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Pizza Parma (pizza with Parma ham, rocket and Parmesan)

Pizza (pronunciation [ ˈpɪtsa ], Italian. [ ˈPitsa ], plural the pizzas or the pizzas ) is a flatbread made from simple yeast dough from the Italian cuisine and is spicy before baking . Today's internationally widespread variant with tomato sauce and cheese as a base probably comes from Naples . In 2017, the Neapolitan Art of the Pizza Maker ( Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' ) was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity .


The etymology of the word pizza has not been conclusively clarified. The following traces were followed:

  • The word comes from the Lombard pizzo or bizzo , which corresponds to the German bite , cf. also snack . This derivation is now assumed to be correct by the Dizionario etimologico della lingua italiana of 1979/1988 (reprint 1999).
  • The word comes from the more recent Oriental-Semitic area (e.g. Arabic ) and from there immigrated to Greek as pita and from there it was borrowed into Italian.
  • The word is even older and is related to the Hebrew word פַת pat (piece of bread; Bibl. Still chunks) or even Middle Egypt. bjt ( flatbread ).
  • It is based on the Italian pitta ( Latin picta) , which is probably based on the Greek pēktos (πηκτός; solid, coagulated).
  • The word comes from another Italian word, e.g. B.
    • of pestare, "to crush", as with pesto , cf. Latin pista "stamped, pushed", pistor "baker, miller".
    • from pinza, a dialect word that still occurs in some Italian dialects and is derived from the Latin pinsere (pound). In Middle Latin , the verb was used to mean "to bake". See also pinza in Italian and pinsa in Venetian .
    • Derived from the Neapolitan piceà or pizzà for “plucking”, compare Calabrian pitta and Middle Latin pecia (“piece”, “part”, “shred”).


Pizzas in the traditional stone oven with a wood fire

18th century

Sign in front of the Brandi restaurant in Naples

The pizza, only sprinkled with olive oil and topped with tomato slices and oregano or basil , has been documented since around the middle of the 18th century, when the tomato became popular in southern Italy . The name is probably older - the Apulian pizza pugliese or the Calabrian pitta inchiusa, for example, only contain ingredients that have been known since ancient times, such as olive oil, onions , salt and lard , in addition to yeast dough . The Ligurian focaccia -like flatbreads are common since ancient times. Since pizza was supposed to be baked at a very high temperature , which was not possible in very few households, it was initially prepared and brought to the local bakery unbaked until a special branch of the pizza maker, the pizzaiolo , emerged, who made and topped the dough himself.

“Pizza Margherita” / 19th century

A pizza that meets today's expectations is said to have been made for the first time in Naples on June 11, 1889 by pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito from Pizzeria Brandi, who is said to have been commissioned to serve a pizza to King Umberto I and his wife Margherita . He is said to have patriotically topped these with ingredients in the Italian national colors: green basil, white mozzarella and red tomatoes. This is still today under the name "Pizza Margherita" one of the best known and most widespread, if not the most widespread pizza variant.

However, the legend has now been refuted by historians. The queen had other pizza makers bring pizza to the palace beforehand. In 1880 a newspaper article also appeared in the Washington Post about this : from a list of 35 different pizza toppings, she selected eight types that were then baked for her. This pizza maker was not Esposito. He was just the only one who kept the receipt from the court.


Tin pizza in Rome

Thanks to Italian emigrants, pizza spread to the USA at the end of the 19th century . In October 1937, a pizza was prepared for the first time in Frankfurt am Main on what was then the festival hall area as part of the 7th International Culinary Art Exhibition at Messe Frankfurt . After the Second World War , pizza became better known in Europe outside of Italy as well. The first pizzeria in Germany was opened by Nicolino di Camillo in March 1952 in Würzburg. From here the triumphant advance of pizza in Germany began. Alongside spaghetti , pizza is now the best-known Italian national dish and is offered worldwide.


To prepare it, a simple yeast dough is first made from flour, water, a little yeast , salt and possibly a little olive oil, kneaded thoroughly and after a walking time of at least an hour at room temperature (or overnight in the upper compartment of the refrigerator) rolled out or with the floured Hands thinly drawn out. Experienced pizza bakers pull the dough over the back of their hand and expand it by making circles in the air.

