Glossary

Need the definition of an obscure pizza term we used on Slice? Here's a pizza glossary for you. If you have any words that you want defined, contact us.

"00" flour: Typically labeled as Tipo "00" on bags found in the U.S., double-zero refers to how finely ground the flour is. In Italy, there's 1, 0, and 00. Double-zero is used in making Neapolitan pies and is a required ingredient in any pizza designated VPN (Vera Pizza Napoletana).

8: The magic number here at Slice. Why? Eight slices make a pie. (Well, in most cases.)

apizza: What they call pizza in New Haven, Connecticut. As in Sally's Apizza. For the record, it's pronounced "ah-Beetz."

buffalo mozzarella: A fresh mozzarella made from the milk of water buffaloes. It's the original mozzarella and is highly prized as a pizza cheese because of its creaminess and delicate flavor. It's also rare that you'll find it used on pizza because very little is produced in the U.S. and is more often imported from Italy and South America. Also known as mozzarella di bufala.

coal oven: Just what you think it is. It's an oven fired by coal. The intense heat (usually around 800°F) that these things generate makes it possible to achieve a crisp crust with good oven spring. Pies cook so quickly in this heat that the crust doesn't have time to dry out, so it remains chewy and pliable. This crisp-chewy, pliable nature is a hallmark of New York–style pies. A byproduct of the process is a fine charring of the crust, which many pizza fans find pleasing. If you're new to coal-oven pizza, the pizzaiolo didn't burn your pie; it's supposed to be that way.

Coal ovens are intertwined with the history of pizza in New York City. When Italian-immigrant bakers came to the city, they traded in their traditional wood-burning ovens for coal-burners 'cause, hey, what trees you gonna chop for wood in the Big Apple? Actually, coal was probably easier to transport. After a while, these bakers started using up excess dough at the end of the day—and making a cheap working-class food in the process—by baking pizzas in the ovens in which they baked their bread. In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi, who owned a grocery at 53 1/2 Spring Street, obtained the city's—and the country's—first license to sell pizza. Lombardi's then acted as a veritable font of pizza know-how in New York, as many of the legendary pizzamen learned the trade under Lombardi.

cornicione: The edge or lip of a pizza. This is what most Americans refer to as the "crust." While this might work for casual conversation, we have to be a little more technical at Slice, as we typically use crust to refer to the entire bread component of a pie. On Slice, we sometimes call the cornicione the "end crust."

DOC: Denominazione di Origine Controllate. In 1955, Italy passed laws to protect the names, origins, and traits of several of its signature wines and foods. The laws guarantee that, say, the Parmigiano-Reggiano you're buying marked "DOC" came from only the regions in Italy designated as official producers of the cheese and that it was made according to strict standards regarding ingredients, aging, etc.

DOP: Denominazione di Origine Protteta. Like DOC, above, but guaranteed by the European Union.

end crust: See cornichone.

Di Fara Pizza: A now-legendary Brooklyn pizzeria helmed by Dominico "Dom" DeMarco. DeMarco has been making pizza there for more than 40 years. [All Slice entries on Di Fara]

fior di latte: "Flower of the milk" in Italian. A fresh cow's-milk mozzarella. According to Italian law, fior di latte is technically not mozzarella; that appellation is reserved for cheese made from the milk of water buffaloes. Nonetheless, it's typically known as mozzarella. (See buffalo mozzarella.)

grandma pizza: Essentially a thin-crust Sicilian pie.

hole structure: The network of air bubbles in a bread dough. The term is usually used when describing a baked dough or, in our case, pizza crust. The hole structure allows for puffiness in the crust.

Margherita: The classic Neapolitan pizza. Just crust, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Legend has it that Rafaelle Esposito concocted it in honor of Italy's Queen Margherita, who visited Naples in 1889 with her husband, King Umberto I. The queen was curious about the flatbreads being consumed by Neapolitan peasants, and, in a show of patriotism, Esposito crafted a pie that included the colors of the Italian flag—red, green, and white.

marinara: Another classic Neapolitan pizza (also called a Napoletana), it's a cheeseless pie that includes tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and oregano. Anchovies are often found on marinara pies, as well.

mozzarella di bufala: See buffalo mozzarella

mutz: Mozzarella. It's how they say it in New Haven, Connecticut, and in some pizzerias in New York City.

oven spring: The rapid increase in the volume of a bread (in this case, pizza crust) during the first few minutes of baking. It occurs when the yeast hits a hot oven and gives its last gasp, puffing up the crust.

pizza bianca: Roman flatbread pizzas. They're flavored with some salt and olive oil and nothing more.

pizzaiola: The Italian word for a female pizza chef. Plural: pizzaiole

pizzaiolo: The Italian word for a male pizza chef. Plural: pizzaioli

San Marzano tomatoes: Plum tomatoes grown in the volcanic soil of San Marzano, Italy. Their low sugar content and thick, juicy flesh makes them ideal for use in pizza sauces.

square: Another name for a Sicilian slice. Usage: "Yeah, lemme get two squares and a canna Coke."

Sicilian: A rectangular, thick-crust pizza often found alongside the thin-crust round pies served at most New York pizzerias. Sicilian slices, often called "squares," typically feature the sauce applied over the cheese.

VPN: Vera Pizza Napoletana. It's a designation awarded by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association and guarantees that member pizzerias make their pies according to strict Neapolitan standards. To qualify, pizzerias must use specific ingredients and preparation methods, cook the pies in a wood-fired oven, and produce a finished product whose size and thickness are within the parameters defined the association.

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