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In the end, the efforts led to a great result: it’s called Gran’Aria, even the name is evocative, and it’s the novelty presented by Mirko Petracci, born in 1981, at his La Scaletta in Ascoli Piceno.
It’s not just the very high hydration that is making this new dough unique, creating large bubbles of air and enriching the gluten texture with more air, but making it crunchy too. It’s also the particular process to make the dough that makes Gran’Aria a model worth exporting. There’s not just one pre-fermenting phase, but three, each with a different flour.
The pre-ferment is the primordial version of the dough, where the leavening base is developed, which will add lightness, crispiness and flavour. At La Scaletta the initial poolish is made with natural mother yeast, plus three pre-ferments with three different types of flour from Petra - Molino Quaglia in Vighizzolo d’Este (all made with Italian wheat from 100% sustainable farming): the result is a blend that will give a rich and original aroma to the pizza. So Gran’Aria it’s a pizza that’s alive, it breathes, it tells the story of ancient wheat varieties and natural leavening methods. It charms in terms of taste, colour and digestibility.
Now Mirko would like to export this method all around the world, thanks to the stimulating friendships he has found in New York and London. «In every metropolis we can present ourselves with a suitable name», he says. With a project that can put together the partners and entrepreneurs who want to invest in future and people.
Petracci is an ambitious guy. He’s the heir of a 40-year-long family saga. It was 1978 when Vincenzo and Maria Petracci opened La Scaletta in Ascoli Piceno. Over the years the pizzeria became a point of reference in town. The couple ran the place until 2013, when they decided to retire: this is when their firstborn Mirko took over, after spending all his life in the pizzeria (friends, colleagues and clients say “He was born in the pizzeria”) and perfectly understands its rhythms and mechanisms.
Mirko recalls he first baked his pizza at 13, and he spent his days training by the wood oven, and helping prepare the ingredients. When his parents retired, Mirko decided to revolutionise the pizzeria and its offer. The challenge was to go beyond the original work, but without losing the place’s identity. Petracci has an ambition: he wants to show all the world how to make pizza of the highest standards, with a new method. Which now has a special name.
Article by Identità Golose
Photo from the website Pizzeria La Scaletta