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A friend (Italian) mentioned that she uses 'Pizza Yeast' for making pizza, and one can't use normal yeast or it'll "grow too much".. I looked around the internet for "Pizza yeast" and all I found was people saying that it was a marketing gimmick and it was just normal instant yeast.

So here's my questions, is there anything special in "Pizza yeast" or can we just use normal yeast (in lesser amount of course) and achieve the same??

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

From what I can find, it contains 'dough relaxers' so you can shape the dough without it springing back. It also claims you don't need to let it rise, but it then tells you to bake your pizza for 30 minutes! So it essentially rises in the oven.

Compare this to 'proper' dough which you let rise for a couple of hours, pull into shape and then bake in a screaming hot oven for 5 minutes tops. It strikes me that using pizza yeast is 'pizza for dummies'; claiming 'it stops it rising too much' is nonsense because if the amount of yeast is correct in your recipe you control the rise anyway.

So it depends on whether you like doing things easy or doing things right. You can bet your pepperoni slices they don't use 'pizza yeast' in Naples. Personally I cheat just a little and use dried fast-action yeast as it has a longer shelf-life and you don't fuss around proving it, and my pizzas come out great.

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30 minutes! I can't think that would give anywhere near an authentic result. Pizzas more than almost anything else require an inferno. –  Orbling Jan 28 '11 at 0:57
    
Absolutely, a hot, hot oven and a good hot pizza stone will give better results than any fancy yeast. –  ElendilTheTall Jan 28 '11 at 12:57
    
I would hope that a good Italian pizzeria has their own yeast culture, just as a good bakery would. You could call this "pizza yeast". –  slim Jan 28 '11 at 15:18
    
You could, but pizza yeast in this case is referring to the kind referred to in the question. And in any case, you could probably take that pizzeria's yeast and use it to make any bread, not just pizza. –  ElendilTheTall Jan 28 '11 at 22:07
    
anything you ever wanted to know about making perfect pizza you can find here varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm –  Chicken Pie Jan 28 '11 at 23:37
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Well, in Italy we use brewer's yeast to make pizza, on the contrary for sweet we use some baking/soda yeast powder (as is) and for bread we use as well brewer's yeast.

So, yes, the yeast used for Pizza and for bread are the same.

For a good recipe, in plain English (sorry mine is not so good), this is a correct recipe I found:

  1. the most important ingredient is the brewer's yeast. You have to try to find it… you can also use the powder (barm) type but the brewer's yeast is the best.
  2. first of all you have to take a big cup (like the one for the milk) and fill it with hot water and then put inside the hot water the brewer's yeast 25g (in Italy the standard ins 2 pieces 25g). with a little spoon mix slowly in order to completely melt the brewer's yeast inside the hot water. Add a little spoon of sugar and mix again
  3. prepare in a big bowl 500g of flour (in Italy we have two type of flour, the type “00” that is better for the cake and the sweets in general and the type “0” that is the best for pizza try to find this type (“00”) add half table spoon of salt (mix) and two table spoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  4. add a half glass of good with wine and the melted brewer's yeast
  5. start (with your hands) mix the flour and the other ingredients inside the bowl for, at least, for 5 ÷ 8 minutes… at the end of the work you'll have a ball of “pasta di pizza” (around one kg.)
  6. now you have two choices: the first is to cover with a transparent film and put inside the TURNED OFF oven and left for 4 hours (20°C) the second is to put the bowl (suitable for the temperature of 60°C) inside the oven @ 60°C for 2 hours.
  7. when the fermentation will finish then take the “increased pasta ball” and work it with your hands for 2 minutes
  8. divide the pasta in little ball around 235 ÷ 250 g ( I try to exact divide the pasta in 4 parts) and every ball will be one pizza
  9. start spread the pasta with the hands first and after with the mattarello (Italian piece of wood suitable for this kind of work) in order to obtain the thin circle to put inside you circular baking-pan (30 ÷ 35 cm)
  10. find a good Italian tomatoes sauce and add it a table spoon of olive oil, salt a little bit and a good spoon of origanum (mix)… start to put the tomato on the thin pasta circle 3 table spoon for each
  11. find a good Italian mozzarella… I use to press the mozzarella with a tool that make me possible to eliminate a little bit the water… but also if you cut it with a knife in little pieces will be ok. One mozzarella (125 g) for one pizza (more or less) distribute it on over the tomato on the thin pasta circle
  12. start your oven ad put it at 250°C (the maximum you can)
  13. when the oven is ready put the pizza inside and cook it for, about 10 minutes.

Hope it helps.

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By 'normal/chemical yeast' do you mean baking powder/soda? Because as you said, for cakes, generally baking soda is used so as not to ferment the dough. –  notthetup Jan 28 '11 at 8:41
    
@ntt yes, I meant that, unlucky I don't know too many English kitchen terms, let me study a bit and I'll fix the answer. –  tmow Jan 28 '11 at 12:34
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Great. So I'm back to the question if Pizza yeast is different than the one used for bread.. As per as your answer it's not.. which is what I was trying to get at.. Thanks!! –  notthetup Jan 28 '11 at 13:16
    
@ntt I've updated with the official answer :-) –  tmow Jan 28 '11 at 13:45
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Lievito di birra (which means brewer's yeast) is the name given in Italy to plain yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae, which in latin means sugar eater from beer). So, yes: there's no special yeast for pizza. –  J.A.I.L. Nov 4 '12 at 2:31
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