Pizza, Focaccia and Specialty Breads

Traditional & Innovative Hearth Oven Pizza, Classic & Modern Focaccie & Gastronomic Breads, Natural Yeast Techniques

Covering all Aspects of the Pizza and Bread Industries: Quick Service, Retail & Gourmet
Includes Raw Material Analysis, Menu Development, Equipment, Staffing & Operations


Certificate Program Instructed by the ICI Masters

One Week Full Immersion for Chefs, Restaurant Owners, Bakers & Home Gourmets

LEARN, COOK, FEAST and live this everyday

About this program

This dynamic hands-on program begins with an extended tasting of the raw ingredients needed to make perfect pizza, focaccia and specialty breads in the Italian tradition. The science of making natural yeast, sour dough and their eventual fermentation requirements are all covered in detail.

Whether hearth baked or conventionally made, Pizza continues to command the western world’s largest share of all sectors of Food and Beverage. Although many countries have different ways to make these classic foods, it is important to note that they are genuinely Italian and there is no better place in the world to master the art than in Italy.

This program covers all aspects of pizza making, cooking methods for wood burning, electric and gas ovens, different yeasts and rising techniques, development of pizza menus, conservation, pricing, workplace staffing and much more!

Classic focaccia varies between regions and this course covers all of the principle production areas. In addition to making Ligurian, Pugliese and Sicilian focaccia, all participants are shown how to make personalized focaccia incorporating flavors and rising techniques that will work best wherever they make the delicacy.

The origins of bread making date back millenniums before Italy existed. With this being said, Italy remains on of the principle bread producing countries on earth and Italian breads are amongst the most popular globally. Traditional breads and new creations are made demonstrating the proper techniques for new recipe development.



  • Private transfer from Lamezia Terme Airport to the hotel.
  • Check in at the hotel.
  • Welcome dinner
  • Overnight at the hotel
  • Breakfast at the hotel

Colazione Italiana alla Artigiana (Degustation of Artisan Italian Baked Delicacies)

We begin every program with an extended degustation. Tasting many of the delicacies before we make them gives insight and understanding of why we use certain techniques for each preparation. Texture, color and flavor can all be modified and tweaked to anyone’s personal preferences by referring to the original preparations as our benchmarks.

In the age of packaged breads, industrially made condiments and frozen pizza, these classic Italian delicacies have become as exclusive as fine dining..

This tasting includes vast array of hearth breads, genuine focaccia and pizzette are accompanied with the best Italian cheeses, charcuterie, vegetables and verdure. So rare, even in Italy, an artisan tasting spanning regions can only be found at select cafés in five star hotels.

We begin this and every program with tasting and never stop…

  • Making doughs
    • An analysis of procedure and applications for making Direct (Straight) and Indirect (Sponge) Doughs
      • Mise en place
      • Weighing
      • Temperature
      • Mixing (calculating time and temperature)
      • Forming n.1
      • Reposing
      • First fermentation
      • Forming n.2
      • Second fermentation
      • Cooking
      • Cooling
      • Conservation

It is indispensable that we mix properly the first time because we don’t get a second chance. Therefore we create a mixing formula for each delicacy produced.

  • New Recipe Development: how to create your own doughs.
    • Bakers Math
    • Flavor Profiles
    • Textural Preferences
    • Aspect, shape, size and color
  • Equipment Evaluation: Overview and demonstration of the equipment, materials and tools, for the production of pizza, focaccia and breads.
    • Ovens
      • Convection vs. Static
      • Gas vs. Electric
    • Wood Burning Open Hearths
      • Custom vs. Prefabricated
  • Tools and Appliances
  • Lunch
  • Lesson resumes

Natural beauty..

  • Production: the mother’s yeast

Although we can trace it back to 4000 years ago, natural yeast, or mother’s yeast, is probably much older. Among its many benefits, this original ‘sour dough’ adds flavor to our baked goods, renders a more digestible product than industrially made yeasts and extends shelf life.

The mother’s yeast used for the rest of the course will already be made since it will take several days for ours to ferment and mature. We will maintain our yeast everyday of the week to ensure that participants are ready to make their own on upon return to home.

Methods to maintain mother’s yeast for a lifetime are shown and each participant will create and keep his/her mother’s yeast in traditional Italian binding.

  • Production: pizza doughs
    • Preparation of pizza doughs for days 3 and 4 that require 24 – 48 hours total fermentation.
  • Production and tasting
    • Calzone
    • Panzerotti
    • Pizza Fritta
  • End of lesson.
  • Dinner
  • Overnight at the hotel

Pizza Fritta

Pizza fritta dolce..and the Mediterranean Sea..

