A picture of slices of pizza al taglio

Pizza al Taglio Romana – Characteristics, History, and General Preparation

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What is pizza al taglio, what are its defining characteristics and historical background, what can you expect when eating it, and how is it generally prepared? This post will provide you with all the details about pizza al taglio

General Background and Characteristics

The Al Taglio Romana, as its name suggests, originates from Rome. It is also known as Pizza in Teglia, which means “pizza in a pan”. This style of pizza is baked in a rectangular pan and then cut and served in squares or rectangles.

The name “Al Taglio” translates to “by the slice,” referring to how it is sold – either by slice or weight. Due to being baked in a pan and having a high dough hydration (up to 90%), the bottom of the pizza becomes crispy, while the center is very light and airy. In terms of thickness, it is relatively thick.

In Italy, Al Taglio is exclusively sold by the slice or weight as street food, perfect for eating on the go, and it offers a variety of toppings to choose from. Unlike many other pizza styles, Al Taglio is not made to order; Instead, it is prepared in advance and displayed at the counter for sale, similar to pastries in a bakery.

Roots and History of Pizza Al Taglio

Compared to other pizza styles we have discussed so far, the history of Al Taglio is relatively shorter and less well-known. Most stories about its origin revolve around a type of flatbread baked in a pan. After World War II, bakers began experimenting with this flatbread, aiming to create a healthier and more “easily digestible” product. Additionally, they wanted to develop a food suitable for people on the go, given the increasing industrialization of the city.

Pizzarium, a Roman pizzeria run by renowned pizzaiolo Gabriela Bonci (pronounced “Bahn-chi”), is considered a pioneer of modern Al Taglio. Bonci was one of the first to use high-quality ingredients and innovative toppings, contributing to the elevated culinary status of Al Taglio in Italy and beyond. Many pizzaiolos have since followed his uncompromising approach.

Nowadays, you can find Al Taglio available throughout Italy, with Rome being a particularly popular destination for it.

Eating Characteristics of Pizza Al Taglio

The Al Taglio is sliced into squares, with a (very) crispy bottom and a relatively thick yet light and airy crumb, making for a perfect combination of crispiness and softness. The Al Taglio is highly versatile – the dough can accommodate almost any combination of toppings, allowing individuals to find or create a personalized blend that suits their unique taste; Whether it’s a classic margherita or a bold fusion of flavors, the possibilities are endless.

Preparation of Pizza Al Taglio

Traditionally, the dough for Al Taglio pizza is made with flour, water, yeast, olive oil, and salt. It is important for the dough to have a hydration level of at least 75% and to use a strong flour.

The Al Taglio dough is stretched into the pan just before baking. Al Taglio is typically par-baked (depending on the chosen toppings) in a deck oven at around 300C/570F for about 10 minutes. Toppings that may dry out during baking, such as fresh leaves, certain cheeses, and meat, are added to the pizza after it is taken out of the oven (or during the final minutes of baking).

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