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Pizza is the most and best known dish of Italian cuisine. It is a flatbread recipe made from dough, shaped free-form, square or perfectly round, and simply topped with just sauce and mozzarella or with any topping you choose. They are then typically baked together.
The essential characteristics of flatbreads are that they are baked very quickly, on a simple hot surface, such as a pizza stone. The heat is often very high; a pizza oven can run as high as 900 degrees F and the high temperatures develop a delicious toasted flavor across its extensive surface! This causes the air pockets in the dough to puff up rapidly by vaporizing steam, essentially leavening the dough. This rapid puffing and the dough's thinness, make them tender.
SARAH SAYS: Pizza is so popular, especially in my own home. In fact, when my four kids were young, they would have preferred to eat pizza every night for dinner! It's not a bad nutritional choice because it contains several items from the major food groups: bread, dairy and vegetables (tomatoes), plus any other toppings ranging from vegetables to optionally, sources of protein.
QUESTION: How can I clean my pizza stone?
SARAH SAYS: I have had my stone for a number of years and have found it to be practically maintenance free. With repeated use it will turn almost black and continues to work well!
I always let my stone cool down before cleaning it. For every day cleaning, I just wipe the stone, with a slightly damp cloth. This will remove all of the corn meal or flour that has stuck to the stone. If I have something baked on the stone, like cheese or a piece of dough, I will gently scrape all the residue I can get off with a metal spatula.
If I am unable to get it clean, I heat the stone in the oven which will burn off anything that has stuck to it. To do, place in a cold oven and then turn on the heat to 500 degrees F. Bake for an hour or more. Turn off the oven and let the stone cool in it. Gently scrape it or wipe down with a cloth.
Stromboli is a type of turnover filled with various cheeses, typically mozzarella, Italian meats such as salami, capicola and bresaola or vegetables, typically made with Italian bread dough, such as pizza dough.
Turkish pide is a version of flatbread or pizza. Every region in Turkey has its own version. The history of the pide is murky; some thought it originated in Ottoman times from a pide-like bread called tokalak, while others claim it was invented in the Twenties as a way of eking out ingredients in war-torn Turkey. Most agree that pide originated in the Samsun area, possibly in the town of Bafra, and that it could have been a simple flat-bread sprinkled with sesame seeds. It is believed that some 70 years ago, the pide evolved into a meat, vegetable, or cheese filled flatbread shaped like a boat, with its edges folded over. Often a pide can have an egg baked on top during the last few minutes, so the slices can be dunked in the runny egg yolk while eating.