the Campania region of southern Italy (which is home to over eighty percent of Italy's water buffaloes), and, accordingly, is expensive compared with domestic cow's milk mozzarella cheeses. It also starts to deteriorate in quality fairly quickly. While most buffalo mozzarella cheese is imported from Italy, there are at least two domestic producers of the cheese as of this writing.


CAKE FLOUR: A relatively low-protein flour (typically 7–8.5%) milled from soft red winter wheat and used primarily for baking cakes and similar soft baked goods. It is often combined with other flours, including all-purpose, pastry and bread flour, to simulate imported Italian 00 flours for use in making Neapolitan-style pizzas. It has a typical absorption rate of about 53%, 2%. It is one of the few flours to be bleached by King Arthur, which is done to achieve greater volume.

CALIFORNIA STYLE PIZZA: One of the identifying characteristics of California style pizza is the toppings. California style tends to use exotic toppings and "off-the-beaten-path" combinations. While it is difficult to determine the origins of this style, some think it started in the 1970's or early 1980's. Back in the 1970's, creative culinary experts like Wolfgang Puck started experimenting with different, non-traditional toppings and later, around the mid-1980's, concepts like California Pizza Kitchen began selling the West Coast style. The dough has the same protein content as Chicago style, but the dough is mixed until it is smooth. The dough is placed in the pan and allowed to rise. In many cases these crusts are par-baked (sometimes called double baked) to order. This is done to help retain the height after baking and it also contributes to the crispy eating characteristic. The crust is light, airy and tender, which comes from the flour and proofing. Toppings tend to range from shrimp and asparagus to smoked salmon and other seafoods. Vegetarian combinations are also predominant. Source: PMQ.

CALVEL (Prof. Raymond): A recognized expert on the production of quality French and other European hearth breads and the originator (in the 1970's) of the autolyse method and other aspects of dough and bread making. Was a professor of baking sciences at the L'ecole Francais de Meunerie and the author of the classic work on bread production, Le Gout du Pain (translated into English as The Taste of Bread.) Is considered by many to be the "father" of bread making.

CAPUTO: An Italian producer of Caputo 00 flours sold in the U.S. and in several other countries for use in making pizza doughs and doughs for other baked goods. The Caputo brands in the U.S. include Caputo 00 pizzeria flour (the flour most commonly used by pizzamaking.com members), Caputo Rosso, and Caputo Extra Blue. The Caputo Rosso flour has the highest level of protein of the three flours and the Caputo Extra Blue has the lowest. See also the Caputo website: http://www.molinocaputo.it/#.


CHICAGO STYLE PIZZA: One of the identifying features of Chicago style pizza is its deep dish. In 1943, Ike Sewell created a deep-dish pizza. Ike's belief was if you made a pizza with massive amounts of ingredients (especially sausage) it would become a hearty meal choice for people. He was right, so he opened Pizzeria Uno which specialized in deep-dish pizza and started the Chicago style phenomenon. Chicago style pizza is usually eaten with a knife and fork rather than the hands because it is so thick and heavy. The dough, which contrary to many beliefs, is not really thick, but has a biscuit-like texture and has raised high on the sides of seasoned deep dish pans to hold all of the ingredients in. The cheese is placed directly on the dough and toppings added on top of that. The top is cheesed and sauced with a chunky sauce with a light sprinkling of cheese scattered on top of the sauce. Cooking times are usually longer due to the overall thickness of the pizza. The dough used for this style usually contains 10.5–11.5% protein and is under-mixed (not smooth.) Table grade margarine is used in the pans to add a slight, fried crispness, which contributes to the rich flavor and aids as a release agent in helping to get the baked pizzas out of the pan. Source: PMQ.


COLD FERMENTATION: The fermentation of a dough under refrigeration, usually for an extended period of time, for the purpose of developing better flavors and aromas in the finished crust through increased production of fermentation byproducts.

COMPRESSED YEAST: A fresh form of yeast also commonly referred to as "fresh" or "cake" yeast. It is a "wet" form of yeast inasmuch as it has a moisture content of around 70%, which makes it faster acting than dry yeasts and, hence, attractive to bakers and pizza operators who must use yeast regularly and in high volume in their businesses. This form of yeast is also available to consumers in small packages (usually 0.6 ounces, or 17 g.) sold in the refrigerated sections of many supermarkets. In use, the compressed yeast is either hydrated ("proofed") in tepid water (80–90F) before using or crumbled and mixed into the flour and other dry ingredients. The principal drawback of this form of yeast is that it is highly perishable and has a short shelf life (refrigerated), usually around two weeks or less. For consumers (but not for bakers) it is also considerably more expensive than dry yeasts on an equivalency basis.

CORNICIONE: Italian term for the "lip" or the outer puffy edge of the pizza.

CRACKER STYLE PIZZA: Pizza Hut made the cracker style crust popular back in the 1950's and they are still identified with this style. The dough is under-mixed according to Tom Lehmann with the American Institute of Baking. It is mixed until you can still see some of the white flour (only about five minutes). This dough needs to be fermented for five or six hours and must be sheeted to obtain its layered, cracker-like texture. The toppings and cheese are modestly applied and not piled up high and a thinner sauce usually works best. Source: PMQ.

