You’ve probably heard of pizza from New York and Chicago, but what about pizza from New Haven? The letter “a” at the beginning of the word “a pizza” is not the only thing different about pizza from New Haven, Connecticut.
It’s a pizza, pronounced “ah-beetz.” The name “a pizza” is a nod to the dialect of the Neapolitan immigrants who first brought pizza to the region. It’s one of the many ways New Haven-style pizza stays close to its roots, along with the chewy crust, minimalistic tomato sauce, and lighter touch of cheese.
What is Apizza?
How is Apizza Crust Different from Regular Pizza?
The crust is probably the main thing that sets a pizza apart from other kinds. The key to making New Haven a pizza is to use a high-gluten bromated flour with a hydration factor close to 70%. This means that the weight of the water added to the flour is about 70% of the weight of the flour itself.
Adding that much water to the dough gets very wet, making it sticky and hard to work with. When the dough is this sticky, it’s almost impossible to knead it. This means that almost all gluten must be made by fermentation, which is where the bromated flour comes in. As an oxidant, potassium bromate is added to flour, which helps the glutens in the flour to grow. (The bromate burns off when the oven gets hot enough to bake.)
Because the dough needs to ferment for so long, it also tastes much better than regular pizza dough because it has a much deeper flavor. The high amount of water also makes the crust bubbly, like a thin, crispy, airy kind of bread like ciabatta. Because the dough is so sticky, it doesn’t easily roll into balls. Instead, it is gently shaped into shaggy mounds. These mounds are always stretched out by hand with the help of a lot of bench flour. They are never tossed, so each pie has an oblong shape instead of a perfect circle.
Lastly, a pizza is cooked quickly in a coal-fired brick oven at temperatures between 650 and 725 F. This gives the crust it is signature charred and bubbly look. Even though this dough is very wet, it can’t be piled high with toppings like a normal pizza can. Most pizza can have up to three toppings, but adding more will change how the crust bakes.
(Note that traditional Neapolitan pizza is cooked for as little as 90 seconds in even hotter ovens.) Unlike a classic New York pizza, where the edges of the slices fall, New Haven pizza is so crisp and chewy that the edges of the slices don’t fall at all.
How Else is Apizza Different from Regular Pizza?
- Another big difference is that, unlike regular pizza, a pizza usually doesn’t have a layer of red sauce or shredded mozzarella cheese on the crust. A plain pie has tomato sauce, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and Mozzarella, which people in the area call “Mootz,” is a topping and must be ordered.
- Ricotta cheese, pepperoni, salami, capicola, peppers, olives, anchovies, basil, and arugula are other toppings.
- The white pie has olive oil, garlic, Mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, and Parmesan cheese on top, but no red sauce. Fresh tomatoes are often added to the white pie, though.
- The white clam pie is another interesting variation. It’s the white pie with chopped littleneck clams on top. This white clam pie is a well-known dish in New Haven.
Where can you Eat Apizza?
For the most traditional pizza, you must go to New Haven, specifically Wooster Street, where Frank Pepe’s, Sally’s Apizza, and Modern Apizza have been serving traditional New Haven pizza for generations.
The ovens at Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s still use coal, but the ovens at Modern use oil. Other places in New Haven bake their pizzas in gas or wood-fired ovens.
One thing you should get ready for, though, is the wait. Most places in New Haven that serve traditional pizza have lines that go out the door, especially at dinner. But like many things in the food world, some things are worth waiting for.
What is the Best Flour for Making Pizza Dough?
The wheat flour you use when making pizza dough at home may not seem like a big deal, but it is. When making pizza dough, we want the crust to be chewy, but the choice of flour depends on what kind of crust you want, whether it’s a thin New York-style crust, a chewy Neapolitan-style crust, or a deep-dish pie.
It’s important to know the differences between all-purpose flour, bread flour, pastry flour, and cake flour when deciding which flour is best for you and your pizza. When stretched into a circle, each type of flour will behave differently, and some types are better for certain kinds of crust.
Understanding Gluten Content
Depending on how much gluten they have, flours have different textures. For example, cake and pastry flours are fine and soft, almost like silk. Bread flour, on the other hand, is a bit more coarse. Bread flour has a high gluten content (12 to 14 percent), which makes it a “hard” or “strong” flour. Cake and pastry flour have a very low gluten content (8 to 10 percent), making them “soft.” All-purpose flour mixes “hard” and “soft” flours and has 10 to 12 percent gluten.
Gluten is a protein that makes the dough stretchy when mixed with water. It makes bread chewy and springy, so the more gluten there is in the flour, the chewier the bread will be. This is why cake and pastry flours are used in delicate baked goods, and no one wants to eat a chewy cake.
