PNG images: Pizza
Pizza is a yeasted flatbread typically topped with tomato sauce and cheese and baked in an oven. It is commonly topped with a selection of meats, vegetables and condiments.
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The term pizza was first recorded in the 10th century, in a Latin manuscript from Gaeta in Central Italy. Modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish and its variants have since become popular and common in many areas of the world. In 2009, upon Italy's request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish. Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza Association), a non-profit organisation founded in 1984 with headquarters in Naples, aims to "promote and protect... the true Neapolitan pizza".
Pizza is sold fresh or frozen, either whole or in portions, and is a common fast food item in Europe and North America. Various types of ovens are used to cook them and many varieties exist. Several similar dishes are prepared from ingredients commonly used in pizza preparation, such as calzone and stromboli.
Pizza is prepared fresh, frozen, and as portion-size slices or pieces. Methods have been developed to overcome challenges such as preventing the sauce from combining with the dough and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts.
Another form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is assembled in the store, then sold to customers to bake in their own ovens. Some grocery stores sell fresh dough along with sauce and basic ingredients, to complete at home before baking in an oven.
In restaurants, pizza can be baked in an oven with stone bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle, called a peel, and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum). Prior to use, a peel may be sprinkled with cornmeal to allow pizza to easily slide onto and off of it. When made at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to reproduce the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.
When it comes to preparation, the dough and ingredients can be combined on any kind of table. With mass production of pizzas the process can be completely automated. Most restaurants still use standard and purpose built pizza preparation tables. Pizzerias nowadays can even opt for hi tech pizza preparation tables that combine mass production elements with traditional techniques.