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Pizza Tonda Romana – Characteristics, History, and General Preparation

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What is pizza tonda romana, 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 tonda romana

General Background and Characteristics

The Tonda Romana, also known as Scrocchiarella (which means “crispy” in English), is an Italian cracker-style pizza that can be considered the “antithesys” of Neapolitan pizza. It is a round and extremely thin pizza that is typically stretched with a rolling pin and cooked in a wood-fired oven at a high temperature for 3-4 minutes. The crust of the Tonda Romana is completely flat, very crispy, and slightly charred/burnt, while the center is crispy with a hint of chewiness. To prevent the pizza from becoming soggy, the toppings on the Tonda Romana are usually minimal.

It is important to note that unlike Neapolitan pizza, the Tonda Romana does not have a specific “recipe” or set of preparation guidelines, and its preparation can vary from place to place in Rome.

Roots and History of Tonda Romana

It is challenging to determine the exact origins of the Tonda Romana. Like other styles of pizza, it is believed to have evolved from flatbreads. According to popular belief, Roman pizza makers created it after World War II as a “rival” to Neapolitan pizza.

Today, the Tonda Romana holds a special place in Rome’s culinary culture and is extremely popular, alongside the Al Taglio. Typically, it is sold as a whole pizza for dine-in, similar to the Neapolitan style, rather than being commonly eaten “on the go” like the Al Taglio.

Outside of Rome, there are variations of the Tonda Romana, such as the Pizza Battuta found in the Veneto region.

Eating Characteristics of Tonda Romana

The Tonda Romana is a thin pizza with an incredibly crispy crust, featuring an outer edge bordering on being burnt/well-done. If you are a fan of thin and crispy pizzas, the Tonda Romana is a must-try.

Preparation of Tonda Romana

As mentioned, there is no standard recipe for Tonda Romana. However, in general, the dough is made with yeast, salt, no sugar, a small amount of olive oil (which helps stretch the dough and improve texture; it does NOT contribute to crispiness), and has a dough hydration of about 55%. Since the Tonda Romana is very thin, the size of the dough balls is accordingly small, about 180 grams for a standard 30cm/11in pizza.

The dough is fermented at room temperature for several hours, rolled out thinly with a rolling pin, and baked at a temperature of about 350C/660F for 3-4 minutes.

When it comes to toppings, it is important not to overload the Tonda Romana with too many toppings, especially those with a high moisture content – this can negatively affect the final result, leading to a soggy dough that loses its crispiness.

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