Neapolitan pizza is one of the most famous Italian culinary specialities in the world and today among the most appreciated and consumed in the four corners of the earth. It is a simple dish, and it is precisely its simplicity that makes it so tasty. However, do not take it for granted: its preparation requires great skill!
To prepare pizza in true Neapolitan tradition, Gi.Metal also follows the decalogue of AVPN (Association Verace Pizza Napoletana, an association for authentic Neapolitan pizza): ten steps from kneading the dough, to cutting it, shaping it and putting it in the oven (strictly wood-fired!). Obviously, the quality of the ingredients and the professionalism of the tools make the difference in churning out a truly outstanding pizza.
Ready? Let us begin!
1) Preparing the dough
Pizza dough requires few readily available ingredients: water, salt, yeast and 00 wheat flour. Once prepared, it has to be allowed to rise for at least 8 hours, after which it can be cut into balls of the right size.
2) Preparing the dough balls
Once the dough balls have been cut, they need to be kneaded into tasty pizzas. Moving them from one place to another for handling requires precision and appropriate tools, such as spatulas that can fit perfectly under the balls to lift and separate them as best as possible.
3) Manipulating the discs of dough
Now it is time to roll out the dough balls and create the disc of dough. To follow the traditional method, the disc must be shaped by hand. In this way, the air moves from the centre of the ball outwards, creating the typical ‘crust' that characterises Neapolitan pizza.
4) Top with quality ingredients
Today, there are pizzas for every taste, but the topping of the classic Neapolitan pizza requires few ingredients. A pulpy sauce of peeled tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella cut into strips, a few fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil poured in a spiral movement are enough. If the quality of these elements is good, so will the taste.
5) Placing in the oven
And here we come to one of the most delicate moments of the process: putting the pizza in the wood-fired oven using the most suitable peel. The disc of dough is placed on the peel, aided by your hands. Here, it is widened and stretched masterfully towards the end of the peel. The perforation of the head is functional to all these movements, and must allow the ideal release of flour in relation to the work movements of the Neapolitan tradition. To bring these operations to fruition, Gi.Metal's Napoli shovel is the answer. Designed to meet the needs of pizza makers who follow the Neapolitan tradition, it is suitable for handling pizzas in very hot ovens. Thanks to the S.H.A. (Special Hard Anodizing) treatment of the shovel head, Napoli is very strong, light and smooth. The design, the amount of holes and their circular arrangement on the head perfectly match the requirements of the Neapolitan style of pizza making. The last special touch are the three iconic rivets that echo the Italian tricolor to guarantee a 100% Made in Italy product.
Traditional Neapolitan ovens are very hot, reaching up to 932°F. For this reason, the baking phase must be very short, a couple of minutes at most. The pizza is not placed in a pan, but is baked directly on the wood-fired oven floor. How to know if it is ready? Lifting one side of the pizza. The underside must appear golden and without burn marks. Similarly, the crust must be 1-2 centimetres thick, and it must look nice and puffy and golden, free of bubbles or burnt parts.
7) Taking out of the oven
When it is time to bake, it is necessary to use a light, flexible and heat-resistant pizza peel, capable of holding the pizza and transferring it to the plate or cutting board. The Neapolitan pizza must be round, with a swollen, thick and golden crust and a thinner central part (about 4 millimetres). The red of the tomato mixed with the white of the mozzarella and the green of the basil will make your mouth water!
8) Smelling the aroma
It must appeal to the nose as much as the eye. Lingering to appreciate the unmistakable aroma of freshly baked Neapolitan pizza is fully part of the process. The typical scent of fresh bread mixes with the acidic fragrance of tomato, the freshness of basil leaves and the scent of extra virgin olive oil.
Hot, fragrant and freshly baked, the Neapolitan pizza is ready for cutting into the classic triangular slices. Before tasting, just one last tip: to cut pizza conveniently, precisely and quickly, a professional pizza wheel is the ideal choice over a knife.
And finally, everyone's favourite moment. When prepared in the Neapolitan way, with the right ingredients and the right tools, pizza has a truly unique texture and taste. Now it is just time to indulge in the unmistakable explosion of flavours and enjoy all the taste and joy that only pizza can offer.