Materials Scientists Make Pizza Dough — Without the Yeast

sciencehabit shares a report from When he was 25, materials scientist Ernesto Di Maio developed a yeast allergy and broke out in hives whenever he ate pizza, which was somewhat embarrassing for a son of Naples, Italy. "My wife loves pizza, and this sometimes creates tension on the night menu," he says. Now, Di Maio can look forward to carefree dinners, for he and his colleagues have invented a yeast-free method of leavening pizza dough. In a classically prepared pizza, as with most bread, yeast ferments and releases carbon dioxide to give the dough a foamlike consistency. Baking then drives off the water and locks in the airy texture. Di Maio's team at the University of Naples Federico II (UNINA) thought it might be able to produce the same effect in a different way: by infusing the dough with gas at high pressure and releasing the pressure during baking, adapting a method they'd developed to manufacture polyurethane. "The aim was to try to make the same texture that we love so much in pizza without a chemical agent," says co-author and UNINA materials scientist Rossana Pasquino. [...] The end result: "We tried it, and it was nice and crusty and soft," Di Maio says. Alessio Cappelli, a food technologist at the University of Florence, says the paper is "interesting," but he wonders whether the method will be widely used in practice, given that baker's yeast is so cheap and easy. "It looks like an innovation just for the sake of it," he says. The study has been published in the journal Physics of Fluids.

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