Gas fired pizza oven

Then, depending on the recipe, the dough is not overly topped with the ingredients, usually with tomato slices first or more often with canned tomatoes or salsa pizzaiola (a previously cooked, creamy tomato sauce that is strongly seasoned with oregano, basil, garlic and other things). This is followed by the cheese (e.g. mozzarella, Parmesan or Pecorino ) and the other ingredients, followed by a little olive oil.

Finally, the pizza is briefly baked for a few minutes at the highest possible temperature of 400 to 500 ° C. This takes place in the lowest possible chamber. Stacking in racks or separately switchable bottom and top heat is therefore not common. The traditional dome oven is bricked and the heat is generated by a fire directly in the oven . Modern pizza ovens are heated with gas or electricity.

In household ovens, temperatures of up to 250 ° C are usually only possible, which increases the baking time and does not produce an optimal result. By using a preheated pizza stone , mostly made of chamotte , instead of a baking sheet, better results can be achieved because it keeps the heat more evenly and prevents condensation. However, a similar effect can also be achieved by placing the pizza, which is sufficiently floured on the underside, directly onto a baking sheet that has already been preheated in the oven and baking it in the lower oven area or on the lowest rack at (top and) bottom heat. This prevents the dough base from sticking. If necessary, the temperature restrictions of trays (some can only be used up to 220 ° C and not suitable for preheating without baked goods) and baking paper (usually only up to 220 ° C) specified in the respective instructions for use must be observed.

Pizza napoletana

Traditional wood-burning pizza oven
Pizza Margherita

In response to the spread of fast-food and frozen pizzas, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) was founded in Naples in 1984 with the support of the Campania region, with the aim of preserving the tradition of pizza napoletana . Its members, pizzerias all over the world, are allowed to call their pizza Verace Pizza Napoletana (real Neapolitan pizza). The traditional production method and the use of the correct ingredients are checked regularly.

On February 9, 2005, the Pizza Napoletana was registered as a trademark within the European Union and the permitted ingredients were specified. The production of a verace pizza napoletana artigianale (real handmade Neapolitan pizza) as a specialità tradizionale garantita (STG, guaranteed traditional specialty) is laid down in the Italian standard UNI 10791: 98 and the EU regulation 97/2010.

Since February 5, 2010 the traditional composition or the traditional manufacturing process of the product is protected as a guaranteed traditional specialty (g. T. S., English TSG) . The Pizza Napoletana then consists of the following basic ingredients: soft wheat flour, brewer's yeast, natural drinking water, peeled tomatoes and / or small fresh tomatoes (pomodorini), sea salt or table salt, extra virgin olive oil; Other ingredients that can be used in their preparation are garlic and oregano, fresh basil and mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO or the mozzarella PDO. t. S. Baking takes place exclusively in wood ovens in which a baking temperature of 485 ° C, which is essential for the preparation, is reached. The cooking time must not exceed 60 to 90 seconds. The slightly thicker rim is also typical of pizza napoletana . It is produced in two variants:

In 2020, a dispute arose between the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) and the Association of Neapolitan Pizza Makers Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani (APN), founded in 1998, over the use of electric ovens. With the Scugnizzonapoletano developed by the Neapolitan engineer Giuseppe Carlo Russo Krauss, the AVPN had accepted an electric oven for pizza production for the first time. The insistence on wood stoves is not up to date, as these are not accepted in many countries, which could lead to the extinction of pizza in 50 years. In addition, the Unesco did not include the wood stove, but the "art of 'Pizzaiuolo" "in their list. The APN is fighting against this and emphasizes that the unique tradition of the wood stove does not want to sacrifice economic considerations. In addition, the use of electric ovens jeopardizes the EU registration as a Specialità tradizionale garantita (STG) .

Pizza variants

In addition to the Napoletana pizza, there are other types of pizza in Italy with a regional tradition. This includes the Pizza Romana, a very thin and crispy pizza that is usually baked on the tray. The Genovese pizza, on the other hand, is a thicker pizza that is more reminiscent of the original shape of flat bread and is a further development of focaccia . The pizza al taglio (pizza in one piece) is widespread throughout Italy . This is often offered not only in pizzerias, but also at the bakery. The pizza bianca (white pizza) is also widespread in Italy ; any pizza variation that is prepared without tomato sauce.

