The traditional Neapolitan pizza recipe
The Neapolitan Pizza is a masterpiece of simplicity, showcasing the artistry of creating a perfect harmony between a thin, chewy crust and a symphony of flavours coming from locally sourced ingredients. Its origins can be traced back to the bustling streets of Naples, where dedicated pizzaioli have been perfecting their craft for centuries.
Our recipe below is expanded from the Association of the Neapolitan pizza (Associazione Pizza Verace Napoletana), and of course it can be adapted to your needs, however the procedure shall remain the same.
Ingredients for approximately 10 pizzas with a 30 cm diameter.
1L of water
50g of salt
3-5g of brewer's yeast (depends on the season, less yeast in warmer weather and more yeast in winter) - If you use dry yeast: 1g although this does not follow the original recipe
1.7/1.8kg Caputo Flour
San Marzano Tomato Sauce
Any other ingredient you would like to use as toppings (no pineapple!)
The original Neapolitan pizza dough only requires four ingredients: water, flour, brewer's yeast, and salt. The flour should be a soft type 00 wheat flour with a strength between W 280 and W 320, we recommend our Molino Caputo.
You can use fresh brewer's yeast or dry/compressed yeast with low acidity and a grey/straw colour and a mild flavour, however brewer's yeast is preferred.
In a bowl or in the mixer's (for those who have one), pour all the water and salt, and wait for the salt to dissolve. After that, add a small amount of flour (around 10% or a tablespoon) and finally the yeast.
Start stirring with a spoon (or with the mixer on the lowest speed) until the yeast is dissolved. Gradually pour in the flour and continue mixing so that it is fully absorbed by the water. Keep going until all the flour is used and completely absorbed: this process should take no more than 10 minutes.
For those using a mixer, continue to work the dough at the lowest speed for another 20 minutes. For those using their hands, gradually start kneading with a circular motion, taking the dough from below, lifting it, bringing it over, and firmly pressing it down (but without exaggerating) with the palm facing downward. Continue with this movement until all the flour is absorbed, and the dough has come away from the sides of the bowl (this is called "incordata" in jargon).
Prepare a floured work surface and transfer the dough onto it, continuing to knead with both hands this time, for at least fifteen minutes. The movement should be the same as before but done with two hands. The dough should never be torn apart as it would ruin the already formed gluten network.
Knead until the dough becomes smooth, soft, and elastic. The dough should feel slightly moist to the touch but not stick to your hands. If you lightly press your fingers into the dough and the holes slowly close up, then the dough is ready.
Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest in a draft-free place (wind is the number one enemy as it tends to dry out the dough and form a crust) at a temperature between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius if possible. Usually the inside of the oven is a great candidate for this.
Once the dough has doubled in size, we can move on to the next phase, which involves "recompact the dough by working it with both hands as if it were being kneaded again, but this time being more delicate, as we only need to give it the classic "round bread" shape.
According to the Neapolitan pizza regulations, the weight of each dough ball can vary from 180 to 250 grams (depending on the desired diameter of the pizza, on average 30-35 centimetres). Once made, the dough balls should rest for at least another 4 hours, which can be extended to 6 hours during in winter.
Stretching the pizza and placing it in the oven should be done when the dough ball is sufficiently relaxed and risen. A poorly "relaxed" dough ball tends to return to its initial position when you try to stretch it (the so-called "spring effect"). This step is crucial because, in addition to shaping the pizza, it pushes the air contained in the dough towards the edge, causing it to increase in volume more and prevents the formation of bubbles in the center. This procedure should always be carried out on a work surface (covered with a dusting of flour), using the fingers of both hands, with a movement that gives the impression of pushing the air in the dough towards the edges, pressing and rotating it several times to achieve a uniform result.
Keep in mind that the central part should not be thicker than half a centimetre, while the edge should have a height of 1-2 cm. Remember that the original recipe does not allow the use of any tools in this phase, such as rolling pins or dough presses.
Regarding the topping, a thick San Marzano tomato sauce spread thinly from the center to the edges. The mozzarella should be sliced and dried before cooking, to avoid making the pizza base too wet.
A true Neapolitan DOC pizza should be baked in a wood-fired oven for 60-90 seconds at a temperature of 485 degrees Celsius. Since these are definitely rare into our homes, excellent pizzas can also be made in gas or electric ovens at their highest temperature. Time wise: 4-5 minutes, but it really depends on the temperature you can reach.
Once the crust starts to look dry, add the mozzarella and put back into the oven for a couple of minutes, or until all melted. Remove, add any ingredient you fancy and enjoy!