Fresh mozzarella is to pizza what soul is to human beings. And fresh mozzarella is the key to the stretchability of pizza. As a matter of fact, it is quite hard, or even impossible, to find a pizza without mozzarella. If you are a pizza lover, lucky you seen this article. Today I’d like to show you how mozzarella works and how to make a pizza at home.
Why Mozzarella Can Be Strechy
When eating pizza, the hot cheese will stimulate your appetite. It’s not because the sticky stuff that’s still in there, but the protein that makes it stretchy.
Firstly, the main component of cheese is casein, and the process of cheese production and maturation is the evolution from the casein micelles in milk to the casein structural skeleton in cheese.
In short, the casein is present in the milk in a very loose form, but when it is processed and matured, the bundles of casein are arranged in a fibrous form, with fat globules and whey between the protein fibers.
To achieve a nice cheese pull, cheese needs to be both melting and stretchy. Meltability, which is when the cheese is heated, the casein proteins move relatively easily from one another, allowing the cheese to flow. Stretchability requires the casein network to remain intact when the cheese is subjected to constant tension, that is, to stretch without breaking, the filaments that form.
How to Make A Pizza at Home
Neapolitan pizza is one of the most famous pizza in Italy, which was regarded as intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2017. To make a Neapolitan pizza successfully, tomato and fresh mozzarella can’t be forgotten. The most appropriate and ingredients are tomatoes from San Marzano and Campana buffalo mozzarella cheese. The former is a long, succulent tomato that grows on the southern plains of Mount Vesuvius. And the latter is made from buffalo milk, which comes from the marshes of the semi-wild states of Campania and Lazio, and mozzarella is now protected by the European designation of Origin protection.
The paste which is sacred to Italians, is specialized when it comes to Neapolitan pizza. It must be made of flour # 0 or # 00 (or a mixture of both), natural yeast of Naples or brewer’s yeast, water, and salt. Here follows specific steps.
Firstly, you should dissolve the yeast in warm water, add 115 g of flour, stir well and wait for 1 hour. And then combine the remaining flour and salt in a large bowl and add to the yeast water in batches, about 31g each time. For each addition of powder, stir with paddle in a low speed for about 2 minutes. After mixing the water and all the flour, change the hook of the mixer and mix the dough on low speed for 3 minutes. After that, change to medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic and non-stick.
Several minutes later, it’s time for you to wrap it with plastic wrap and let the first fermentation take place. It takes about 8 to 10 hours to ferment at room temperature while about 24 hours to ferment if refrigerated. On top of that, take out the dough, divide the dough into 2 parts, and knead each into a ball. Place the rounded dough on a floured plate, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise a second time until it has doubled in size. Then you get a Neapolitan paste.
It is impossible for most of us to fly to San Marzano and grab a tomato from a vine and fly back to your place for making the source. So the most practical way is to buy a can. Sift the canned San Marzano tomatoes into puree. And then place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and salt. It can be stored for up to 3 days if refrigerated.
The slabs should be heated to 500 degrees Celsius in an oaken stone oven. Of course you don’t have that at home, so a regular oven will do. Instead of using a rolling pin, it should be directly pressed and stretched by hand to form an about 30cm diameter round cake. Sprinkle some rough corn flour on the pizza spatula, put the bread on, brush a layer of tomato sauce on the bread, leave 1.3-2cm on the edge. The most important is putting mozzarella on top of tomato sauce. Finally finish with a sprinkle of salt and olive oil. Bake in the oven for 1.5 minutes, then on high for 4 minutes. Turn over the pasta and continue baking for 4 to 5 minutes. All the data above can be regulated depending on the size of your expectation and your oven.
And here it is, an authentic Neapolitan pizza! To make it easier for you, here’s a video about how to make a Neapolitan pizza.
The most important point of making Neapolitan pizza lies on mozzarella, tomatoes, handcrafted process and oaken stone oven. If that’s not possible, do the next best thing. Here are some pizza ovens might give you ideas. Wish you success!
Digital Pizza and Multipurpose Oven, 3" x 13" Opening
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