Pizza Napoli with anchovies, olives and capers
Pizza fritta
"Supreme-style" pizza from the USA
Pizza bianca

Classic variants of the Neapolitan pizza, which do not necessarily have to contain tomatoes and cheese, are:

  • Pizza aglio e olio, with garlic , olive oil and oregano
  • Pizza con cozze, with mussels , garlic, olive oil and parsley
  • Pizza alle vongole, with clams , tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parsley and oregano
  • Margherita bianca, a margherita without tomatoes
  • Pizza Napoli, with tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies , olive oil and oregano (also with capers and black olives)
  • Pizza Regina, with tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms , boiled ham and oregano (also with black olives)

The toppings can vary depending on the recipe. The Neapolitan pizza is thin with a slightly thicker rim and is baked at almost 500 ° C in about two minutes. Without cutlery, it can be consumed “a libro” (as a book), ie folded twice to form a triangle.

Closely related to the pizza is the calzone (literally: 'trousers'), in which the dough is folded over the topping before baking. The traditional, luscious filling consists of ricotta , raw ham , mushrooms, mozzarella, Parmesan and oregano. Originally, the calzone was not baked in the oven, but in a pan in lard or oil , as is still common today as pizza fritta in Naples.

In addition to these toppings, there are now a number of other toppings , such as pizza salami , funghi , prosciutto , tonno , etc., which are named after the ingredients with which they are topped. The pizza quattro stagioni (four seasons) can be topped in any number of quarters, pizza diavolo (devil's pizza) seasoned with pepperoni or spicy sausage, pizza quattro formaggi with four types of cheese (e.g. mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola and pecorino) or pizza frutti di mare with seafood . The Hawaiian pizza with boiled ham and pineapple is likely of North American origin.

Two types of pizza are widely used in the United States, Chicago-style and New York-style. While the New York variant with its very thin base is similar to the Italian variant, the variant from Chicago is upside down: the dough forms a bowl, is laid out with mozzarella slices and filled with other ingredients. Finally, the whole thing is coated with chopped tomatoes from above and sprinkled with parmesan and oregano.

In Germany, another variant called "American Pizza" is popular, which is mainly characterized by a thick, airy base and, among other things. a. known from the Pizza Hut restaurant chain .

Frozen pizza

Pre-baked and frozen pizza is one of the best-selling ready -made meals . Developed in the United States in the 1960s, it reached Europe via Italy. In 1966, a “mini pizza” and the associated baking oven were presented by the Italian ice cream manufacturer Motta at trade fairs in Frankfurt and Munich. It was available in boxes of 17 pieces at 0.75 DM each (adjusted for inflation today 1.48 euros).

The baked goods manufacturer Romano Freddi from Mantua has been producing frozen pizza in large quantities since 1968 . He developed the basics for shaping the dough, topping and prebaking for large-scale industrial production. In addition to the Italian company Esselunga, he also supplied Dr. Oetker , the company that was the first to bring frozen pizza to the German market. The first manufacturers in Switzerland followed in 1968, the first in Germany in 1970, including Wagner , today one of the market leaders in frozen pizza across Europe with a share of over 30% in Germany and 26% in Europe. In 1976 Wagner launched the frozen “stone oven pizza” for the first time. The largest manufacturer in Europe is Freiberger Lebensmittel GmbH, which emerged in 1976 from the "Pizza Mail Order Bakery", a small Berlin company founded by Ernst Freiberger , the son of an ice cream maker (Efa-Eiskrem).

