NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH like World Best Pizza Chef
Neapolitan pizza is the most recognized in the world, but many get it wrong, so I’ve enlisted world champion pizza maker, Johnny Di Francesco to teach us his secrets to making the finest pizza dough. True to Italian tradition, Neapolitan pizza dough is made up of very few ingredients, water, salt, yeast and all-important flour. The taste and crunch make all the difference, so watch as we pair it back and respect the simplicity of this fine dough.
This is the first episode in a series completely dedicated to pizza. If you aren’t already obsessed with perfecting your version of Neapolitan pizza, you will be with these traditional methods that will ensure you get it right each and every time.
How to make NEAPOLITAN PIZZA Dough like the World Best Pizza Chef JOHNNY DI FRANCESCO
600 ml – 2.5 cups water (room temperature)
1 kg – 35 oz Le 5 Stagioni Napoletana Pizza Flour, Tipo 00 (RED)
30 g – 5 teaspoons of salt
1-2 g – half teaspoon of fresh yeast
Large mixing bowl
Table or bench space
OPTIONAL: This pizza can also be made using a stand mixer
- To make authentic Neapolitan pizza, get your mixing bowl, pour in 600ml of water and add 30g salt.
- Mix this well using your hand to help dissolve the salt.
JOHNNY’S TIP: Never contaminate the salt with the yeast. To avoid this you must follow the next step and add 10% flour.
- Add 100g (10% flour) to the water and mix it through with your hands until the flour dissolves. This will result in a crepe/pancake consistency.
- Next, add the yeast to the mix helping it to quickly melt in the water using your fingers an mix through with your hand again.
- Now, the important part, add the 5 Stagioni Neapolitan Flour using one hand, a small amount at a time, not all at once and mix with your other hand as you go.
JOHNNY’S TIP: As you add the flour, use one hand to hold the edge of the bowl and the other to mix, then guide yourself turning the bowl and the flour making sure to clean all the sides so nothing is wasted.
- Once the dough has started to come together really well, flip it out on to a bench and start to knead it with both hands absorbing all the remaining flour.
- Keep working the dough until you find it has come together and has a smooth consistency.
- Next you need to check if your dough has been worked enough and you have 2 options”:
- Press down on the dough ball with one finger and if it bounces back, chances are, it’s ready!
- Using a thermometer check the temperature of the dough by sticking it right into its core and aiming for a temperature of between 23°C – 26°C/ 73.4°C – 74.8°C
- Once ready, place the Neapolitan pizza dough aside to rest on a flat surface, covering it with a damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out. Leave this to rest for at least 2hr.
- Once 2hr have passed, it’s time to make your dough balls. To do this, cut a piece of your dough and weigh it on a scale aiming for 250g/8.8oz.
- To make the dough ball, the easiest way, roll it in a circular motion over and again in the one spot, using the palm of your hand until you have a smooth surface, round ball.
- Once you have made the Neapolitan pizza dough balls, place them in a flat surface air tight container. Leave this in an ambient location with a temperature between 16°C – 18°C / 60.8°F – 64.4°F for 24hr.
- After 24hr your dough balls should have risen and are ready to use. Sprinkle flour on to the bench, placing the dough on top and starting an inch from the bottom and working your way an inch from the top, press down using your fingers. Then stop, turn it over and repeat until you have a small round base with a “cornicione” (crust).
- Gently stretch this by then picking up the dough and slightly stretching it onto one forearm then flipping it onto the bench. Repeat this before shaping it into a circle and then resting it on your bench.
HOW TO MAKE A NEAPOLITAN MARGHERITA
- Start by spreading Italian tomato sauce on to your base using the back of a spoon in a circular motion.
- Add fresh basil leaves, a sprinkle of dry oregano, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and thinly sliced cherry tomatoes.
- Place the pizza in a woodfire oven at 400°C/757°F to cook (or using the MAX temp on your oven at home and a pizza stone)
- To turn the pizza and cook it even on both sides, pull it out, turn it then push it back in.
- Once it is ready, break up a large buffalo mozzarella using your hands and serve this fresh on the Neapolitan pizza.
HOW TO MAKE NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH WITH A STAND MIXER:
- Start process the same, adding all ingredients to the mixer, making sure not to add all the flour at once.
- Once you have added the flour, and the dough has absorbed most of it, flip the Neapolitan pizza dough out on to a bench and knead it well using both hands.
HOW TO SERVE:
This classic Neapolitan pizza is best served and eaten hot. Some like sharing but most don’t – decide before it’s out of the oven or it will all be gone at once!
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate…Enjoy!
Here is another Neapolitan Pizza Recipe made by another Pizza Chef. Check out the difference between the 2 versions:
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