What are the benefits of eating pizza

The pinsa were already popular in ancient Rome. A nice idea, as the cultural and historical detail mentioned on the menu also means for the guest: it was already good back then. It is hardly surprising that this not yet so well-known and apparently recently rediscovered variant of the pizza conquered so many gastro-hearts today in no time at all, if the ancient Romans already liked it. Or? "Oh, antiquity is one storiella", says Alberto Di Marco, a little story that he came up with his father Corrado in order to sell his invention better. Because of Imperium Romanum: The Pinsa have only been around since 2001.

That little bit of flunking doesn't hurt her, however, there are good reasons to get excited about this dough cake, which so far only few restaurants in Germany offer, although the spread is constantly increasing. In contrast to many pizzas, the Pinsa has one big advantage: its center is not mushy, the crust is always crisp and after eating you don't have the feeling of falling nose first off your chair with your heavy stomach. Not that fat and easy to digest? A pizza that promises this seems to fit perfectly into our time, even if the pinsa, which looks and tastes like a pizza, doesn't want to be one at all.

The Di Marcos, who run a baking company in Rome in the fourth generation, came up with the name themselves, it should sound like something between pizza and pita, so that everyone can quickly imagine something under it. To make the myth with ancient Rome more believable, father and son also unearthed the Latin word "pinsere", which translates as pounding or pounding something - based on the way the Romans treated their grain to make flour.

"A little Latin has never harmed a product," says Alberto Di Marco, laughing on the phone, who has made it into the food trend lists of American newspapers with his Pinsa. The 34-year-old is also the family company's sales manager. He knows: a good storiella can work wonders. Although one has to say that nobody can say for sure whether the Pinsa existed under a different name before the cunning Di Marcos. But that's the way it is with myths surrounding the origins of popular dishes. As with the pizza, which is still debated today about where the first was and what exactly the original was topped with. A little bit of myth belongs on every plate.

Soy provides firmness

The secret of the Pinsa is not in its history, but in the composition of the dough. Instead of the usual triad of ingredients flour, water and yeast, a mixture of rice, wheat and soy flour as well as sourdough is used in the pinsa. The rice flour makes the dough lighter, soy makes it firm and the sourdough makes it easy to digest and has a loose structure. By the way, the story of Ancient Rome should finally be over when the keyword soy is in the list of ingredients.

There is a large amount of water in addition to the four components: about 800 to 900 milliliters of water are added to one kilo of Pinsa flour instead of the usual half a liter. The liquid helps with fermentation - and it takes a lot of time. Pinsa dough is not only allowed to rise for two hours, but is given up to 72 hours to puff up like a cloud. The fermentation bubbles then look as if someone had hidden bulging balloons under a shiny white mass to burst.

The long fermentation time makes the new pizza more digestible because the stomach does not have to struggle with fermentation processes after eating. Instead of rolling them flat like a typical pizza or swirling them thinly in the air, the soft dough pieces are carefully pulled apart with the fingertips before baking, as with a back massage. That the pinsa are oval in the Di Marcos? "Pure marketing," says Alberto Di Marco. It also just fits better in the oven.

With the topping, however, the Pinsa is cautious, it doesn't take much anyway if the dough is good. Aromatic tomatoes, something Stracciatella di bufala, a wonderfully creamy, stringy cheese, and fresh basil, for example, are completely sufficient, preferably freshly spread on the already baked flatbread. However, many restaurants prefer to be imaginative with the new dish and garnish the pinsa with blueberries, rapeseed blossoms or wild broccoli, which not only sets it apart visually from a classic pizza salami.

The fact that the Di Marcos want to have invented the pinsa fits in well with their own history. Alberto's great-grandfather kneaded dough in his bakery and ran a bakery in Rome for decades. When Corrado Di Marco finally took over the family business that sells flour mixes, he was soon no longer satisfied with his products. So he started experimenting in the early 1980s and eventually created the so-called Pizza Snellawho have favourited lean pizza. Instead of producing dough as cheaply as possible, as was often the case at the time, blowing it up with the help of chemicals and baking animal fats or sugar, he did without such additives and preferred to increase the water content. "The ladies" in particular were enthusiastic about this idea, he says.

A similar unrest finally overtook Corrado in 2001, "when there was nothing left to buy on the pizza market," says his son Alberto. So his father sat down again to twist the dough. Out came the Pinsa. At first the family worried that the Italians would not be able to do anything with this new variant of their beloved pizza. In the whole country, to put it mildly, there is great skepticism about any change in the kitchen. The Pinsa was tested in a friend's restaurant, the "Trattoria Pratolina" in Rome. According to family legend, after only one month, no one ordered "normal" pizza there.

According to their own statements, they now supply more than 6000 restaurants with their prepared flour mixtures and export them to Uganda and Mongolia. Before the Corona exit restrictions, Alberto Di Marco was still traveling in Australia to set up his own restaurant chain there. In order to expand the business further, they also train Pinsa bakers in their own school. If you don't want to mix the dough yourself, the Pinsa can also be ordered as a pre-baked flatbread.

The "Pizza Revolution" at the 2015 World Exhibition in Milan

But not only the Di Marco family thinks about compatibility. For decades there has been a discussion in Italy about which ingredients should be used to bake the best pizza, and there has long been talk of a revolution. Modern pizzaioli like Simone Padoan and Renato Bosco work in their restaurants near Verona with wild yeasts, different fermentation times and grinding levels and practice their patience alternating between letting the dough rest and kneading it. You can order pizzas in different crispy versions or gluten-free. The "Pizza Revolution" was also the subject of the 2015 World Exhibition in Milan.

Sebastian Georgi from Restaurant 905 in Düsseldorf has also been working on the perfect mix for his classic Napoletana pizza for seven years, which has nothing to do with the Italians around the corner. He basically lets his flour mixture rise for 72 hours - just like with the pinsa. "The more aromatic the dough, the less you have to make afterwards," says Georgi. The perfect pizza dough that he prepares with brewer's yeast must have the opportunity to occupy himself long enough. He only puts his pizza in the oven for 60 to 90 seconds. It can be folded in half on the plate while it is hot, without the crust breaking or the whole thing slipping apart. Just as you know it from Naples.

Corrado Di Marco must have got bored again during the period of exit bans in Italy. His three sons would have liked to see the 75-year-old stay at home for health reasons. But the patriarch preferred to sit in his office northeast of Rome every day and work on various flour mixes. Now the Pinsa will soon be available as a gluten-free version and as pre-baked dough pieces that can be bought in the supermarket. Putting a pinsa in the oven at home: the ancient Romans would certainly have been amazed.