CRUMB: A term used by bakers to define the inside of a bread or pizza crust, that is, its internal cell structure. Many factors can influence the cell structure of the crumb. For example, a high hydration dough that has not been overkneaded, has been properly shaped, and has sufficient yeast available at the time of baking to produce a good, final oven spring will generally result in a crumb that is open and airy with a lot of large, irregularly-sized and shaped holes (called alveoles). Conversely, a dough with low hydration, rolled rather than hand shaped, and with low yeast levels at the time of baking (resulting in a poorer oven spring) will generally result in a crumb that is more breadlike, with small, even-sized and tightly formed cells. Experienced bakers can usually tell from the color and other facets of the crumb what kind of flour and yeast levels were used, including the use of preferments.

CUTTER PAN: A circular solid or perforated metal pan with sloping sides and a sharp exposed outer edge for permitting a rolled out or sheeted dough that has been draped over the sharp edge of the pan to be cut to fit the pan by rolling a rolling pin over the dough and pan.


DAIRY WHEY: A baking ingredient derived as a byproduct of cheese production and processed into a dry form for use in doughs to promote greater crust browning. Dried dairy whey includes around 70% lactose, a milk sugar. It's the only simple sugar that is not metabolized (consumed) by yeast. But it contributes to browning of the crust. The lactose also has a low sweetness factor, so it won't be detected in the crust. So the result will be better color in the finished crust but not the accompanying sweetness. The usual rate of use of dairy whey is around 4% by weight of flour.

DAMAGED STARCH: Starch in flour that is damaged during milling (and sometimes inherent in the wheat grain.) Damaged starch in a flour is important because enzymes in the flour, namely alpha- and beta-amylase, work on the damaged starch to produce compounds that are converted to simple sugars for feeding the yeast during fermentation and also to contribute to the residual sugars in the dough at the time of baking to promote better crust browning.

DIASTATIC MALT: A barley malt commonly used in flours to increase the extraction of sugars from the flours for use as food for the yeast during fermentation and to increase the residual sugars in the dough at the time of baking to promote increased crust browning. The diastatic malt is produced from barley that has been sprouted, dried and ground into flour. The diastatic malt works through enzymatic activity (it provides additional alpha-amylase) to release sugar from the damaged starch molecules of flour. Diastatic malt is available in both dry and liquid form. The recommended rate is about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for every 3 cups of flour. Any more than that can result in a slack, sticky dough and a gummy crumb in the baked crust.

D.O.P./DOP: An abbreviation for Denominazione d'Origine Protetta, or "denomination of protected origin." This mark is guaranteed by the European Community (EU) and was created to promote the authenticity and artisan characteristics of certain food and agricultural products. These products are split into the categories of cheese, fruit and vegetables, salumi (or meats), and olive oils. A DOP certification guarantees that a product and all phases of production for that product have been carried out in a strictly defined geographic area which, in some cases, can be just a small cluster of villages. Among the pizza related ingredients that are often covered under the D.O.P. mark are San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheeses, olive oils, prosciutto di Parma, grana padano, pecorino Romano, and Parmiggiano Reggiano cheeses.

DOCKING: The act of poking numerous holes into a pizza skin immediately prior to topping which helps prevent large air bubbles from forming in the crust during baking. Usually performed using a specialized tool called a dough docker. Can also be performed using a fork, but this technique can be slow and time consuming.


DOUGH CONDITIONER: A general term used for additives that function to help improve the quality of the finished product by altering the way dough behaves. There are four main categories of dough conditioners: 1) enzymes, 2) oxidizing agents, 3) reducing agents, and 4) emulsifiers. Enzymes are biological catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions, such as increasing the extraction of sugar from starch. Oxidizing agents improve the dough strength by forming bonds between the protein chains. Reducing agents weaken the protein by breaking bonds between proteins during mixing, thereby reducing the mixing times and dough elasticity Emulsifiers strengthen the dough or soften the crumb. Examples of additives falling into the above four categories include diastatic malt, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), L-cysteine (or PZ-44), and lecithin, respectively.

DOUGH RELAXER: A baking ingredient used to relax dough that is excessively elastic and prone to shrinking and snapping back. The problem is most commonly experienced with doughs made from high-gluten flours. Common examples of ingredients used to relax such doughs so that they can be shaped and stretched to the desired size (diameter) include glutathione (dead yeast cells), L-cysteine, and PZ-44 (a combination of L-cysteine and whey proteins). Since these ingredients are available primarily for use by professional pizza operators, home pizza makers usually rely on high hydration levels and longer periods of fermentation to allow the enzymes in the flour (namely the protease enzymes) to soften the gluten so that the dough becomes sufficiently extensible to shape and stretch out to the desired size. (Note: a dough relaxer product produced by Lora Brody for use by home bakers has been discontinued.)

DRY MILK: A powdered milk product commonly added to dough primarily for crust color development (browning). It includes lactose (about 50%), a simple sugar that is primarily responsible for the browning but is not consumed by the yeast. Consequently, the sugar is available during the time of baking as a residual sugar to promote browning. Because lactose has a low sweetness value, it will not be detected as sweetness in the crust. What is important is that the powdered milk be of a high-heat baker's grade form, not the type sold in supermarkets.  The baker's grade form of dry milk has been heated at high temperature and otherwise processed to disable certain offending constituents of milk (either a whey protein or an enzyme) so that the dough doesn't become overly slack and soft. A typical rate of use of the baker's grade dry milk is around 3–5% by weight of flour. At higher levels of use, the dry milk can provide a measure of softness in the finished crust.


