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Pizza Glossary: Definitions of Pizza Terms

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Pizza Glossary: Definitions of Pizza Terms
Devorah Lev-Tov.

Use this glossary to learn the definitions of all the pizza words and terms you'll ever need.

bread flour

A high-gluten flour that produces better-quality results when used in yeasted breads and crusts.

buffalo mozzarella

A fresh mozzarella produced from the milk of water buffaloes, usually in Italy. It’s considered the ultimate cheese for pizza because of its creaminess and subtle flavor. Also known as mozzarella di bufala.

California style pizza

A very thin-crust pizza topped with unusual or gourmet toppings. Popularized by Wolfgang Puck.

calzone

Pizza dough that has been folded over to encase sauce, cheese, and toppings to create a half-moon-shaped turnover that is then baked in an oven. Some variations on the calzone include stromboli, panzarotti, and “pizza turnover.”

char

Blackened spots on the crust of a thin crust pizza that occur when an extremely high-temperature oven is used, this is a often a trademark of coal-oven New York style pizza and Neapolitan brick-oven pizza.

Chicago style pizza

A deep-dish pizza made in a high-sided pan. The crust is coated with oil and ingredients are sometimes layered inside. Sometimes called “pan pizza” or “deep-dish pizza.” Originated by the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago.

cornicione

The edge or lip of a pizza.

crumb

The structure of the inside of a baked pizza crust or bread.

deep-dish pizza

See Chicago style pizza.

deep-fried pizza

Pizza whose dough is fried in hot oil before being topped with sauce and cheese and then baked in an oven. Called “pizza fritta” in Italy and “Montanara pizza” in New York and other U.S. cities.

DOC

Stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllate. In 1955, Italy passed laws to protect the names, origins, and traits of several of its trademark wines and foods. The laws guarantee that food items someone buys marked “DOC” came from only the regions in Italy designated as official producers of the item and that it was made according to stringent principles concerning ingredients, process, etc. So, for example, if a mozzarella is marked “DOC” then you know it’s authentic.

dough hook

An attachment for a stand mixer that can be used to stir and knead doughs and heavy batters, instead of kneading by hand.

fior di latte

Literally means "Flower of the milk" in Italian. As opposed to buffalo mozzarella, which is made from buffalo’s milk, fior di latte is fresh mozzarella made from cow's milk.

grandma pizza

A thin-crust, square pizza, sometimes layering sauce on top of the cheese.

high-gluten flour

flour with a very high protein content, in relation to every other type of flour (usually about 13% – 14% gluten). Tipo “00” flour and bread flour have a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour and create a better dough for pizza.

knead

The process of turning and working dough to develop elasticity and flexibility.

Margherita

The classic Neapolitan pizza, consisting of crust, pureed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. It was created in 1889 by Rafaelle Esposito in honor of Italy's Queen Margherita, who visited Naples and was interested in the flatbreads being eaten by the city’s peasants. Esposito wanted the pizza to have the colors of the Italian flag—red, green, and white.

marinara

A classic Neapolitan pizza that consists of pureed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and sometimes anchovies. There is no cheese on a marinara pizza.

Montanara pizza

See deep-fried pizza.

Neapolitan pizza

A thin- to medium-crust pie made from hand-stretched dough and topped with a simple sauce of uncooked pureed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Authentic versions are verified by the VPN. Comes from Naples, Italy.

New York style pizza

A thin-crust pizza made from hand-stretched dough that is topped with a cooked sauce made from pureed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and oregano, mozzarella cheese, and any variety of meat and vegetable toppings.

pan pizza

Thick-crust pizza baked in a shallow pan. See also Chicago style pizza.

pizza Bianca

Literally means “white pizza.” It is Roman flatbread pizza without tomato sauce, flavored with salt and olive oil.

pizza peel

A large wooden paddle used to lift pizza to and from a hot oven. It is helpful when baking pizza directly on stones, a brick oven, or a grill. Also called a pizza paddle.

pizza stone

A hard, heat-safe surface for baking pizzas. Pizza stones can be made from actual polished stones or from manmade materials. They imitate the effect of a brick or stone oven and facilitate home cooks in creating crisp-crusted breads and pizzas.

San Marzano tomatoes

Plum tomatoes that are grown in the volcanic soil of San Marzano, Italy. They are ideal for use in pizza sauce due to their low sugar content and juicy flesh.

screen

A firm aluminum shallow pan with a mesh structure that can be used to bake or cool a pizza on.

Sicilian pizza

Thick-crust, often square-shaped pizza topped with sauce, meats, vegetables, and cheeses — in that order. However, Sicily's indigenous pizza is a simple, thick bread topped with tomato sauce, oil, herbs, and anchovies.

Tipo "00" flour

The finest ground flour in Italy, with a high-gluten content. It’s used to make Neapolitan pies and is a required ingredient in any pizza designated as VPN.

VPN

Stands for Vera Pizza Napoletana, which is a designation awarded by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association of Italy that guarantees that member pizzerias make their pizzas according to strict Neapolitan standards. Restaurants must use specific ingredients, such as Tipo “00” flour and buffalo mozzarella, and preparation methods (no rolling pins are allowed to be used on the dough; it can only be hand-stretched), and cook the pizzas in a wood-fired oven. The pie also needs to meet size and thickness requirements.

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