I’ve posted my basic and versatile pizza dough recipe before, but this is a different one which I’d like to share. It’s much simpler than the other recipe which can make a good range of different pizzas. This one on the other hand gets you as close as possible to the faithful original pizza Napoletana – how they have long done and still do it in Naples.
To make 4 individual sized small pizzas
- 500g of strong white flour (Tipo 00 if possible – Caputo Molino brand recommended)
- 2g of dried yeast (lievito di birra)
- 5g of salt
- 300mL of water (to achieve 60% hydration of dough)
- Semolina flour (for dusting when you make the pizza)
That’s it! Not much is there, but the process is everything here…
- Activate dried yeast with 300mL of blood-warm water and allow to stand for 30mins until frothed
- Add salt and water/yeast mix to flour and combine into rough dough
- Progressively knead the ingredients into a smooth dough, you will know when it is ready as it is no longer sticky and forms a smooth coherent ball.
- Place in bowl and cover with damp towel
- Allow 1-3 hours standing at room temperature depending on ambient temperature
- Move to fridge and allow slow proving to continue in cold overnight. Allow at least 24-hours proving time – this is the key to this dough!
- Remove from fridge 1-2 hours prior to use. Divide into dough balls and allow to rise again.
Be careful not to flatten gas pockets out of dough when handling and NEVER roll the dough out with a rolling pin – gently press it out to size with the tips of your fingers to preserve air pockets if you want a bubbly light crust.
Now I’m going to burst the excitement bubble right now and say this doesn’t work at all well unless you can generate sufficient heat to cook the dough properly. Otherwise you simply will not get a proper Neapolitan pizza.
You need to generate at least 400C in my opinion and a proper forno a legna (wood fired pizza oven) can generate up to 800C which is why you get all of those lovely burns and blisters on the crust.
Let’s assume you don’t have a wood fired oven (yet) and your home oven only reaches 350C. You can cook the pizza base in a hot frying pan or skillet and then transfer it to the grill to cook the toppings. This method is very effective and you can even get nice blisters on the base. Really, the only thing absent is the wood flavour.