ELASTICITY: The capability of dough to return to its original shape after stretching. This effect is often referred to as "dough memory". Generally speaking, doughs made with high-protein, high-gluten flours tend most to exhibit this tendency because of their higher gluten content and their more extensive and stronger gluten network. Doughs will also exhibit high elasticity if they are reworked or re-kneaded just before shaping and stretching, which disorients and misaligns the gluten strands from their relaxed state just prior to reshaping.

ESCALON PREMIER BRANDS: Producer of super-premium "fresh pack" tomato products, considered to be one of the best in the industry. One of the few producers that does not use citric acid, a bitter-tasting preservative, in any of its products. Some popular Escalon brands include 6 IN 1 and Bont. Used exclusively by reputable pizzerias around the country. Escalon's product line is similar to that of rival Stanislaus Food Products (see Escalon/Stanislaus Cross Reference table.) See also rival STANISLAUS FOOD PRODUCTS.

EVOO: Abbreviation for extra virgin olive oil.

EXTENSIBILITY: The capability of dough to be shaped and stretched without breaking or springing back to its original shape. Generally speaking, doughs made with low-protein low-gluten flours, high hydration levels, and long fermentation times will tend to be more extensible than doughs made with high-protein high-gluten flours, low hydration levels, and short fermentation times.

EZZO PEPPERONI: A super-premium brand of pepperoni produced by Ezzo Italian Meats based in Columbus, Ohio. Ezzo pepperoni is made by hand in small batches, is very lean (21% fat compared to 28% like most), and has an excellent spice profile.


FALLING NUMBER: A term used by millers and bakers to refer to the alpha-amylase activity in flour. The falling number (FN) value has an inverse relationship with the alpha-amylase activity meaning the higher the alpha-amylase activity the lower the FN value, and vice-versa. For many flours, the falling number is adjusted through the addition of diastatic malt, or fungal amylase, to increase the level of enzymatic activity for optimum dough performance. Such adjustments are usually done at the mill, but sometimes by the baker. Malted bread flours typically have falling numbers of 250–290. Generally, a falling number value of 350 or greater indicates low enzyme activity. Values below 200 indicate high levels of enzyme activity. For comparison purposes, the King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour, which is a malted flour, has a falling number of 250 30 seconds. By contrast, the Caputo 00 pizzeria flour, which is unmalted, has a falling number of 340–360 seconds. Quite often, the falling number alone will indicate whether a particular flour is malted or not. See also ALPHA-AMYLASE.

FERMENTATION: The process by which yeast metabolizes (consumes) simple sugars to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol (ethyl alcohol). The sugars come basically from three sources: a small amount of simple sugars naturally present in the flour, sugars that are converted from complex sugars to simple sugars through a series of conversion operations, and sugar that is released by enzymatic action on damaged starch in the flour (starch that is primarily damaged during milling). The carbon dioxide resulting from fermentation is trapped within the gluten structure, causing the dough to rise. The alcohol is converted to compounds that provide flavor and aroma to the finished crust.

FIBRAMENT: A brand of baking (pizza) stone sold by AWMCO.

FIOR DI LATTE: "Flower of the Milk," a fresh, soft, whole-milk mozzarella cheese made from the milk of a cow.

FOCACCIA STYLE PIZZA: Focaccia style pizzas can be identified by the absence of sauce. These pizzas start with a round, flat bread (focaccia) that ranges from 3/8 to as much as 1-inch in thickness and starts with a medium crust dough. They are topped with oils, grilled vegetables and other toppings and can be found in many gourmet pizzerias. This style of pizza is among the oldest styles of pizzas as they were the first types made before the introduction of tomatoes by European explorers returning from Mexico and Central America. Source: PMQ.

FRESH PACK TOMATOES: Fresh pack tomatoes are only packaged during the tomato season. They are vine-ripened and usually processed and packaged within a few hours from being picked in the field. This is in contrast to remanufactured tomatoes where they are picked, processed into a concentrate and packaged at a later date after being reconstituted with water.

FRICTION FACTOR (FF): A value, expressed as temperature, that represents the amount of frictional heat imparted to a dough by the particular machine (e.g., stand mixer, food processor, or bread machine) used to mix and knead the dough. This value is used along with other temperature measurements, namely, room temperature and flour temperature, to calculate the temperature of water required to achieve a desired finished dough temperature (usually around 80–85F, which is considered optimal for fermentation purposes.) Water temperature is selected for adjustment since it is the easiest of all the temperatures to control. The value of FF will vary depending on the type of machine used, the machine speeds used, bowl and dough batch size, and duration of knead.


GLUTEN: An elastic, rubbery substance that results when certain proteins in flour, namely glutenin and gliadin, are combined with a liquid (usually water) and mixed together. Prior to this combination the gluten does not exist. When the gluten in dough is properly kneaded, a strong and highly developed gluten network forms that has a honeycomb-like structure which traps gases (i.e., carbon dioxide) produced during fermentation. As the gases are produced in quantity, the gluten structure expands, causing the dough to rise.

GRANDE CHEESE: A super-premium mozzarella cheese produced by the Grande Cheese Company based in Lomira, Wisconsin. Their signature mozzarella cheese is rich and creamy, soft and tender, with excellent taste and cooking (melting) characteristics. Used by many reputable New York pizzerias, this high-butterfat cheese is credited for leaving those yellow trails of oil running down your arm when you eat a slice of genuine NY-style pizza.


HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR: Flour with a protein level of 14-15%. Exceptional for "hand tossed" New York-style pizza and bagels. Higher protein flours make firmer, stronger doughs while lower protein flours produce softer, weaker doughs. Cake flour is typically 7-9% protein; pastry, or cookie, ≈9-10%; all-purpose, 10-12%; bread, 12.5-13.5%; clear and high-gluten, 14-15%; and gluten "flour" (actually refined gluten), 45%.


HYDRATION: A term that refers to the capacity of flour to absorb water. Hydration is usually stated as a baker's percent, or ratio, that is equal to the weight of water divided by the weight of flour used in a recipe. Different flours have different capacities to absorb water, with high-protein flours having higher hydration capacities than lower protein flours.


HYGROSCOPIC: The capacity of a substance to absorb moisture from its surroundings. Flour, salt and sugar (and honey) are good examples of hygroscopic ingredients familiar to pizza makers. The term hygroscopic is sometimes spelled hydroscopic.



INSTANT DRY YEAST (IDY): A very finely-divided strain of dry yeast that, because of its particular strain and its smaller particle size than active dry yeast (ADY), needs no re-hydration, or "proofing", in water or other liquid to activate it and can thus be added directly to the flour and other dry ingredients. Moreover, instant dry yeast contains more live cells than active dry yeast, further facilitating its activation. Once in the flour, the instant dry yeast can tolerate liquid temperatures of 120–130F Because of all these factors, the instant dry yeast will start to work faster than active dry yeast. Like active dry yeast, advantages of instant dry yeast include convenience of use and long storage life, especially when sealed and frozen in an airtight container.


JOHNS (Pamela Sheldon): A cookbook author known in pizza circles for her book, Pizza Napoletana!, devoted to Neapolitan-style pizzas. For a review of this book, see the book review section of the pizzamaking.com site.



KING ARTHUR FLOUR COMPANY: A well-known source of baking ingredients and highly regarded for its high-quality, unbleached, unbromated flours with tight milling specifications and generally higher protein levels than competing brands. While King Arthur has a retail store in White River Junction, VT, it does a substantial mail-order business through its Baker's Catalogue.

KOSHER SALT: A form of salt produced through the use of evaporation processes but having a larger particle size (and different shape) than ordinary table salt. Kosher salts usually contain no additives. Kosher salt can be substituted for table salt in recipes, but because of its larger particle size, it is often recommended that the amount of the Kosher salt substituted be about 1 1/2 to 2 times the amount of table salt, by volume. As a matter of convenience, producers of some brands of Kosher salt suggest using the same amount of Kosher salt as table salt, by volume.


L-CYSTEINE: L-cysteine is used in flour as a treatment agent to aid in the relaxing of gluten in doughs, such as pizza bases, that are heavily manipulated. In controlled amounts, it will break the sulfhydryl bridges between gluten proteins, producing weakened flour. See also DOUGH CONDITIONER.

LEHMANN (Tom): Director of Baking Assistance at the American Institute of Baking (AIB), Manhattan, KS, and a technical advisor and consultant to the pizza industry. He is an acknowledged expert on pizza dough and its commercial production and management and is a frequent contributor on such matters at the Pizza Marketing Quarterly (PMQ) and Pizza Today, including their online forums. He is frequently referred to as the "Dough Doctor."

LEVAIN: A French term for a natural preferment that is essentially synonymous (in the U.S.) with sourdough. It is a culture of a naturally-occurring (wild) yeast and bacteria that can leaven and flavor a bread or pizza crust. It is refreshed periodically by replacement of a part of the culture by new flour and water, and a portion of the refreshed culture is allowed to ferment and mature (ripen) before incorporating into the final dough. The remainder of the culture is used to begin the next batch of dough. A levain, or "sourdough," can be perpetuated for many years, even centuries for certain highly-stable strains.





MOZZARELLA CHEESE: A soft, pasta filata (stretched curd) cheese made in a way resembling provolone. In the United States, milk (whole, lowfat, nonfat) is usually pasteurized, and set by warming to 95F and adding lactic acid-producing bacterial starters and a coagulating enzyme. The curd is separated from the whey, and when a critical acidity has been reached, the mozzarella curd is immersed in hot water (170 to 180F), or heated with steam, and kneaded and stretched until smooth. Thereafter, the cheese is molded into proper forms, immersed in cold water to harden, and sometimes salted in brine. The cheese has little or no curing and may be used immediately after processing. Available forms of mozzarella cheese include part-skim mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella, and low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella. String cheese derived from mozzarella is also popular. Source: National Dairy Council.



NEAPOLITAN STYLE PIZZA: 'a pizza Napoletana. According to the Associazione vera pizza napoletana, genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (type 0 and/or 00), natural yeast or brewer's yeast, and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with an approved mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or any other mechanical device, and may be no more than 0.3 cm thick. Baking the pizza must take place in a wood-fired, stone oven at 485C (905F) for 60–90 seconds. When cooked, it should be soft and fragrant. The classic types and their respective toppings include:

Marinara or Napoletana: tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic. Margherita: tomato, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and fior-di-latte or mozzarella di bufala. Formaggio e Pomodoro: tomato, olive oil, and grated parmesan cheese. Basil leaves are optional.


NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA: New York style pizza can be traced back to the 17th century when Spanish soldiers were occupying the area around Naples, Italy. One of their favorite snacks was a soft, crispy dough with toppings that the Neapolitans called sfiziosa. Like local New Yorkers who fold their slices in half and eat while walking, these Spanish soldiers folded the flat bread into a libretto (little book) and ate it with their hands. One of the main characteristics of New York style pizza is its thin, chewy crust, but that isn't everything that defines New York style pizza. Many might say that it's not New York style unless it leaves those yellow trails of oil running down your elbow when you eat it. This comes from the high butter fat cheese they use. Big Dave Ostrander says most New York pizzerias use Grande mozzarella cheese to get this trait. For New York style, fresh mozzarella isn't an option... it's a rule! Many are hearth or deck oven baked and the sauce is usually thinner than most sauces with fewer ingredients added. The dough is made with high protein, high gluten flour (usually 13.5 to 14.5% protein) and is slightly chewy. There is an old urban legend that you can only produce New York pizza in New York due to the hard water they have. While it's true that New York has hard water, it's debatable as to whether this is the secret ingredient. Source: PMQ.

NON-DIASTATIC MALT: A diastatic malt without the enzyme activity capability and commonly used for flavoring, color, and crust browning purposes. Available in liquid or dry form, it is sweet and flavorful and can be used in lieu of other sweeteners, and caramelizes well and contributes to browning. However, it isn't the same as and doesn't operate like diastatic malt and consequently shouldn't be confused with diastatic malt.



OSTRANDER (Dave): A former independent pizza operator and now a consultant to the pizza industry. He is also a frequent contributor to the Pizza Marketing Quarterly (PMQ), including its online forum. He is well known for his "Old Faithful" pizza dough recipes which have been used by pizza operators all around the world to make over 2 million pounds of dough. He is an acknowledged expert on the management of pizza operations, from startup to mature business. Ostrander is often referred to as the "Pizza Doctor" or, more commonly, "Big Dave."

OVEN SPRING: The rapid increase and final burst in the expansion of dough once it is loaded into the oven. The dough expansion will cease as soon as the temperature of the dough reaches about 140 F, at which point the yeast dies. There are many factors that influence the degree and quality of the oven spring when baking pizzas, including overall dough quality (it should not be stiff or overkneaded, and it should have good hydration), the amount of yeast in the dough as of the time of baking, the degree of fermentation (it should not be underfermented or overfermented), and oven temperature. The manner in which the pizza is baked, that is, whether using a pan, stone/tiles, or pizza screen, will also be a factor.

OXIDATION: As applied to pizza dough, the term means a chemical reaction that takes place when air is incorporated into the dough, as by mixing and kneading. The effect is to reinforce the gluten bonds and strengthen the dough and increase the hydration capacity of the dough. However, excessive oxidation, which can occur if the dough is kneaded too long, can have the adverse effect of destroying caretenoid pigments naturally present in the flour and result in a loss of color and taste in the finished crust. This is one of the reasons why an autolyse period is often used since the autolyse will have the effect of shortening the overall kneading time.


PAN STYLE PIZZA: This style gets its name because it's cooked in a pan, but there is more to it than that. The pan has oil in it that fries the bottom layer of dough giving it a light crunch, and a slightly different flavor than a conventionally, baked pizza. The dough is somewhat thick as a result of the dough being allowed to proof/rise in the pan prior to baking. Toppings and cheese usually don't identify a pan style and can be used in any amounts. Areas in the southeastern U.S. are usually identified with this style of pizza. Source: PMQ.

PAR-BAKE: The partial baking of a dough, without anything on it, to prepare a partially-baked crust, or "shell", to be used to prepare a finished pizza at a later date. Until then, the par-baked crust is refrigerated or frozen (or kept at room temperature for near-term use). When a finished pizza is to be made, the partially-baked crust is dressed with sauce, cheeses and other toppings and baked until done.

PARCHMENT PAPER: A paper that has been treated with sulfuric acid and coated with silicone. The sulfuric acid makes the surface of the paper smooth so that it resists grease and moisture and tolerates high oven temperatures. The silicone coating prevents foods from sticking. Instead of using a peel, some home pizza makers use parchment paper on which to build their pizzas before loading into the oven. Parchment paper is not wax paper, which is paper coated with a paraffin wax.

PARMESAN CHEESE: Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) is the most widely known variety of grana (which means hard grating) cheese, the most important cooking cheese in northern Italy. This salty, sharp-flavored, grating cheese is also manufactured in the United States. A mixture of whole and nonfat milk, usually pasteurized, is warmed to 95F and a bacterial starter is added. After ripening for 5 to 10 minutes, a coagulating enzyme is added. The resulting curd particles are cut into pieces no larger than wheat kernels and cooked, with stirring, for about 45 minutes at a relatively high temperature of 115 to 125F. The curd is allowed to settle and drain, and is placed in circular cloth-lined hoops and pressed. The pressed curd is removed, salted in brine for 14 to 15 days, and then dried 8 to 10 days. During cooling, which takes from 10 to 24 months in a cool (50F), ventilated room, the cheese is frequently turned. The rind may be treated with a mixture of dark earth dye and olive or other vegetable oil. Source: National Dairy Council.