All-purpose flour can be used for almost anything, just like it sounds. It will taste good in most pizza dough recipes, but it may be harder to roll out because it tears more easily. All-purpose flour works well for Sicilian and deep-dish pizza crusts, and it also works well for thin-crust, New York-style, and Neapolitan pizzas. Your average supermarket brand is adequate, but many swear by King Arthur Flour.
This is what most people use to bake pizza at home. It’s easy to find in grocery stores (again, King Arthur Flour is a popular brand), cheap and gives thin-crust and New York-style pizzas more flavor and crunch. It will make the outside of your crust crispy and the inside chewy and textured.
Bread flour won’t tear when you stretch it out, but because it has a lot of gluten, it can be hard to shape into the shape you want. Find King Arthur Flour’s Sir Lancelot High-Gluten Flour, which has 14 percent gluten if you want even more gluten. It is sold on the website for King Arthur Flour.
Caputo Tipo ’00’ Flour
Find the more expensive Caputo Tipo “00” flour if you want to make Neapolitan-style pizza in the middle and puffs up around the edges. The “00” refers to how finely ground the flour is: Tipo “00” is the finest grind, Tipo “0” is in the middle, and Tipo “1” is the roughest. With this fine grind and 12.5 percent gluten, the crust is chewy but not rubbery, with just the right amount of puff on the edges that get charred in some places in the oven.
You can find Caputo flour in Italian grocery stores, stores that sell only Italian food, or online. You can also try King Arthur Flour’s Italian-Style Flour, which is the “American copy of Italian 00” flour and is available on King Arthur Flour’s website. Be aware that if your oven doesn’t do well with temperatures over 500 F, the Caputo Tipo “00” flour might not brown and char enough for a good Neapolitan-style pizza, so it’s probably not worth the high price.
What is a Pizza Peel?
A pizza peel is a tool that looks like a shovel or spatula and is used by bakers to move pizza into the oven, turn it, and back to the counter. A pizza peel has a handle and a round or square board, which is a flat surface for carrying pizza and other baked goods (like the blade of a shovel). Some pizza peels can cut food, store it, or serve it.
Pizza peels can be made of wood or metal, and there are also other kinds, but we’ll talk more about that in a bit.
Pizza peels come in several shapes and dimensions. Most of the time, the length of the handle is based on the depth of the furnace or pizza oven and the size of the pizza that will be made. But peels with long handles can’t hold a large pizza because the handle will bend. On the other hand, if the handle is too small, your fingers can get burned as you move the pizza around in the oven.
Do you Need a Pizza Peel at all?
Yes, for all practical purposes, you need a pizza peel. If you think making pizza should be easy, you need a good pizza peel. But you’ll be fine if you make pizza on a baking sheet instead of a pizza peel. On the other hand, a pizza peel seems like a must-have if you bake pizza on a traditional coal fire or with a stone or steel pizza.
To get a pizza into the oven, you can try different things. For instance, you can use parchment paper to turn pizza or take it out of the oven. But if you try to do that, you might end up burning your fingers. Even a baking tray can take the pizza out of the oven. But we don’t think that’s a good idea. Using a pizza peel to move around something as fragile as pizza is the easiest thing in the world, and there’s no reason to start from scratch.
Are you still not sure? I’ll tell you why you should always use a pizza peel to move pizzas in the oven:
Pizza Peel Helps with Pizza Placement.
You can put the pizza on a hot surface with a pizza peel, like a pizza stone.
Pizza Peel Help you Move Pizza to Get Even Heat.
It lets you move, turn, or rotate the pizza in the oven to get an even amount of heat. So, there is no chance of the surface being raw, half-baked, or overcooked.
Pizza Peel Ensures your and Dear Pizza’s Safety.
It makes making pizza a risk-free process. In the same way, it keeps your pizza’s toppings from getting messed up. So, it keeps the pizza’s original taste from falling apart.
Pizza Peel Affects the Quality of your Pizza.
There are different kinds of pizza peels based on what they are made of. Wooden and metal pizza peels are different in some ways, and using a different pizza peel can change how your pizza turns out.
Pizza Peel Saves your Time.
Lastly, using a pizza peel saves time and makes things easier. If you’ve been making pizza without a pizza peel but now use one, it won’t be long before you realize how much faster you’re making pizza.
Pizza is one of the most well-known foods in the whole world. It’s like a pie, but it doesn’t have edges. Italians have been calling it a pie for a very long time. Pizza is the most popular fast food in the world. We eat it at home, in restaurants, and even on the street. About 3 billion pizzas are sold in the US yearly, about 46 slices per person. Pizza, in one form or another, has been eaten by people for hundreds of years. Pieces of flatbread topped with savory foods have been a simple and tasty meal for people who can’t afford plates or have been on the go since ancient times.