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Pizza Pala – Characteristics, History, and General Preparation

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What is pizza pala, 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 pala

General Background and Characteristics

The Pala, also originating from Rome, is a rectangular pizza that is thick and airy, similar to focaccia or pizza Al Taglio. However, unlike these two styles, the Pala is baked directly on the baking surface without a pan. The name “alla Pala” comes from the tool used to place it in the oven – a long wooden pizza peel resembling a paddle, known as a pala (which translates to “paddle”).

Similar to the Al Taglio, the Pala has a high dough hydration (at least 70%). It is shaped just before baking and transferred to the oven using a pala (instead of being baked in a pan like Al Taglio).

In general, the Pala can be made from the same dough as Al Taglio, with the main difference being the way it is stretched and baked. The Pala is baked at a higher temperature (around 350C/660F) for a shorter time, and depending on the toppings and preferences, it can be par-baked. The result is a soft and airy pizza with a very crispy crust on both the bottom and top. Just like with Al Taglio, you can get creative with the toppings. The Pala also works great as bread for sandwiches.

Roots and History of Pizza Pala

Similar to Al Taglio and Tonda Romana, there is no consensus regarding the origin of the Pala. The general agreement is that it was first created in the province of Lazio (whose capital is Rome). It is believed to have resulted from attempts to create a unique and slightly different style of pizza.

Eating Characteristics of Pizza Pala

Thick, yet light and airy dough with a crispy crust that offers a satisfying bite and a perfect contrast – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Preparation of Pizza Pala

The dough of the Pala is very similar to the Al Taglio dough, with a high dough hydration of at least 70%. Before baking, the dough is shaped into a rectangle by gently patting it with the finger tips. It is then placed in the oven using a long wooden pizza peel and baked at 350C/660F for 5~ minutes.

When it comes to toppings, like the Al Taglio, you have the freedom to get creative or stick to traditional options: a sprinkle olive oil and grated pecorino cheese, along with oregano and black pepper on top.

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