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June 19, 2019

NPR: Naples Rolls Out A Fine-Tuned Dough, And The New 'Cloud Pizza' Is Born.

"The new flour is called Nuvola (Italian for "cloud"). To harvest it, the combines aren't sent into fields until rainy season, late in the game, so the grains are very mature and rustic, almost aged. Antimo Caputo, the third-generation CEO of the flour producer, likens it to passito, a raisin wine. The chemical effect, he said, is that the grain is higher in fiber, with more bran, minerals, germ, protein and amylase, a sugar enzyme that allows a crème brûlée sense of character, deeply charred but not bitter.

"Broadly, the maturation enables faster natural fermentation, although the dough needs roughly 24 hours of proofing (mass-market pizza companies, like Domino's, turbo-boost their fermentation for same-day results with added sugar, an accelerant for yeast.) A lactic acid buildup in Nuvola's natural fermentation process gives the end product some creaminess. It notably has no need for potassium bromate, a carcinogen that is used in the U.S. but is banned in Canada, China, the European Union and many other nations (it is regulated in California).

"And, whereas most pizza doughs have a hydration point of 62, Nuvola's higher concentration of soluble starch allows for a wider hydration range, as high as 100, creating a charred, crispier, puffier, lighter crust that is melty, more digestible and yields a more bouncy, chewy cornicione (pizza-speak for the pie's raised rim)."

I've not tried Caputo's Nuvola flour yet, but I'm eager to get my hands on it to see what the fuss is about.

I gave up on Caputo years ago, as the quality of their flour didn't seem to be as good as domestic producers. I'm not the only one either- I've heard of other pizza restraunts and makers dropping it and going with other brands.

And you don't need Nuvola to get big puffy crusts. Anthony Mangieri has been doing this for years. All you need is good flour, practice, and leaving enough room on the edges for the dough to expand. It's fun to do and makes a pretty pizza, but it's also a lot of wasted space that could be used for toppings.

Thanks to Vincent Angeloni for the link.