A fresh new take on the Roman pinsa is now rising to the top among consumer favorites all over the world. Modern techniques and new ingredients are here to help meet production needs.
Pinsa’s unique taste and flavor were the result of the baker’s artistry in preparing the dough by grinding cereals and adding the right combination of herbs into the mix. Its very name honors the process, coming from the Latin ‘pinsere’ which means to stamp, to pound. The result defines the ideal characteristics pinsa should have, starting with its oval shape; it has a crunchy exterior while remaining soft on the inside, it is easier to digest compared to regular pizza, thanks to the leavening process; and it has a strong flavor which it owes to its special flour blend, including wheat flour, rice flour, soy flour, and dried mother yeast. Its very own supporting organization, Associazione Originale Pinsa Romana, officially recognizes restaurants as Original and Certified Pinseria, following expert examination and quality control of the entire production process.
To transfer the traditional manufacturing process to high-end industrial output, Rademaker transformed the production process of this originally handcrafted specialty into an industrial production solution that maintains the crispy crust and airy structure of the pinsa.
A special recipe
Pinsa is made with a unique type of pizza dough, the result of a non-GMO flour mix comprising flours made of wheat, soy and rice. Each plays its own functional role: soy flour makes the dough crunchy, and rice flour helps retain water and makes it easy to bake. Sourdough or biga is also added, for a delicate flavor, in addition to the hallmark of the pinsa – a little yeast. Moreover, this special dough is more hydrated than traditional pizza dough and it can contain as much as 75-80% water, whereas pizza dough normally ranges between 53 to 65% water.
A key step in making pinsa dough is extended proofing, of about 72 hours. Baking is also adjusted to the requirements of the highly-hydrated dough, and is done in two stages: at first, the base is baked during par-baking, and then the dough is topped and goes for the final baking. For the industrial process, the parbaked pinsa is first cooled down, packed and frozen. In this form, it travels to the shop or restaurant, where it is defrosted, topped and goes in for the final baking.
Industrial production step by step
Over the centuries, the original pinsa recipe has been refined with new ingredients and the support of modern technology. Rademaker translated the traditional process intending to have a similar quality, consistently, through an industrial, dough-friendly production process. To achieve this, when forming the dough, the structure created during mixing is kept intact throughout the consequent processing steps. Prepared before the mixing process, the sourdough is added together with the other ingredients into the mixer. The dough is then put in dough bins and undergoes fermentation over several hours. When fermentation is complete, the batches of dough are placed into the Rademaker pre-sheeter.
Depending on the desired capacity, a Double-chunking Sheeting System (DSS) or Dynamic Pre-Sheeter (DPS) will be used. Both systems are specially designed for producing artisan, highly hydrated doughs. This module creates a consistent sheet of dough. It features a system that ensures the structure of the dough remains intact while sheeting.
The production line can be used for the production of virtually any type of bread. The sheeting and make-up sections are product-specific process steps.
To achieve doughs of various sizes in both width and thickness, for any type of dough, the pre-sheeter’s output has a dynamic dough outfeed gap function that adjusts the thickness of the dough sheet as required. Besides dough sheet thickness, the dough sheet width is also an important parameter to watch for when changing production to different types of dough.
After pre-sheeting, the dough sheet is gently reduced as it goes through a combination of reduction stations. When the dough reaches the required dough thickness, it can either proceed to the inline proofing stage before product cutting or it can be directly cut into products. The newly-created dough sheet is cut into separate dough lanes, which go through a guillotine, resulting in the desired dough pieces. The make-up units transfer these dough pieces to the applicable unit to form the products. “These units are also individually able to adjust the product dimensions to the demands of the baker,” Rademaker adds.
Any excess dough can be brought back into the production process, so none of the special pinsa dough goes to waste.
Custom rework dough options can be designed for specific requirements. For example, side trimmings can be set to be transported back to the DSS, while the omega trimmings are sent further upstream, to the mixer. The dough recycling process is stable, with reliable results, by controlling the distribution of this leftover dough.
Next, the products are shortly baked in a high-temperature stone floor oven. After baking, the pinsa is frozen and packaged, to be delivered to the final baking destination in this form. In restaurants or shops, the pinsa pieces are topped and then baking is finished. Finally, they are ready to be served.
DPS and DSS
The Rademaker production line can produce from 500 kg of dough per hour up to 6,000 kg/h, depending on the demands of the bakery. With the DPS, capacities ranging between 500 to 1,000 kg of dough per hour can be reached. The DPS is 800 mm smaller in footprint compared to the DSS, and has an adjustable gap setting to create a dough sheet with a thickness between 16 mm and 35 mm. The DPS has a working width of 600 mm for the sheeting sections and 800 mm wide make-up sections. The DPS has one set of chunker blades. Furthermore, it has an integrated reduction station, meaning that lower-capacity lines can be built with a smaller footprint.
By comparison, the DSS has a capacity of up to 6,000 kg of dough per hour and can process a dough sheet of up to 1,000 mm wide. Its production width is 1,000 mm for the sheeting section and 1,600 mm width for the make-up section.
Several types of dough are made with a high water ratio, which makes them liquid and sticky. Pinsa is one of them and, a ‘family’ it shares with ciabatta and focaccia doughs, too. The previous version of the DSS required oil to prevent the dough from sticking to the hopper, which made cleaning the line a time-consuming process. For the new version, Rademaker replaced the oil with wax, while also reducing the required amount to a fourth compared to the oil it previously needed. “Cost-savings are considerable and the wax distribution system has a ROI of only 1 – 1.5 years.
Equally important, the DSS using wax is more accurate on dough chunk weights due to the dynamic belt principle and therefore creates a better overall performance compared to the oil DSS,” Rademaker explains. Both oil and wax operating versions are available for the DSS, while the DPS is only available in the setup using wax. The DSS is designed to transport dough with minimal height differences, to preserve its homogeneity and structure. It also features easy access for cleaning. Moreover, it has a hygienic design and, with its wider belts, combined with advanced flour strewing and optimized waste bins, it supports clean working.
With production scaled up for industrial processing, pinsa is also ready for the future needs of bakeries that can flexibly use the equipment for their production, for pinsa and beyond.
Read the full article in Baking+Biscuit International, issue 1 – 2023.