PASTRY FLOUR: A relatively low-protein flour typically milled from soft white/red winter wheat and primarily used for pastries. However, it can be combined with other flours, including all-purpose, cake flour and bread flour, to simulate an imported Italian 00 flour for use in making Neapolitan-style pizzas. The flour has a typical protein content of 8.5–9.5%.

PATE FERMENTE: A French term used to mean a slightly-aged prefermented dough. In one version, the pate fermente is made by combining a starter, such as a sourdough starter, and flour and water, and the combination is left to rise and then refrigerated overnight or, in some cases, for several days before incorporating it into the final dough. In another form, often referred to as a chef or "old dough", a portion of one day's dough production is taken and used in the next day's production. Consequently, the removed dough has the same ingredients as the dough batch from which it was taken, including flour, water, commercial yeast and salt. In both forms, the hydration of the pate fermente is established to be reasonably close to the hydration of the finished dough into which the pate fermente is to be incorporated.

PEEL: A long-handled spade-shaped tool that is used chiefly by bakers for getting something (as bread or pizza) into or out of the oven. Peels generally come in wood and metal versions. The wood version, sometimes called a make-up board, is considered best for assembling and "peeling" a pizza into the oven, and the metal version, which has a very thin blade, is considered best for removing pizzas from the oven (although the two can be used interchangeably.)

PEPPERONI: In the U.S., pepperoni refers to a spicy Italian-American variety of dry salami made of pork and beef. Pepperoni is a descendant of the spicy salamis of Italy, such as salsiccia Napoletana piccante, a spicy dry pork sausage from Naples. Pepperoni is frequently used as a pizza topping in American-style pizzerias. It is the most popular pizza topping in North America, present on at least 30% of all pizzas. For pepperoni that "cups" and chars when cooked, choose a brand with a collagen casing.

PIZZAIOLO: A term most commonly associated with a trained Italian pizza maker, especially one with skills in making and baking Neapolitan pizzas, particularly in a high-temperature wood-fired oven, with exceptional skills in managing and mastering the use of the oven for high volume production. Plural form is pizzaioli. Called "pie man" in the U.S. Northeast.

PIZZA BIANCA: Roman leavened flatbread flavored with olive oil and salt.

PIZZA MARGHERITA: Classic Neapolitan pizza. Topped only with tomato, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and fresh basil. See also NEAPOLITAN STYLE PIZZA.

PIZZA MARINARA: Also known as Napoletana. A cheeseless pizza topped with tomato, olive oil, oregano, and fresh garlic. See also NEAPOLITAN STYLE PIZZA.

PIZZA STONE: A flat slab of material, such as a ceramic, clay or other refractory material, or a lead-free firebrick material (cordierite), or soapstone material, that can be preheated at high oven temperatures (in excess of 500 F) to permit a pizza to be baked on it. The pizza stone usually is rectangular or round with a typical thickness of about 1/2 to 7/8 inch.

POOLISH: A French term with Polish origins that is used to mean a preferment that is made with equal amounts of flour and water (which produces a pancake-like batter with a hydration of 100%), and a small amount of commercial yeast, but no salt. It is usually left to ferment and ripen at room temperature for several hours, although it is sometimes refrigerated for many hours (e.g., overnight) before incorporating into the final dough. The term poolish is pronounced poo-leash.

POTASSIUM BROMATE: A flour improver that acts as a maturing agent. Potassium bromate is a strong oxidizer that strengthens dough and prevents it from falling when handled between proofing and baking yielding higher volume bread. Please note that potassium bromate has been classified as a carcinogen and has been banned by the World Health Organization. As a result, many nations, including Canada and those of the European Union, have banned its use. While not banned in the US, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the FDA to do so. In response, the American Bakers Association, which opposes such a ban, published a statement saying that potassium bromate is converted to harmless potassium bromide during the baking process. Flours that are bromated are labeled as such on the packaging.

PRE-BAKE: To partially bake a dough, for a few to several minutes, without anything on the dough, for the purpose of creating a greater rise in the crust or, in some cases (as with a cracker-type crust), to allow the crust to dry out before adding sauce, cheeses and other toppings and completing the baking.

PREFERMENT: A partial preparation of flour and water and yeast (naturally-occurring or commercial), that may or may not include salt, that is left to ferment and mature before incorporating into the final dough. The ingredients and period of fermentation are controlled to achieve the desired leavening power and maturation (ripening) before incorporation into the final dough. The preferment can be fermented at room temperature or under refrigeration, or a combination of both. Depending on its final intended use, it can take a liquid form, semi-liquid form (like a batter) or it can be stiff and dough-like. The benefits from using a preferment include a strengthened gluten structure, a shortened overall production time, and superior crust flavor.

PROOF: A term often used in bread baking to describe the final rise of the bread dough while it is in the pan or bread board just prior to baking. The term is often somewhat erroneously used in the context of pizza doughs to describe the process of fermentation. It is more correctly applied to the process by which certain doughs, such as deep-dish doughs or Sicilian-style doughs, are permitted to rise, or "proof", either at room temperature or in a proofing unit (often with humidity), in advance of dressing and baking.

PROVEL CHEESE: A St. Louis original. A blend of white cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheese. Considered the key ingredient in St. Louis-style pizza, most notably Imo's Pizza.

