Noch's at a Glance
“Pizza is one of the best foods to make people happy,” says the 57-year-old DiCenso. And if the pictures of smiling sports teams on the wall and customers who know DiCenso by name are any indication, his claim is true. “The people here know a good slice of pizza when they find one,” DiCenso says. How do the best slices in the Square come into being? Read on.
How to make Noch’s famous Sicilian pie:
- Electric mixer combines flour, yeast, salt, sugar, water and oil to make a 50-pound mass of dough. On a busy Friday or Saturday night, Noch’s goes through two such batches.
- The mixture is separated into four-pound loaves and placed in a warm area of the kitchen to settle.
- The first kneading occurs anytime from one to 10 hours after the dough is mixed. The four-pound loaf is massaged and stretched slightly, then left to sit until pizza supply is running low.
- During the second kneading, the dough is stretched across a large Sicilian pan, leaving excess dough around the edges for the crust. The pan is covered with a thin layer of sauce and then left to rise in the warm nook above the oven for about 10 minutes.
- When the crust has gotten just a little bit puffy, the pizza is ready to be covered with more sauce, cheese and other toppings. Seven to eight minutes in the oven is all it takes to cook.
Birthplace of Noch’s recipe: Abruzzi, Italy (DiCenso’s hometown).
Years DiCenso has been in the pizza-making business in America: 44.
Years at Noch’s: 18.
Average number of bakers and pizza-makers in the kitchen: three or four for pizzas, one for subs.
Number of years employees have worked at Noch’s: Between four and 12. Only after working for several years, according to DiCenso, do Noch’s bakers pick up “the special touch.” New bakers start out on sub-making duty—only more experienced employees get to make pizza.
Average number of pizza slices eaten by bakers each shift: 3.5.
Most demanded pizza slice: Tomato basil (always made with fresh basil, even during winter months when the price of basil skyrockets). Workers during the day prefer pepperoni, but most students and Cambridge residents go for veggie-topped slices.
DiCenso’s definition of a good slice of pizza: “It has to be well done, golden brown and crispy. No toppings—just a little hot pepper salsa to bring out the taste. And no Parmesan cheese.”