Giorgia Caporuscio, born and raised in Terracina, Italy, has been at the helm of the Neapolitan pizzeria Don Antonio (New York, USA) for a decade.
The 31-year-old pizzaiola told Business Insider that her favorite part of running the New York restaurant is any opportunity she gets to show people her trade . He said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, he used to teach classes for both adults and children, and it’s something he hopes to do again in the future.
For now, Caporuscio is helping from a distance sharing some tips with Business Insider. She said that, in general, there are 5 mistakes that she sees most frequently in home cooks trying to make pizza , and offered some solutions for better results.
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1. You can ruin the dough by adding the ingredients at the wrong time
Caporuscio says that theorder in which you combine the ingredientsmakes a big difference in the result of the pizza dough.
she always starts with the flour and yeast, in that order. “Then add water slowly,” continues Caporuscio. “After the water, add the salt“.
“Never add salt and yeast together“, warns the pizza professional, warning that “salt ‘kills’ the activation of yeast“, which means it won’t rise.
2. Don’t try to speed up the proof by pulling the fridge
Let the whole process happen at room temperature, he advises.
“You need patience,” says Caporuscio. “Wait for the dough to rest—it needs to go up and examine.” Letting the dough rest for about 24 hours (depending on the amount of yeast you use) will produce a better texture and greater digestibility, adds the expert.
3. Stop using regular flour to roll out the dough and use semolina flour instead
“If you use regular flour, the dough will absorb it and it will give it a different texture“, reveals Caporuscio.
She claims that it would essentially undo all the effort you put into waiting for the dough to rise and taste correctly.
“It will lose elasticity,” she adds. “If you can’t find semolina flour, cornmeal is also good, but it will add a little extra flavor“.
4. Let your oven heat up for at least 45 minutes at maximum temperature
According to Caporuscio, it is important to preheat the oven to the highest temperature allowed and it should be done for 45 to 50 minutes before you start cooking.
“Your pizza dough needs ‘the hit’ of high temperature to start rising,” he points out.
If the temperature is too low, your dough may not achieve that fluffy outer crustwhich is important when it comes to Neapolitan-style pizza.
5 . Use a cooking surface that conducts heat
“Get a pizza stone if you can,” says Caporuscio. She comments that this is a great way to ensure that the bottom of the pizza is cooked through and has the usual semi-tough, semi-delicate texture.
But if you don’t have a stone, that’s okay. Caporuscio advises that you canuse an upside-down baking sheet. The metal will heat up and cook the bottom of the dough similar to how stone would.
This article was published in Business Insider Spain by Cristina Fernández Esteban.