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The Magic Pizza Vending Machine

PH2009062502538.jpgArguably, I shouldn't be expecting too much culinary authenticity from a pizza vending machine. But this vending machine is in Italy. My understanding is that putting, say, pineapple on a pizza in Italy is punishable by death, or at least by loud exclamations accompanied by energetic hand movements. Which is, of course, how it should be.

But back to the vending machine. "The machine does not just slip a frozen pizza into a microwave," reports the New York Times. "It actually whips up flour, water, tomato sauce and fresh ingredients to produce a piping hot pizza in about three minutes." Impressive! But...how?

I've made pizza a few times. I've made pizza a few different ways. But I've never encountered a pizza recipe where the dough didn't require a substantial resting period. Peter Reinhart's recipe, for instance, lets the dough sit overnight. Mark Bittman brings the speed with a quick two-hour rest. So how is this being accomplished without any resting at all? Is a chemical speeding the process? Is the dough being formed without yeast? Are the Italians making fun of us convenience-obsessed Americans by planting a hilarious story about a magic vending machine that makes pizza in under four minutes?

Photo credit: Allison Dinner Photo

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2009; 11:49 AM ET
Categories:  Food  
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Comments

I'm pretty sure what's called "pizza" in Continental Europe bears little resemblance to any American style of Pizza. It's basically flatbread with cheese and tomato sauce on it IIRC.

Posted by: NicholasBeaudrot | July 1, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I think the answer here is that this machine will make bad pizza. You could do this yourself. Mix up a batch of dough, form pizza crust, add toppings, pop into oven! Presto! Bad pizza!

Posted by: thehersch | July 1, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Probably will be bad pizza, though perhaps not as bad as the typical frozen variety. And a "3 minute" pizza? That's pretty weird too, as even if you've made a proper dough, it takes much longer than 3 minutes to bake.

From what I saw 20 years ago, there is lots of "American-style" pizza in Italy, particularly in Rome. It's just business.... they're catering to the visitors, I guess. I remember seeing so-called pizzerias with shelves full of finished pizzas of all varieties sitting there for hours and even overnight. It was a pretty disgusting sight. There was no shortage of small restaurants where you could eat (then) for little cost and get a real home-style meal.... even an Italian style pizza made in a wood-fired brick oven.

Posted by: rfgold | July 1, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Pre-made, rested dough?

Posted by: albamus | July 1, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Ezra -- long time reader, first time commenter. I have a pretty killer homemade pizza dough recipe that only takes 20 minutes. And it's really tasty. You'll have to invite me to one of those blogger/foodie/dinner orgies though to get your hands on it!

Posted by: dc365 | July 1, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I've made pizza in just under 30 minutes. Unlike dc365, I place no conditions on providing you the recipe:

http://whatdoiknow.typepad.com/what_do_i_know/2007/04/wednesday_food__2.html

Since much of the time involved is spent gathering and measuring ingredients, I suspect a big chunk of time can be eliminated by using pre-measured ingredients. Also there must be some sort of quick cooking method unavailable to the home cook. Convection microwave?

Posted by: KathyF | July 2, 2009 3:02 AM | Report abuse

The article could also be, uh, mistaken. I wouldn't be surprised at all at a machine that whipped up a pile of dough from flour, retarded it just above freezing, and extruded a blob as needed. Otherwise just the mix is going to take about a minute of that time.

And with a very hot oven and thin crust, you can easily cook a pizza in a few minutes...

Posted by: paul314 | July 2, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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