Commercial frozen pizza in foil

The sale of frozen pizza in Germany rose rapidly: in 1973 2,800 tons were produced, two years later 3,200. The consumption of 8,400 tons predicted in 1975 by the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung for 1980 was exceeded by far with over 23,000 tons, reaching around 160,000 tons in 2000 and almost 253,000 tons in 2007 - this corresponds to around 768 million pieces. In the following year, retail sales of frozen pizza fell slightly and amounted to around 245,000 tons. The best-selling varieties from the manufacturer Dr. In 2017, Oetker said they were salami, speciale (salami, ham, mushrooms), tuna, Hawaii (ham, pineapple) and margherita. Dr. Oetker has marketed these varieties for decades in two product lines that are omnipresent in most supermarkets: the “Ristorante” line, which supposedly tastes like in an Italian restaurant, and “the oven fresh”, whose dough is not pre-baked, but only baked in the end user's oven.

The sequence in which frozen pizza is made differs from traditional preparation. The punched-out flatbreads are first coated with tomato sauce and pre-baked, then, after cooling, topped with the other ingredients and finally shock-frozen . In addition to wheat flour and yeast, the dough also contains modified starch and additional leavening agents such as sodium hydrogen carbonate , which makes it possible to bake without slow thawing beforehand. Both for pre-baking and final baking in a household oven, the temperatures are far below those of a pizza oven. Some manufacturers now also offer frozen pizza with an unbaked base.

As a further convenience food form in addition to frozen pizza, retailers offer pizza kits in refrigerated shelves. They contain the dough (often already rolled out and rolled up on baking paper), which can then be topped with the tomato sauce that is also contained and ingredients that can be purchased separately.


  • Paul Trummer: Pizza Global. A favorite food explains the global economy. Econ, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-430-20100-1 .
  • Dieter Richter: The pizza as a world cultural heritage? Interview with Antonio Pace, President of the “Verace Pizza Napoletana” association. In: VOYAGE , Jahrbuch für Reise- und Tourismusforschung 2002, pp. 89–95.
  • Gunther Hirschfelder : Pizza and Pizzeria. In: Pim den Boer, Heinz Duchhardt , Wolfgang Schmale (eds.): European places of memory 2. The house of Europe. Oldenbourg, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-486-70419-8 , pp. 319-326.

Web links

Commons : Pizza  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Pizza  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: Basic recipe for pizza dough  - learning and teaching materials

Individual evidence

  1. Duden: Pizza
  2. Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' . In: (accessed December 7, 2017).
  3. Manlio Cortelazzo , Paolo Zolli: Dictionnaire Etimologico della lingua italiana. Zanichelli, Bologna 1999, p. 1206 f.
  4. ^ Ottorino Pianigiani: Vocabolario etimologico della lingua italiana. Società editrice Dante Alighieri di Albrighi, Segati e C., Roma 1907 (and numerous reprints), Lemma Pizza .
  5. Storia e ricetta della "pinsa" il dolce della tradizione veneta preferito dalla Befana .
  6. Petra Foede: How Bismarck got hold of the herring. Culinary legends, Verlag Kein & Aber , Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-0369-5268-0 , p. 167 f.
  7. Pizza-Premiere in Frankfurt, Rhein-Main, October 13, 2017, p. 41
  8. Jutta Hoffritz: Marin Trenk : Pizza? Comes from Würzburg . In: The time. 17, 2015.
  9. Regione Campania ( Memento of the original from October 23, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana .
  11. Official Journal of the European Union ( Memento of February 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) ( PDF ; 835 kB).
  12. Regulation (EU) No. 97/2010 of the Commission of February 4, 2010 for the entry of a name in the register of traditional specialties guaranteed - Pizza Napoletana (g. T. S.) .
  13. verace pizza napoletana artigianale (PDF; 121 kB).
  14. "Scugnizzonapoletano" ecco il primo forno elettrico Approvato dai pizzaioli napoletani. In: Il Mattino . June 10, 2020, accessed August 27, 2020 .
  15. Napoli, la guerra dei "due forni" finisce a pizze in faccia. In: Corriere del Mezzogiorno . June 12, 2020, accessed August 27, 2020 .
  16. Wirtschaftswoche , edition 13/2009, p. 13.
  17. German Frozen Institute
  18. Ingo Reich: Nestlé satisfies the appetite for frozen pizza. In: Handelsblatt / WirtschaftsWoche , August 19, 2009.
  19. Whether chocolate or salami This is where your pizza comes from. Retrieved June 6, 2017 .
  20. Food guide , Hessischer Rundfunk , June 23, 2010.