A picture of pizza pinsa

Pizza Pinsa – Characteristics, History, and General Preparation

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What is pizza pinsa, 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 pinsa

General Background and Characteristics

I debated whether to include the Pinsa in this list, but since it’s a relatively new style of pizza that’s recently gaining popularity, it’s probably worth mentioning.

Pinsa (also known as Pinsa Romana) is (also) a type of Roman pizza. The name “pinsa” comes from the Latin word meaning “to press” or “to pinch”, which describes the action used in preparing (stretching) the pinsa.

The pinsa is essentially a pizza Pala and is almost identical to it. According to the Romans, the original Pinsa recipe has been around for over 2000 years, but its “rebirth” took place in 2016 by the Di Marco family, an old Roman family of bakers. The Di Marco family also founded the “Official Pinsa Pizza Organization” and registered Pinsa as a trademark in an interesting attempt to emulate the regulations surrounding Neapolitan pizza (the AVPN organization).

Similar to Neapolitan pizza, in order for a Pinsa to be “authentic,” one must follow specific preparation instructions published on the organization’s website (currently only available in Italian). Similarly, pizzerias that want to use the name “Pizza Pinsa” must pass tests and be registered with the official organization; otherwise, they can only use the name “Pala Romana” (as the name “Pinsa” is a registered trademark).

So what differentiates the Pinsa from the Pala? Mainly, it’s the unique flour mixture sold exclusively by the Di Marco family: a mixture of wheat flour, soy flour, rice flour, and dried sourdough. If this specific mixture is not used, then it is not an “authentic” pizza pinsa. Additionally, the dough preparation and baking process have slight differences (see the preparation section below).

Today, the Pinsa is gaining popularity in Italy and abroad, with over 7000 “Pinsaiolos” officially trained by the official Pinsa organization and the Di Marco family.

Eating Characteristics of Pizza Pinsa

The eating characteristics of the Pinsa are very similar to those of the Pala. The small amounts of rice and soy flour give it a slightly different texture and taste. In my opinion, the dried sourdough does not contribute much (if at all) to the flavor.

Preparation of Pizza Pinsa

As mentioned, Pinsa has precise preparation instructions published by the official Pinsa organization:

The flour used must be the original Di Marco family flour mixture. However, a combination of 8% rice flour and 2% soy flour can also be used (based on the total amount of flour in the dough formula).
The dough hydration should be exactly 80%, with 1.5-2% salt and 1-1.5% olive oil.
The size of the dough balls should range from 130-250 grams, and the dough should be fermented for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 96 hours.

Similar to the Pala, the dough should be stretched by patting it with the fingertips to create air pockets.

The Pinsa should be par-baked for approximately 5 minutes in total at around 300C/570F. The toppings should be added during the last few minutes of baking, or post-bake.

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