Yeast used to be indispensable for the perfect pizza dough. The single-celled organism feeds on sugar, produces carbon dioxide and is therefore responsible for the typically light, airy dough. Italian pizzaioli usually leave the yeast dough to rise for at least a day before shaping it into a pizza.
You can do without
There is good news for people with yeast allergies. Although there are pizza recipes without yeast that use baking powder or provide a certain airiness with natural yogurt, these tricks do not taste quite like the original. Although traditional Neapolitan pizza can also be made with sourdough, which is safer for most allergy sufferers, it also contains a type of yeast.
Scientists from the Federico II University in Naples have now published a groundbreaking paper on the subject. You want to have the perfect pizza dough made under laboratory conditions – without any yeast.
The team, which includes a professional pizza maker, prepared the dough by mixing water, flour and salt and placing it in a hot autoclave, an industrial device that controls temperature and pressure.
Carbonated to the perfect dough
From there, the process is similar to how carbonation is made in lemonade. The gas is dissolved in the dough under high pressure, and when the pressure is released during baking, bubbles form in the dough.
“The key to this process is to design the rate of pressure release so as not to stress the dough, which likes to stretch gently,” according to author Ernesto Di Maio.
After many experiments with small samples of dough, the researchers finally reached a satisfactory result, which they published in the journal Physics of Fluids. However, the process is not yet suitable for the production of yeast-free pizzas in large quantities. In a next step, the researchers want to acquire a larger autoclave to test the production of whole pizzas.
Two more years of patience
Di Maio expects to have the technology developed enough to sell it to food producers in two years, if everything works as intended. Until then, pizza fans with yeast allergies will have to be patient. Because you cannot try the method at home without the necessary equipment.