PROVOLONE CHEESE: Provolone, an Italian cheese, is representative of the pasta filata or stretched curd cheeses. In these stringy-textured cheeses, the curd is cooked to a relatively high temperature and is pulled and molded while hot into various shapes. The name provolone is derived from the Neapolitan word "prova," meaning ball-shaped. In the United States, provolone, except for the addition of special flavor-producing enzymes, is manufactured similarly to Cheddar up to the time of matting the curd. At this point, the curd for provolone is cut into slabs that are worked and stretched in hot (180F) water or whey. The hot curd is kneaded and stretched either by hand or machine until it becomes shiny, smooth, and elastic. The curd is molded into various shapes, such as pear, melon, cylinder, sausage, or ball. The shaped curd is then chilled in cold (50F) water to harden, and salted for several days in cool brine. After brining, the cheese is packaged, cured for a few months, and usually smoked. Before selling, the cheese may be covered with wax or plastic film. Source: National Dairy Council.

PROTEIN: The dominant proteins found in wheat flour are glutenin and gliadin which, when combined, form gluten. See GLUTEN.

PZ-44 DOUGH CONDITIONER: A blend of whey and L-cysteine, a crystalline amino acid which is a natural component of protein. PZ-44 dough conditioner is often used in pizzerias as a dough conditioner helping to produce a more workable pizza dough. Biochemical reactions of L-cysteine and flour proteins result in shorter mixing time and increased extensibility (rapid relaxation without fermentation.) See also DOUGH CONDITIONER.




RAPID-RISE (OR QUICK-RISE) YEAST: A form of instant dry yeast (IDY).

REINHART (Peter): Chef on Assignment at Johnson and Wales University (a culinary institute), in Charlotte, NC. Is a consultant to the baking industry and food companies and a frequent lecturer on baking matters, and a well-known author of cookbooks on bread baking. Is the author of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza. For a review of this book, see the book review section of the pizzamaking.com site.

RELEASE AGENT: A substance which helps prevent an unbaked pizza from sticking to the make-up board (or pizza peel) so that the pizza will slide off easily into the oven. Most people use a dusting of raw white flour for this purpose, but semolina flour or cornmeal can also be used. Another trick-of-the-trade is lifting a section of the dough's edge, blowing an air bubble underneath, then quickly releasing it before the air can escape. This air pocket causes the pizza to "float" on the peel making its release very easy.



RIPEN: A term commonly applied to certain preferments to describe the maturation of the preferment, as evidenced by the preferment having achieved a fully risen state (domed) and on the verge of receding or falling back at the center. In the case of a poolish or sponge, the ripening is indicated by the presence of small carbon dioxide bubbles at the surface of the poolish with cracks and signs of collapsing. The term ripen is also sometimes used to refer to a dough that has fermented to the point where the dough has peaked and should be used before it overferments and starts to recede or collapse.

ROMANO CHEESE: Romano cheese, an Italian, sharply piquant, grating cheese resembling Parmesan and other grana cheeses, is manufactured in a similar manner to that described for Parmesan. Some Romano cheese is made in the United States from cow's milk but most of it is imported into this country. It is cured for 5 to 12 months or longer. Source: National Dairy Council.


SAN MARZANO TOMATOES: A famed varietal of tomatoes from the Naples region of Campania, Italy and grown on vesuvial volcanic soils. The San Marzano tomatoes (the varietal) are elongated, firm, plum-like tomatoes with fewer seed cavities than most tomatoes. They also have a naturally low-acid content. The San Marzano tomatoes sold in cans may or may not bear the D.O.P. designation. However, those that do will have a special numbered label, and will indicate the region around Naples, such as the Agro Sarnese-Nocerino region, where the San Marzano tomatoes were grown. Cans not bearing the D.O.P. label may be of questionable provenance.

SCREEN: A round, expanded, metal (usually aluminum) screen with a beaded outer rim. Because of the open character of the screen, air circulating beneath a pizza placed on the screen can readily permeate the screen and provide uniform baking of the pizza and browning of the bottom of the crust. Pizza screens come in a wide variety of sizes, from about 6 inches to over 20 inches. Although pizza screens are usually round, they also come in rectangular shapes.

SEA SALT: A form of salt formed from evaporation of seawater at ordinary atmospheric temperature and pressure and then harvested. It has a larger particle size than ordinary table salt, and can come in different particle size gradations, including very coarse, which may require grinding in a mill or mortar and pestle before using for applications requiring small particle size, such as pizza dough making (although it can be used as a condiment on top of a finished pizza). Sea salts include naturally occurring beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium and are free of additives, such as anti-caking and anti-clumping chemicals and dextrose, as are commonly added, along with iodide (usually potassium iodide), to ordinary table salts. In the context of pizza dough, Sicilian sea salts are considered by some to be particularly useful because of their high hygroscopicity capacity (their capacity to absorb water).

SEMOLINA FLOUR: A coarse, granular flour product with bright yellow color produced by milling durum wheat, a high-protein, high-gluten wheat. A typical protein content for semolina flour is around 12–13%. The semolina flour is available in coarse and fine grades. It is frequently combined with other flours, at a rate of up to 25%, to produce a chewy finished crust.

SHEETING: The act of rolling dough into a very thin and uniform sheet. Most commonly performed using a specialized machine known as a dough sheeter or dough roller. A rolling pin may also be used, but this technique can be slow and labor-intensive.