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Perfect pizza, focaccia and breads begin with selecting perfect ingredients both for the bases as well as the condiments.
    • Analysis and tasting of popular and lesser known raw materials that are necessary to construct authentic baked products in Regional Italian and Mediterranean Cuisine.
      • Cheeses and Cured
      • Meats: DOP
      • Olives, Sundried and
      • Conserved Vegetables
      • Truffles and Mushrooms
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • In-depth examination of Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils including regional differentiation, gustatory perception and the proper methods which define the use of specific oils with particular cuisines as well as their positions in the menu. Tasting conducted according to guidelines established by Maestri Oleari (Italian Master Olive Oil Sommelier Association).

Extra virgin olive oil is the most utilized fat in regional Italian baking. Identifying the highest quality oils is fundamental to create authentic Italian flavor.

  • Infusing oils
    • Cold
    • Hot
    • Fast infusions
    • Infusing for long conservation
  • Technical Overview for Flours and Grains
    • Chemistry review: analysis of Italy’s unique flours for taste, texture, elasticity, longevity of the finished product, cost and international availability or substitutions.
    • Includes the common types of flours used for breads such as tender wheat, semola, durum wheat, corn flour and whole wheat as well as more uncommon flours such as spelt, buckwheat, truffle flour, chestnut flour, etc.
    • Identifying international flour grades (“0”, “00”, etc.) and creating ‘miscela’: combining flours for a personalized product.

Most of them look the same but all flour is different. Knowing how to identify the correct flour or flour combinations is imperative in order to create exactly what we want. Therefore, the biochemistry of flour is thoroughly covered to understand what happens to the most important raw ingredient in baking in every phase of the production process.

  • Knowing yeast and proper applications for mother’s yeast, natural yeast, compressed yeast and dry yeast including scientific principles, identifying common utilization problems and choosing the right yeast, or yeasts, for each production.
  • Lunch
  • Lesson resumes
  • Misenplace of component ingredients for the following day of pizza production
    • Sauces
      • Simple tomato sauce
      • Pizza sauce
      • Salsa napoletana
      • Sauces and unconventional toppings centering on healthier cuisine emphasizing reduction techniques, infusions and ‘crudo’.
      • Experimenting with sauce uniformities for ‘need for speed’.
    • Toppings
      • Cheeses
      • Cured meats
      • Vegetables
      • Seafood

From truffles to field greens, real artisan pizza is topped with only the best ingredients available.

  • Special Diets/Special Needs focuses on an ever increasing clientele who chooses or is required to adhere to a special diet
  • Lighting the wood burning hearth pizza oven for the following day
    • Choosing wood
    • Controlling temperature
    • Hygiene and sanitation
  • End of lesson
  • Dinner
  • Overnight at the hotel

Lighting and maintaining a constant temperature in an artisan hearth oven is indispensable for making perfect pizza and baking specialty breads.

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Hands on production for the principle types of Italian pizza.
    • Pizza al taglio
      • Pizza that it cooked in trays in a conventional oven for eventual resale or reheat for clients or guests. Italy’s version of the original ‘fast food’.
    • Pizza romana
      • Thin crusted round pizza cooked in a hearth, electric or gas pizza oven.
    • Pizza a metro
      • Pizza with origins in Sorrento, typically made one meter long in a wood burning oven.

Pizza al metro can be seasoned and topped with anything and is always delicious as long as the dough is perfect..

  • Lunch
  • Lesson resumes
  • Pizza napoletana
    • Most traditional of all pizzas
  • Maintenance of yeasts, sour doughs and starters.
  • Production: preparation of base doughs, pre-dough, yeasts and starters for following days’ lessons.
    • Biga
    • Poolisch
  • End of lesson
  • Dinner
  • Overnight at the hotel

Pizza napoletana is the most traditional of all pizzas characterized by its high borders, long fermentation and utilization of the freshest and finest ingredients.

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Examination of Regional Italian focaccie and pizza and their international gastronomic and economic importance in Italian culinary culture, food service and fine dining. Many focaccia are rarely seen outside of Italy and, as they can be made in a myriad of flavors and sizes, these are perfect as a substitute to bread for volume catering and distribution.
  • Preparing and lighting the hearth oven for afternoon segment
  • Focaccia Production: preparation of doughs for traditional Italian regional and international focaccia using with natural yeast, mixed yeast and compressed yeast techniques.
    • Classic Regional Focaccia
      • Liguria
      • Tuscany
      • Rome
      • Puglia
      • Sicily

Focaccia genovese, one of 15 types of focaccia prepared in this program.

