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Peppe Miele, Part 6, Margherita Pizza

Welcome back to our “Master Class” series from Peppe Miele. In each of these segments we’ve learned another golden nugget of pizza wisdom and this one is no exception. For instance, he mentions (so quickly that I almost missed it) that the”official” Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) Margherita Pizza is supposed to use a sprinkle of only Pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese, even though most places (even his) now use mostly Parmesan. As Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that.”

Another thing that I noticed in Peppe’s method is that he lifts his dough and tosses it back and forth a few times to stretch it out. There is some controversy among the cognoscenti as to whether the dough should, instead, simply be turned on the floured counter and never lifted. In our travels we’ve seen it done both ways and I think that decision may depend on how wet the dough is at each place or simply, how the pizzaiolo has been taught.  Peppe’s method is similar to what I’ve seen Chris Bianco do, but very different from Tony Gemignani’s technique, which you can see in his Margherita webisodes in our archive (see page 3 of Webisodes section for an interesting compare and contrast).

The other take-away from this segment with Peppe is his explanation of how to eat a pizza from the inside out. I’ll say no more here — you have to hear this for yourself. Needless to say, some of you will tell your friends and family, “See, I knew I was doing it right all along!” while many of you, like me, will go all Johnny Carson on it and then, probably, try it the next time you get a wood-fired Napoletana Pizza. But, as Peppe clearly says in this webisode, “Hey, it’s your pizza — we’re not going to tell you how to eat it.”

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