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How to bake the perfect pizza?

Is it oak-burning wood-fired ovens? Or what you put in the dough? Or 1000-degree muscle ovens that crisp the pie in a minute and a half?

Nup. If you believe the message on this window here in Little Italy (Napizza, 1702 India Street, Little Italy, at Date), it comes down to how long you allow for your dough to rise.

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Seems bakers have started realizing that the longer you give that dough time to breathe, and the yeast to go forth and multiply, the more creamy and airy and thin you can make your crust. Because overnight the yeast is fermenting, releasing carbon dioxide that kinda inflates the dough.

And it has time to transform starches into sugars that deliver...flavor!

That makes the difference between a crust that’s just a platform for gunk piled on top, and one that you actually want to eat because it’s so danged tangy and interesting in itself.

Also, it looks better. No more prison-pallor crust. Now the cornicione, or edge, is gonna come out bronzed, golden brown, because now you’re working with caramelized sugars.

That’s the promise here, anyway. And they’re giving not just 24 or even 36 hours to let the dough rise, but 72 hours.

Three days!

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Napizza is being built out right now in what was Vincenzo’s Ristorante Italiano.

They also promise No. 00 quality organic flour, which is “soft,” finely ground, and often brought out from Italy. They also say they’re “seeking local organic ingredients,” and will have an “organic salad bar.”

You have to give them points for good intentions.

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Actually, there’s an irony in the message here. The window signs promise “pizza al taglio.” Guess I shoulda known what it meant. But I had to ask. It means “by the slice.” And back in Napoli, traditional homeland of the pizza, they think of those little squares (and they usually are cut square, not as segments of a circle) as the Italian equivalent of fast food.

Except this fast food will be made from slo-ow rise flour.

Word is a lady from Rome is behind this. Looking inside, it's maybe another month before opening.

Can’t wait.

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Comments

Ian Pike March 27, 2012 @ 5:05 p.m.

I've long maintained that less busy pizza places often have better crust due to sitting under refrigeration for extra time, sometimes for days.

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