    • Filled ‘Fantasy’ Focaccia
      • Meat
      • Vegetable and Verdure
      • Cheese
      • Seafood
      • Dessert focaccia
    • Flat Focaccia
      • Herbs
      • Cheese
      • Spices
  • Lunch
  • Creating pizza menus:
    • Quick order & retail
    • Fine dining
    • Catering
  • Pizza Production: preparation of personal pizzas
    • Each participant creates signature pizzas based on yesterday’s classics.
      • Participants prepare several types of hearth pizza and focaccia along side the chef to perfect the art of cooking in the 400 C deg. hearth.
  • The lesson ends with a pizza party, tasting and discussion of the various techniques and
    flavor combinations used by each participant.
  • End of lesson
  • Dinner
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Pizza Party is an integral part of this program. It allows participants unlimited creativity while working alongside master bakers. And it’s a lot of fun too..

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Bread Production: Traditional Regional Italian
    • Schüttelbrot, Alto Adige
    • Grissini, Piemonte
    • Mantovane, Lombardia
    • La Tigella, Emilia Romagna

Mantovane can incorporate two different color and flavor doughs for a complex and ascetically beautiful product..

  • Lunch
  • Bread Production continues: Traditional Regional Italian
    • Carasau, Sardegna
    • Pagnotta Pugliese, Puglia
    • La Panella, Basilicata
    • Pitta, Calabria
    • Mafalda, Sicily

Production in proofing stage (2nd and 3rd fermentation).

  • End of lesson.
  • Dinner at a classic hearth oven pizzeria.
    • Pizzerias in Italy are distinguished in several ways in Italy. Tonight we visit a hearth pizzeria. Pizza from a wood burning oven is a delicacy enjoyed in a unique festive atmosphere, especially amongst colleagues. After days of pizza production, participants are ready to make the comparison.
  • Overnight at the hotel
  • Breakfast at the hotel
    • Market Visit
      Early morning visit to a traditional mercatino for tastings and shopping.
      A typical Italian open air market offers culinarians an insight to the country’s most traditional customs and an opportunity to browse foods,
    • Free time at mercatino

Mercatino..a culinarian’s playground..

  • Transfer a the seaside town for a tasting of Cirò wines.

Cirò means “Cyprus” in Italian and is the place where the Ancient Greeks founded in 710BC as part of Magna Grecia or Great Greece. Here, participants will taste the same wines that opened the ceremonies at the 2004 Olympic Ceremonies in Athens.

The Cirò D.O.C. red wines are among the oldest wines in Europe and have recently been dubbed as “Super Southerns” by the world’s most authoritative wine publications.

In the last 20 years, the region has become renown for a limited selection of super whites as well. We’ll taste them alongside typical cured meats and cheeses from the area’s top producers.

  • Artisan Gelato Tasting
    • Gelato is now the world’s fastest growing sector of patisserie In Italy, it even exceeds pizza in sales volume. A chef must know everything about gastronomy. This knowledge not only comes from studying but from tasting as well.
  • Return to laboratory
  • Bread Production: Gastronomic Breads: hands-on assembly using both natural yeast and fast rising procedures with dry, fresh and liquid flavors (spices; herbs; fats; cured & sundried vegetables; emulsions).
    • Panettone Salato
    • Pane di Risotto
    • Pane di Mozzarella
    • Pane di Spinaci
    • Ciabatta e ciabattina
    • Panini Speciali, flavored, multi colored rolls for restaurant and banquet service.
  • Lunch

Savory Panettone, endless flavour options!


  • Personalized Breads
    • Based on everything we’ve produced and the knowledge gained during the past days, each participant prepares a personal bread alongside a master baker assuring that everyone knows how to create a recipe for any type of baked delicacy.
  • Tasting and discussion.
  • Awarding of certificates.
  • Gala dinner
  • Overnight at the hotel.


  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer to Lamezia Terme airport
  • Arrivederci!!!


PRICE: €2595 per person


  • Private transfer from Lamezia Terme International Airport to the hotel.
  • Theoretical and practical lessons & all related costs at the Italian Culinary Institute and onsite locations. (50+ hrs. Full Immersion over 1 week)
  • ICI Recipe & Techniques Manual
  • Accommodations at the ICI Hotel. (**Dbl. Occ.) 7 Nts.
  • Full use of Hotel facilities.
  • Complete board: All meals with wines included at the Hotel, local restaurants and special destinations during excursions.
  • Special excursions (including transfers):
    • Visit and wine tasting in at an enoteca
    • Visit and tasting in at an Artisan Gelato Shop
    • Dinner at a Hearth Oven Pizzeria
    • Visit to Mercatino
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Tax and gratuities
  • All meals include wines, bottled water, tax and gratuities.

*Price does not include airfare or other travel during free time.
**Price based on double occupancy. Single supplement is €225 pp


Enroll and change dates free of charge
The Italian Culinary Institute offers participants the flexibility to change course dates and even switch courses at anytime and for any reason at no cost.