The History of Pizza and the Art of Cold Fermented Dough

by | Feb 15, 2023 | News

The History of Pizza

Before we get to Brisbane’s best wood-fired pizza, let’s take a look at the history of this delicious meal. The history of pizza in Napoli, also known as Naples, is a long and fascinating one. It is said that pizza as we know it today originated in Naples, and the city continues to be a hub for pizza lovers from around the world. The story of pizza in Naples can be traced back to ancient times, when the Greeks and Romans would consume flatbreads with various toppings.

However, the pizza we know today, with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, is said to have been born in the 16th century. At that time, Naples was a bustling port city with a large working-class population. The locals needed a quick and cheap food option that could be eaten on the go, and thus pizza was born. The earliest pizzas were simple and included only tomatoes, garlic, and oil, and were baked in wood-fired ovens.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, pizza became even more popular, especially among the poor. Street vendors known as “pizzaioli” began selling pizza to workers in the city’s many factories. These vendors would carry large trays of pizza on their heads, shouting “pizzaiolo a otto!” (“pizza for eight cents!”) to attract customers.

Over time, new toppings were added to pizza, including mozzarella cheese, basil, and other ingredients. In 1889, the famous Margherita pizza was created by the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito in honor of the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. The pizza featured tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, which represented the colors of the Italian flag.

Pizza in the 20th Century

In the early 20th century, pizza began to spread beyond Naples and throughout Italy. Italian immigrants brought pizza to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it quickly became a popular food in cities like New York and Chicago.

Despite its widespread popularity, pizza has always remained a source of pride for Neapolitans. In 1984, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana was founded to preserve the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza. The organization created a set of rules and guidelines for making pizza in the traditional Neapolitan style, including using certain types of flour and tomatoes, and cooking the pizza in a wood-fired oven at high temperatures.

Today, Neapolitan pizza is a beloved food around the world, with pizzerias in cities from New York to Brisbane specializing in the traditional style. In 2017, the art of Neapolitan pizza-making was even recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

In conclusion, the history of pizza in Naples is a rich and storied one, spanning centuries and touching countless lives. Today, pizza remains a symbol of the city and its people, and Neapolitan pizza-makers continue to create delicious and authentic pies that are enjoyed by pizza lovers everywhere.

The Art of Cold Fermented Pizza Dough

Cold fermented pizza dough is a process where the dough is left to rise slowly in the refrigerator for a certain period of time.  This process not only results in a flavourful crust, but it also makes the dough easier to work with and creates a crispier crust.

If you want Brisbane’s best wood-fired pizza, head to Factory51! Or, feel free to try the following basic recipe for making cold fermented pizza dough at home:


  • 500g pizza flour
  • 10g salt
  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 300ml ‘fridge cold’ water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour and salt.
  2. In a separate small mixing bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast in the cold water.
  3. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 72 hours. The longer the dough ferments, the more flavourful it will be.
  6. The trick to hand stretched pizza is weighed and rolled dough balls. Dough balls can be rolled just after kneeding like we do at Factory 51 or rolled on the day and left to rise in a sealed container a few hours before your cook them. They can be weighed at 200 or 250 grams, then using one hand roll them into a ball by moving your hand anti clockwise from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock and rolling the ball on your palms. Repeat twice until the ball is nice and tight. Place the small opening of the ball face down on the tray so that it stays closed as the balls rise.
  7. When you’re ready to use the dough, remove the tray from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  8. Preheat your oven 230°C – fan forced plus top heat. Add 2 baking stones, 1 in the middle and one at the top.
  9. To stretch the dough. Place in on a handful of semolina, then put some extra semolina on top. Press down the middle of the dough, leaving an edge or cornice untouched. Then place flat fingers from both hands in the middle of the dough and turn your right hand clockwise to 3 o’clock. Then back to the starting position. Repeat until the dough is as big as your tray – making sure not to overstretch the middle.
  10. Spread semolina on the bench, then place the dough Add your desired toppings, being careful not to overload the pizza.
  11. Using your pizza paddle, place the dough on the top stone until the cheese starts bubbling, then move the pizza to the bottom stone to crispy up the base.

Enjoy your hand-made delicious cold fermented pizza!

Brisbane’s best wood-fired pizza with prosciutto – Factory51

Brisbane’s Best Wood-Fired Pizza

If you want a cold fermented wood-fired pizza for dinner tonight, visit Factory51 in Brisbane, Australia. It is a very popular Italian restaurant and a local Coorparoo dining institution. One of the signature dishes at Factory51 is their wood-fired pizza, which is made using traditional Italian techniques and cooked in a custom-built wood-fired oven.

The pizza dough is made in-house daily using high-quality flour and left to ferment for at least 120 hours, which gives the pizza its signature light and airy texture and big flavour. Once the dough is ready, it is stretched by hand and topped with a variety of fresh ingredients, including tomato sauce, cheese, meats, vegetables, and herbs.

The wood-fired oven at Factory51 is a key part of the pizza-making process. The oven is heated to over 380 degrees Celsius, which allows the pizza to cook quickly and evenly, while also creating a crispy crust and perfectly melted cheese. The wood-fired oven also adds a unique smoky flavour to the pizza that cannot be replicated with a conventional oven.

Overall, Factory51’s wood-fired pizza is a must-try for anyone who loves authentic Italian cuisine. The combination of fresh ingredients, traditional techniques, and a custom-built wood-fired oven make for a truly delicious and memorable dining experience. Make a reservation today!


07 33240844
51 Holdsworth St Coorparoo QLD