There are many different features that can define authentic pizza, but the best of the bunch will tick a series of boxes all at once.
The easiest option for consumers is to venture to a well respected Italian restaurant or pizzeria.
Anyone can call up cheap takeaway for a quick fix, yet these establishments set themselves from the rest of the competition with genuine food for the soul.
These outlets have expert chefs on hand who know their craft well, but what about individuals who want to make their own crust conveniently in their own kitchen?
Here we will open a discussion about what defines authenticity in this niche and what ingredients should be a priority.
An Authentic Base
An authentic base is step number one to defining a quality pizza. What has developed as something of a trend in the current market is to craft a thin and crispy base that is easy to maneuver and handle. However, there are thicker alternatives that can support a hefty size of ingredients. Irrespective of the base size, the dough should be appropriately rolled and allowed to rest for 10-12 hours once stretched. The right foundation will include a balance between the salt, flour and yeast, giving a delicious texture that can be applied to all toppings.
Underestimate the profile of cheese at your own peril because this core ingredient can make or break the pizza. The most popular option is sourced with Mozzarella as it has an unmistakable consistency when applied to the sauce and ingredients, but there are other options out there in the market. The important aspect to note for homemade cooks is to purchase fresh cheese that hasn’t been stocked for days in supermarkets. From goat cheese to cheddar, Pecorino-Romano or Gorgonzola, locate a brand that compliments the rest of the structure of the pizza.
Freshly Crafted Tomato Sauce
Generic canned tomato sauce purchased from the local supermarket simply won’t cut it when it comes to making authentic pizza. Of course this step would be the most convenient and even cost effective, but it won’t deliver that sweet aftertaste that consumers love with the top offerings. The experts will regularly opt for San Marzano tomatoes that are peeled and given a dash of extra virgin olive oil. When prepared correctly is will have that sumptuous taste that elevates the toppings.
To be considered ‘authentic pizza’ it is important to include any number of traditional toppings. Once the base, tomato sauce and cheese have been applied, there is any number of possibilities that can be applied to the item. Yet the best toppings will include ingredients that Italian restaurants embrace, ranging from pepperoni to capsicum, mushrooms, basil, oregano, salami, onions, ham, smoked bacon or a combination.
Hot Cooking Heat
There is one very simple rule that applies to the creation of authentic pizza – the hotter the temperature during the cook, the better. Fast food outlets and Italian restaurant establishments alike can run their ovens to as hot as 800°C and while that level is not expected for homemakers, it is important to run at maximum capacity. To generate that crusty texture at the base without making the meal too dry, the fast and efficient cook at high temperature is the best approach to take. Many household ovens won’t exceed 500°C, but so long as it is preheated ahead of time, that should work out fine.
Of all the methods of cooking pizza and the different cultural influences of the cuisine, there are no hard and fast rules. This is a world renowned food that can be enjoyed a hundred different ways, but to be considered authentic by patrons who know their pizza, they have to meet these key benchmarks.