Pizza Romana

La pizza Romana

Ok, this is one of those neverending Italian food battles: to onion or not to onion the carbonara sauce?  Is tiramisu from Veneto or from Friuli region? What is better, Pizza romana or Pizza Napolitana?

Skip my blah blah and go to the recipe.

The pizza romana is much thinner and crispy than the napolitan one, that’s why it is often called scrocchiarella (from the sound “crock”). We cooked the scrocchiarella a little longer than the napolitana to completely dry out the dough tough the result differs from the Chicago thin-crust. The pizza romana presents indeed the typical crumb of a long proofing dough.

My recipe merges my experience of  making baguettes with the recipes of Gabriele Bonci (who just opened a restaurant in Chicago and I need to try it!!), Renato Bosco and the modernist cusine.

The flour I used is an organic unbleached all purpose white flour. I recently found a very good Great River flour at Cotsco but in the past I used a much easier to find King Arthur white flour with success (maybe it requires a little bit of more water).

The poolish is not mandatory, if you do not have a sourdough ready in your fridge you can substitute with 40g of water, 40g of flour and 1g of dry yeast (or 4g of fresh). The result will be basically the same but you could not say to your friends that you did a sourdough pizza!!

The gluten is also not mandatory, but it will increase the strength of your dough.

If you look at the ingredients you’re probably thinking: “what? an Italian guy suggesting to use corn oil?” I actually realized that using vegetable oil other than olive oil, gives you a crunchier crust, it is not part of the original recipe, but it works.

I always suggest to manually mix the ingredients. If you’re lazy like me though, you can use the electric mixer by setting to minimum speed and avoiding over-beating the dough.

Ingredients for the dough:

The quantity I indicate below is for a half sheet pan or 2 round pizzas. The rule of thumb is: 0.5g of raw dough for a square centimeter of pizza.

  • 280g white flour
  • 80g Semolina flour
  • 210g filtered warm tap water
  • [option, see above] 80g refreshed poolish
  • 7g salt
  • 2g dry yeast or 7g fresh yeast
  • [Option] 2g gluten
  • 15g corn oil

[Optional] Refresh the poolish by combining one third of ripe sourdough, one third of flour and one third of water. Let it rest in a warm place for at least one hour.

Combine the yeast with 20g of water, stir and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Set other 20g of water aside.

Mix the flour with the semolina and the gluten. Add the yeast and the poolish to the mix. Continue to mix and add the water little by little, waiting the dough to absorb before adding more. Once the flour absorbs all the water, make a ball. It should be soft, moist but not too sticky.

Dissolve the salt on the 20g of water, make a dent in the ball and pour the water in. Cover with a plastic film and set aside.

After 20 minutes the water should be almost completely absorbed. Manually mix the ball of dough to absorb the remaining water and add the oil ensuring to properly distribute on all the dough. Stretch and fold the dough about 7-10 times. Set aside for other 20 minutes, then repeat the stretch and folding action. Brush some oil in the inside of a bowl, place in the dough and put in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Homemade Pizza dough


Pull the pizza out from the fridge, turn the oven at maximum temperature with the pizza stone (or whatever fancy material you use) in. Let preheat the oven at least one hour, meantime prepare your ingredients.

Flour the bench with semolina flour, stretch the dough with your hands ensuring not to stick it to the bench by adding some semolina flour in between. Place the pizza directly on a pan and in the oven without the ingredients.

Cook for 5-6 minutes until light brown. You should have the crust bubbling everywhere.

Remove from the oven, add the ingredients you want to cook (tomato sauce, mozzarella…) and bake for 5 more minutes.

Pizza Romana Crust

Add the fresh ingredients and enjoy while it is still warm!

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