SIR LANCELOT FLOUR: King Arthur's Sir Lancelot (KASL) flour is a high-quality, high protein, high-gluten flour produced by the King Arthur Flour Company based in Norwich, Vermont. This flour is available in large quantities (50-lb. bags) from various bakery distributors, foodservice companies and other intermediaries, some of whom will sell to individuals on a cash-and-carry basis (the KASL flour is not presently sold at the retail level.) The KASL is made from 100% hard red spring wheat, is malted to increase enzyme performance, and has a protein level of 14.2% 2%, an ash level of 0.52% 0.02%, and an absorption rate of 63% 2%. The KASL tolerates a long dough fermentation time and will exhibit greater browning and chewiness in the finished crust than other flours. These characteristics of the flour make it especially suitable for thin New York style pizzas. Because of its high gluten content, King Arthur does not recommend hand kneading doughs made from the KASL. See also KING ARTHUR FLOUR COMPANY.

SKIN: A term of art used by pizza makers to describe a dough round that has been shaped and stretched or rolled out from a dough ball into a pizza round (or other shape) in preparation for dressing and baking.

SLACK DOUGH: An overly wet dough with no elasticity or spring-back.


SPONGE: A preferment similar to a poolish or biga. It can include part of the flour and yeast and all or a part of the water to be used in the final dough, and is combined with additional flour, water, yeast and salt to make the final dough. The sponge can be allowed to ferment and mature (ripen) at room temperature, under refrigeration, or a combination of both.

STANISLAUS FOOD PRODUCTS: Producer of super-premium "fresh pack" tomato products, considered to be one of the best in the industry. Some popular Stanislaus brands include Saporito, Full Red, and 7/11. Used exclusively by reputable pizzerias around the country. Stanislaus' product line is similar to that of rival Escalon Premier Brands (see Escalon/Stanislaus Cross Reference table.) See also rival ESCALON PREMIER BRANDS.


STIFF DOUGH: An overly dry dough (less than 50% water) which is dense and nonelastic.


STUFFED STYLE PIZZA: Some people confuse a stuffed pizza with Chicago style. While they may look similar, they are quite different. Stuffed pizzas start with a medium thick dough/crust and then some sauce, toppings and a layer of cheese are added. A separate (much thinner) layer of dough is then placed on top of the toppings and then given another, and greater, application of sauce and cheese on top of the pizza. This creates a lasagna-like pie. Cook times on this style are usually in the 30-minute range. Source: PMQ.


TARE: The weight of a container or wrapper that is deducted from the gross weight to obtain net weight. Most digital scales allow you to perform this task easily by placing the empty container on the scale and pressing the tare button. Then, when the container is filled, only the weight of its contents is displayed.

THICK STYLE PIZZA: Thick style pizzas are really nothing more than a thicker version of a thin crust pizza. They are usually baked on a screen, disk, or directly on the oven hearth. The height or thickness of this style of pizza is achieved through both greater dough weight and some proofing, though not as much proofing as is given to the pan style thick crust varieties. Immediately after proofing, the dough is sauced and topped in the usual manner and taken to the oven for baking. The finished pizzas have moderate thickness, a slightly crispy bottom texture and a moderately chewy eating characteristic. This type of pizza does not have a regional preference, but it is instead, found served throughout the entire U.S. Source: PMQ.

THICKNESS FACTOR: A number often used within the pizza industry to correspond to a particular pizza crust thickness, from "thin" to "medium" to "thick". The thickness factor is used in a mathematical expression to calculate the amount of dough that is needed to make a pizza of any given size (diameter) and desired thickness. The thickness factor of an existing dough can also be calculated from the weight of the dough and the size of pizza made from that dough. Typical values of thickness factors for "thin", "medium" and "thick" crusts are 0.10, 0.11, and 0.12–0.13, respectively. Thickness factors for deep-dish doughs will usually be higher (above 0.13).and for cracker-type or other thin crusts they will often be lower (around 0.05).

TILES: Unglazed, fired, quarry clay tiles used in arrangements of one or more layers on an oven rack or grill for use as an alternative to pizza stones for baking pizzas. The tiles are most commonly found in ceramic tile stores or home improvement stores (such as Home Depot and Lowe's, with typical sizes of 6″ 6″, 8″ 8″ or 4″ 8″ (and generally about 1/2″ thick). Since food is to be cooked on the tiles, for health reasons it is very important that the tiles be unglazed.

THIN STYLE PIZZA: A thin crust style pizza dough is mixed until it is smooth and then stretched by hand. The texture of a true thin crust is crispy on the outside, yet soft inside. This style of pizza has been traditionally found in taverns and bars because they allow the customer to eat without being filled up on dough. The toppings and cheese are modestly applied and not piled up high and a thinner sauce usually works best. Source: PMQ.



VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN (VWG): A dried wheat protein of high-gluten, hard wheat grain that has had all of the starch removed and is then dried. It is frequently used to supplement other flours to increase the overall protein level of such flours. Vital wheat gluten has a typical gluten content of about 45% and a protein content of about 75%. Its recommended use is at the rate of 1 to 2 teaspoons for each cup of flour or 2–3% by weight of flour. Each 1% addition of vital wheat gluten increases the protein content of the flour to which it is added by 0.6%.



YEAST: A living, microscopic, single-cell organism that, as it feeds, converts sugars and starches into alcohol and carbon dioxide (known as fermentation.) This trapped carbon dioxide gas is what causes doughs to rise, or leaven. See also LEVAIN, ACTIVE DRY YEAST, INSTANT DRY YEAST, and COMPRESSED YEAST.


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