Here's the recipe we make at our pizza classes - it's the classic Neapolitan recipe we use in wood burning ovens but can also make a great pizza in a regular home oven.
Dough ingredients (makes 6-7 pizzas)
- 1 kg flour (00 or All Purpose)
- 600-650 g cool water (see WATER QUANTITY note below)*
- 27 gr fine salt
- 1 g (approx 1/2 teaspoon) instant dry yeast
- (Optional) 20 g of olive oil (see OLIVE OIL note below)*
Toppings (per 250 g pizza)
- 80 gr canned plum or San Marzano tomatoes
- 80 gr fresh mozzarella (also called “for di latte”)
- A handful of fresh basil
- Grated parmigiano QB (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil QB
How to make the dough
- In a mixing bowl, add the yeast to the water and stir.
- Add half the flour, and work with a fork until the mixture is smooth, no lumps.
- Add the salt, and half the remaining flour, and keep stirring till you have a smooth mixture again.
- Add the remaining flour, and begin kneading with your hand. When the flour is absorbed, add the olive oil (if using) and continue to knead until no longer sticky.
- Empty the dough onto a work surface (wood is best) and continue kneading for 5-6 minutes.
- Cover and let the dough rest for 3-5 minutes to relax.
- Transfer to a lightly floured surface and fold for several minutes until smooth. If necessary (your dough is not smooth enough) you can repeat this step one or two more times. You know the dough is ready when it's smooth, and when you can press your finger into it and it bounces back into shape.
- Form a tight smooth ball of dough and place in a clean bowl (some people lightly oil the bowl to prevent sticking). The bowl should be at least twice the size of your dough.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a heavy damp cloth, and let sit for 1-2 hours before placing in the refrigerator. (If you don't have time, you can skip this step)
- Allow the dough to ferment in the fridge overnight. You can leave it there up to three days.
- 6-8 hours before you plan to making the pizza, remove the dough from refrigerator and let rise.
- Approximately 3 hrs before baking, cut and shape the dough into 6-8 balls, depending how big you want your pizzas. Keep them covered until you are ready to make your pizzas.
How to make the pizza
- Several hours prior to baking (or earlier), dice the fior di latte in small pieces, or tear it up with your hands for a more rustic effect. Place in a colander in the sink or large bowl to drain excess water.
- Preheat the oven on highest temperature it'll go, typically 500°. If using a pizza stone, allow approximately 40 mins for it to get hot.
- Pour tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hands. Add a little fine sea salt to taste, and set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, begin pressing the dough with your fingers, working out from the centre, so the air in the dough is pushed out the periphery, forming the crust. Do this once per side, then rotate the dough 90° and repeat
- Begin lightly stretching and rotating the dough for several minutes until you have a circular dough, 8-10 inches in diameter. When it’s done, give it a shake to get the excess flour, which can cause burning in the oven.
- Spoon the tomatoes and spread evenly, spiralling outward with a large spoon. Then evenly spread out the mozzarella and top with basil. Dust with Parmigiano (optional), and finish with swirl of extra virgin olive oil.
- Carefully slide onto a pizza peel and insert in oven, directly on the pizza stone or pizza steal.
- Bake for 6-9 minutes depending on the strength of your oven. Pizza crust and bottom should be slight golden brown when done. (see note on BAKING TIME / ADDING TOPPINGS).
- Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes to cool off. Then slice in four and eat while still hot
- BAKING TIME / ADDING TOPPINGS - If you find the mozzarella is caramelizing (turning a brown) when you bake the pizza, try baking the pizza dough with sauce only for 3-5 minutes till pizza is almost finished, then taking it out of the oven and adding basil, cheese, etc. Put the pizza back in the oven and bake till cheese is melted and crust is golden colour.
- WATER QUANTITY - When making pizza napoletana in a wood oven, the traditional water amount is 600 g per 1000 g flour. But in a home oven the pizza tends to dry out when baking, so it's common to use between 625-650 g of water, depending on the oven and your personal taste. Keep in mind however that the more water you use, the stickier the dough, so for your first few attempts it's safest to use 600 g water, and slowly increase the water content only after you've mastered the basic dough.
- OLIVE OIL - When making pizza for a standard home oven (not a pizza oven) some people add olive oil (or a bit of sugar or honey) to give the crust of the pizza a more brownish "caramelized" look
- PANS / PIZZA STONES - Perforated pans work better than regular ones. But for best results we recommend a good quality pizza stone or pizza steal. Heat the stone at 500° for 40-60 minutes before baking and slide the pizza directly onto it. Its a good idea to get a small pizza peel to easily slide pizzas on and off the stone.
- PIZZA BIANCA - If you are making a pizza bianca (no tomato sauce) follow the same recipe but add a little extra mozzarella and oil to prevent your pizza from getting dry and brittle