NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH with BIGA (Makes approx. 6 balls):
Neapolitan pizza dough with biga will give you a more light, soft dough full of flavour. Learning the technique of creating biga is like an art and your hands are your best tools! Join me and special guest: Alfonso Santaniello as he teaches us this incredible technique! Then, create this fluffly and flavoursome dough before stretching out a rich and rustic pizza using your favourite – simple, toppings. Do you prefer using biga or fresh yeast to make pizzas?
1g/1/4 tesapoon dry yeast
500g/17.6oz flour (more than 300W or 13% protein)
400ml/1.6 cups water
30g/1.1oz fine salt
OPTIONAL: ½ g / ¼ teaspoon dry yeast + Canola oil OR Extra virgin olive oil
PLUS: Your choice of toppings + extra virgin olive oil
Large container to prepare your biga
Table/Bench or large marble/wooden board
Your hands! OPTIONAL: This pizza it’s easier if made using a stand mixer
Pizza oven (OR home electric oven)
HOW TO MAKE THE BIGA:
- Biga is a pre-yeast which you start to make by mixing the dry yeast with the water. Use a whisk and do this really well in a mixing bowl until the yeast has dissolved.
- Add flour to a separate large container (this must be 3 x larger than your dough to allow room for it to grow), then slowly pour the water in, just a small amount at a time, all over the flour.
- Lift and shake the container side to side for around 3 minutes – don’t be too rough!
- Now put the lid on top and shake it more vigorously a few times, scraping down the sides if any gets stuck to the sides using a spatula.
- You can also gently mix this by running it through your hands.
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: By this stage, you should notice the biga forming long strands as well as small masses – this is normal and means it is working!
- Continue shaking the container until all of the water is absorbed by the flour and your biga is formed.
- Put the lid securely on the container and leave it in the fridge for 14hr (4°C) or outside of the fridge at room temperature: 18°C being mindful the temperature must be consistent!
- After 14hr, remove the lid and take note of the smell. If it has a yoghurt-like scent, you’re on track, if it smells acidic; you may need to start again.
HOW TO MAKE NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH WITH BIGA:
- Break away and measure 500g/17.6oz biga and add it to a bowl. Start to break it down and gently pull it apart.
- Slowly add the water with the biga, keeping 50ml aside for a later step.
- Next gently mix the biga together with the water (in a massage like motion) and you will see it start to turn white. Once you have done this for around 2 minutes and it is really milky looking, start to integrate the flour.
- Add the optional yeast (highly recommended) as this will boost the dough and then mix it with your hands or a spoon.
- Mix this together for a while until everything comes together and then transfer the dough onto your bench.
- Add the fine salt and then pour some of the (leftover) water on top which will help to dissolve it. Mix well once again.
- You can use the palms of your hands as well as your fists to roll, work and press down on the dough really well.
- Add more water to the Neapolitan pizza dough with biga and repeat the movement, working the dough with both hands and getting faster as you go.
- Lift and fold the dough over a few times before lifting it and slapping it onto the bench.
ALFONSO’S TIP: At this point, you need to work fast as the dough is sticky and its best if you don’t add any flour (at least try not to!). If you prefer, you can also make this dough using a kitchen aid.
- Drizzle your choice of oil on top and rub it in and all over the dough, letting It rest on the bench for 20 minutes. Use canola oil to achieve a crispy texture and extra virgin if you want it softer.
- Using your hands, break a piece of the dough and weigh it until you reach 250g/8.8oz. Create your Neapolitan pizza dough with biga dough balls using this by shaping it in your bench, before lifting it up, squeezing it in one hand and removing the excess using the other – essentially creating a ball!
- Repeat step 20 until all of your dough balls have been made, placing them into a container /tray and covering them either with a lid or using kitchen tea towels.
- Leave them to rest at room temperature for 8hr or overnight in the fridge at a temperature of 4-6°C for 12-24hr.
- After the relevant time has passed, uncover the dough balls.
ALFONSO’S TIP: If you leave your dough to rest in the fridge, once you remove them, let them rest for 2hr at room temperature before using.
HOW TO STRETCH YOUR NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH WITH BIGA:
- Place your neopolitan pizza dough with biga ball on the bench sprinkling some plain flour or semolina on each side.
- Leaving it on the bench, use the sides of your hands to start to mould and stretch out the dough into a round shape, then using your fingertips, slightly stretch it out.
- Next, try out the Neapolitan technique of lifting the pizza dough with one hand, then turning and slapping it with the other (watch the video to master this!).
HOW TO COOK AND SERVE YOUR NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH WITH BIGA:
- Choose your toppings!
- A wood fire oven should be at a temperature of 400°C/752°F / Electric oven should be at 250°C/482°F.
- Using a table spoon, add tomato sauce and spread it all over using the bottom of your spoon along with a drizzle of EVOO.
- Transfer the pizza onto your peel and place it in the oven.
- Let it sit then again using the peel, lift the pizza and move it around in a gentle but swift circular motion – repeat this step.
- Now move the pizza closer to the front of the oven and let it cook under the heat but lifted on the peel, then remove and place back on to the bench.
ALFONSO’S TIP: Never let the pizza touch the top of the oven – if it does, don’t eat this pizza!
- Garnish the Neopolitan pizza with biga using fresh slices of San Daniele prosciutto with scoops of straciatella cheese.
- Drizzle with a small amount of EVOO and truffle paste before slicing the pizza and eating it right away!
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate…Enjoy!
Here are some great Pizza recipes you Must learn:
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