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“Artisan” Pizza Explained: It’s about the Love of the Craft

January 28, 2016

When you hear the word “artisan” used in conjunction with a type of food, it’s hard to envision what that really means. Can anyone say they’re an artisan? Can anyone make an artisan product? Or is there more to it? When it comes to artisan-style pizza in Downers Grove, it all comes down to how it’s prepared. No packages of pre-made dough and factory-processed toppings being slid into industrial ovens with computerized controls. Instead, it’s about craft, skill, tradition, quality, and—dare we say—art. Find out more about what makes artisan pizza special:
  • It starts with the dough. It’s the daily job of the baker making the pizza dough to render it as flavorful as possible through proper fermentation, which takes at least 12 hours at around 65 degrees (and some even say up to 24 hours). And whether the dough is made by hand every day, or with the help of a mixer, the importance of a human touch to measure texture and overall feel cannot be overstated. The end result is dough that’s a little wetter, tackier, and more delicate than other dough, and therefore trickier to handle; not just anyone can get their hands around it. Once it’s baked, the dough has a crispy texture on the outside and a fluffy, soft texture on the inside—one of the hallmarks of true artisan pizza.
  • The oven is the key. To get that just-right texture in the crust, not just any oven will do. A wood- or coal-fired brick or stone oven is the traditional—and for many pizza makers, the only—way to go. The heat generated from the wood or coal is powerful (in traditional pizza ovens in Naples, the temperature can reach 900 degrees!), but the pizza only needs to bake in this type of oven for about 2 to 4 minutes before it comes out perfect and ready to be eaten. You may even see what looks like charred blisters on the crust, which add a depth of flavor.
  • Toppings have to be quality. With the right crust, artisan pizza can stand on its own. But everyone knows that the toppings make the pizza. From the pepperoni to the tomatoes, the sausage to the cheese, artisan pizza has to be topped with only the freshest of ingredients, and some pizza makers even like to source those ingredients locally whenever possible. Small-batch sauce, fresh-cut veggies and herbs, imported specialty ingredients, and cured meats that add authentic flavor—all of it matters. Think of it this way: even the toppings have to be hand-crafted and artisan in nature!
If you’re still curious, check out the rising artisan pizza movement for a passionate take on this time-honored approach to making good pizza, including a nod to its roots in Naples.

Located in Downers Grove, Block Pizza is proud to serve Neapolitan-style pizza made with only the best halal ingredients. Our menu also includes signature pizzas, salads, and grinders. Order online or call us at 303-777-5789 for pickup or delivery.