Alchemy & Pizza Dough

Alchemy is defined as “any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value”.

I have mentioned this before. Because it matters.

Consider alchemy in the kitchen. Consider pizza.

I can’t think of a more humble food or a better example of the Italian ‘cucina povera’ – literally meaning ‘poor kitchen.’ With only flour, yeast, salt, olive oil & water for the dough, and an astonishingly small amount of cheese/meat and/or vegetables to dress it with….. and, presto – you have one of the world’s most imitated, popular and accessible foods.

In my quest for making true Italian thin crust pizza at home, I came across a standard recipe for dough, I believe it was Biba Caggiano’s, that said for a true Neapolitan crust, leave out the olive oil. I had to try it…

It started off all shaggy and scraggly….

Then with a few minutes kneading…

And a few minutes more…


With enough dough for two, I rolled one out as thinly as I could, topping it with tomato sauce & bocconcini…. (and a teeny, tiny bit of basil I had…after baking, of course)

And the other with tomato sauce, pancetta, bocconcini…. and a sprinkling of Parmigiano after baking.

Am most happy with the results of my kitchen magic and my pizza stone. I not only have deliciously crispy & tasty pizza, for a brief moment I’m wandering through a piazza in Florence… or Rome… wondering where to go next for gelato…!

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