Wood-Burning Oven Pizza

2006.Nov.09 Thursday · 2 comments

in Restaurants

“There are strict rules govern every aspect of pizza making. The dough must be mixed from double-zero grade flour, fresh yeast and water only. … After mixing and rising, it must be shaped only by hand.

Toppings are also regulated–tomatoes should be the San Marzano variety, from a small town near Naples, and cheese must be mozzarella di bufala, made from water buffalo milk. To call a pizza “Margherita,” only tomatoes, mozzarella, grated Parmesan and olive oil can be used, while “Marinara” is tomato, olive oil, oregano and garlic. However, the rules state, “All types of pizza are agreeable to basil leaves.” Variations beyond the standard Neapolitan types are allowed. … However, they must be informed by the Neapolitan tradition and also not be “in contrast with the rules of gastronomy.”

The pizza must be cooked in a wood-burning brick oven. No coal, no electricity, no gas. The wood gives an organic flavor and also allows sparks and flames (sometimes induced by throwing small pieces of wood or flour on the fire) to leap up and char the edges of the crust.

– Carla Ranicki , Forbes

Buenos Aires – It’s strange, just a few days ago I was chatting with a friend about the various types of pizza here – something we all do a fair amount of. There are the deep dish pan pizza types, there are the medium thick al molde and a la piedra types, and their are the increasingly popular cracker thin a la parrilla sort. But, we both lamented the fact that a real, wood-fired oven, thin crust, neapolitan pizza, is not something we’d come by yet.

Bakano - neapolitan style pizzaA day later, I was walking down a nearby side street and stopped to look at a menu posted outside a local pizzeria. Reading it, I noted some interesting combinations, but nothing all that out of the ordinary. Then I happened to glance in the window and see at the back of the room a roaring wood fire in a big cylindrical brick oven. Thin crust pies were being slid in and out, right into the fire. I watched as they pizza maker deftly moved them about, turning them here and there. Within 2-3 minutes each pie was back out of the oven, smoking hot, and cooked – just the way it ought to be in an oven that probably tops the 700°F mark. I grabbed a table and sat. I ordered. My pizza arrived in just a few minutes. Is it a perfect Neapolitan style pizza? No, but it’s damned close.

Bakano, Agüero 1669, Barrio Norte, 4825-8292. A shame that despite only being 9 blocks from my house they don’t deliver to here. Maybe it’s because rather than the usual motorscooters, Bakano delivery folk are racing out the door on inline skates… still, 9 blocks doesn’t seem all that far. [Edit: somewhere along the line they figured it out and started delivering this way. Yay!]

[We’re having a bit of a Fibertel Argentina slowdown here in connections, enough that I can’t get photographs uploaded right now, so I’ll keep posting and come back and add photos to the various posts as I can get them online.]


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