Behind the bluster, however, it's clear that Mascoli takes pizzas very seriously. He is particularly obsessed with dough, and is a mine of information regarding gluten, proofing temperatures and rising times. Before he and Hugo opened Franco Manca, they turned his kitchen into a dough laboratory; it took them months to perfect the recipe. Franco Manca's pizzas have a sourdough crust, which means that the dough is made using a starter culture, not yeast. The starter Mascoli and Hugo use was stolen by a friend from a bakery on Ischia (a small island off the coast of Naples) and, he says, dates from at least the 1730s. 'If it's that old, it's likely to be good.'
"It was the most interesting of the various sessions Iâ€™ve run on this theme. Umair gives good analogy and his comparison of the social media chaff weâ€™re creating by the truckload with the toxic debt produced by the financial community was instructive. He said that the increasingly clever and sophisticated architectures weâ€™re developing are like the impossibly exotic financial derivatives that have brought a large part of the investment banking industry to his knees. I suggested we might liken the wasteful, unsustainable social media thatâ€™s beginning to clog the wires to the smog that disfigures big cities everywhere."