Friedi Schmuck breaks the delay: his Piano B in Syracuse is now 100% (great) pizza

Born in Rome to parents from South Tyrol and Sicily, Friedi (that's how his friends call him), patron and pizzaiolo at Piano B in Syracuse, has always found the right stimuli in difficult times...

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This was the case in 2013 when the pizzaiolo who was working with him since he opened his restaurant in Ortigia, «the first to use Molino Quaglia's and to offer pizza alla pala, which was our signature pizza from the start», told him he was to leave to open his own business. It was then that Friedi decided to move from the dining room, which he had never left until that moment, to dough-making, using the mother yeast he had created two years before for fun, after an Api pizzaiolo course, «which I attended just to find out more about this world».

And so it was in the unusual summer of 2020, so poor of foreign tourists: Friedi decided it was time to change the direction of his restaurant for good, changing its menu, which now only includes pizza.

«The Covid-19 emergency forced me to speed up a process which, in fact, I had already started. Since I had to make some personal sacrifices, I took this opportunity and decided to focus only on dough and toppings, no more cooked recipes. I only left a couple of salads to give some options to those allergic to gluten». Schmuck made the best out of the situation.

Nothing is left to chance

«Looking back, it makes me smile – he says. – Even though I already worked in the restaurant industry, I never thought I'd become a pizzaiolo. Instead, once inside the laboratory, I found a passion that urged me to get a better understanding and rush into things. Ironically, I miss that phase of working yourself up the ladder which has made so many of my colleagues great», and he mentions those he believes have inspired him the most in terms of dough, that is to say Renato Bosco, Simone Padoan and Gabriele Bonci.

As for the toppings of his pizzas (in multiple versions: classic with a thick or smaller edge, Roman style, from a dough of 180 grams; pizza alla pala; one made almost exclusively with wholewheat and very soft, one with natural fermentation, all with Petra® Molino Quaglia flour), he uses ingredients whose research always goes beyond the borders of Sicily

«I read a lot, watch what my colleagues are doing, and I get inspired from my annual trip to Alto Adige, which unfortunately I missed this year. When I find an attractive product, I start to create the right recipe around it».

And speaking of right recipes, Friedi has a recipe for bread too, with Sicilian flour from Tumminia, Maiorca, Russello and Petra Evolutiva, sourdough and 24 hours of leavening.

«Bread is another passion of mine. I make the dough on the Friday, bake it on the Saturday morning and by lunchtime my clients can pick it». And who knows if the next adventure might be opening a bakery...

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Mariella Caruso