Coal-fired pizza gaining in popularity

In the beginning, pizza was cooked with coal – which early Italian immigrants found a cost-effective way to heat their ovens.

Then came electricity and gas. And what followed was the rise of inexpensive, mass-produced pizzas with softer, doughier crusts, cooked at lower temperatures.

But now, everything old is new again. A new generation of pizza-maker is building coal-fired ovens throughout North Jersey and serving up distinctive creations with charred, stretchy-yet-crisp bottoms.

"With traditional pizza, they overcook the pizza because they have to overcook the dough, and the ingredients are dried out," said Tommy Bonfiglio, who opened the fourth outpost of his Tommy's Coal-Fired Pizza at Paramus Park mall in December.

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