Today you’re going to learn how to make authentic Neapolitan Pizza Dough. And you don’t need to wait hours for it to prove.
It’s not always possible to pre-plan when you’re going to have pizza, right?
I know how you feel, I was in the exact same situation — until I found this neapolitan pizza dough recipe!
It only requires 4 ingredients, 10 minutes of kneading and just needs to be proofed for 2 hours. (It tastes amazing as well if I do say so myself)
Check out the recipe for this easy neapolitan pizza dough below.
After the recipe I will also go through some key tips to make your Neapolitan pizza even better, I just didn’t want to force you to read my life story before actually seeing the recipe. ( just give you the recipe already, am I right? )
Neapolitan pizza is one of my favourites. It’s got a large crispy crust with a thin and chewy base. Its not always possible to rise for 24 hours or more, this recipe will have you amazing dough in just a couple of hours.
Keywords: Pizza Dough, Neapolitan Pizza Dough
NOTE: If using straight away then go ahead and stretch out your pizza. If you are not using right away then cover in cling film and store them in the fridge.
Make sure you do take them out 1-2 hours before stretching out, so that the dough does return to room temperature.
Are you still with me? Great!
Pizza was first created in Naples, which is where you will find Neapolitan pizza was born. It has raised edges with a thin and crispy base.
Traditionally, it has a fresh tomato sauce with tasty buffalo mozzarella. Don’t let this stop you though! Be as adventurous as you want to be with toppings.
To be an authentic neapolitan pizza it should be cooked in a wood-fired oven. It’s not a big deal if you don’t have one.
But, believe me you would love the flavour from a pizza oven.
It can be just as nice in your oven with a pizza stone. Really important if you want that authentic neapolitan base.
I know what you’re thinking…
It’s all about the dough..
The most important thing about the Neapolitan Pizza is the crust. It needs to be crispy but at the same time light. When it’s cooking the air will help the edges to really puff out.
The recipe above is a little different to a true authentic neapolitan pizza dough. (There is a good reason for that though!)
A true neapolitan base uses cold water and is left to rise for 8-24 hours. Who has that kind of time?
It all comes down to the heat.
If the dough is warmer, the yeast activates quicker. This makes it rise faster so you don’t need to wait as long. (Most other pizza types will use a lukewarm water)
The recipe itself is the same, simply replace the warm water with cold and leave it to rise for at least 8 hours.
You then need to portion the dough. Just divide the dough mixture up into equal balls of 220-250g. Depending on how big you want your pizza to be of course.
Neapolitan Pizza is then cooked at a very high heat (400+ degrees). Which is why wood-fired pizza ovens were used. They do also give it an amazing smoky flavour
Neapolitan Pizza is one of my favourite types to make. It only needs 4 ingredients.
Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast. (I know what you’re thinking, is that it?)
Quality is important, so let’s break down each ingredient.
You’re not going to get very far in making pizza without flour. If you want to make authentic neapolitan pizza dough, you need to use ‘00’ flour.
I have used Strong White (all-purpose flour) and it turned out fine.
It’s all to do with the gluten content. The higher the gluten the more elastic and stretchy the dough will be. ‘00’ Flour has a high gluten content.
When you knead the dough the gluten strands get bigger. This makes the dough stronger. That’s why you can stretch it so thin.
So basically get ‘00’ if you can, if not a very strong all-purpose flour is fine.
Clean tap water is fine to use. If you are following an authentic recipe and leaving it to rise for 8 hours, make sure the water is cold. The perfect temperature for the dough is 23 degrees.
I cannot plan far enough in advance all the time to go for an authentic dough. So I will use lukewarm water. This takes the proving time down to around 2 hours.
Salt is very important. You should go for a decent quality fine sea salt. The salt will help the dough to retain a little water and CO2. This will make it more elastic.
Salt also helps to stop it tearing when you stretch it. And you do need to stretch it pretty thin!
If you do much cooking, salt is an essential seasoning to enhance flavours. It does the same thing with pizza. The salt helps to bring out the flavour of the crust.
Good luck getting your dough to rise without yeast. Makes this a pretty essential ingredient.
There are 3 types of yeast, fresh, active and instant. For an authentic neapolitan pizza dough you would use fresh yeast.
Active and Instant yeast is more concentrated than fresh. It’s basically stronger. Which is why you need less…
If you are letting it rise for 8+ hours, you will not need a lot of yeast. You will naturally need more if you are wanting it to rise quicker.
So you want to make an authentic neapolitan pizza dough? (And why wouldn’t you!)
Below I am going to break the recipe down step by step.
I make my dough balls in batches of 6 or 12. Below I have done a table showing ingredients needed based on making 2, 4 and 6 dough balls.
Each dough ball will weigh roughly 240g, perfect for 12 inch pizzas.
|2 Dough Balls||4 Dough Balls||6 Dough Balls|
Get yourself a large bowl and pour in all of the water. The water should be cold. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast.
Add the salt to the water and give it a good mix. You want all of the salt to have dissolved.
You want to add 10% of the flour to the water. Mix it up with either a spoon or get your hands in there. (You want to be authentic, get your hands in there!)
We add a little flour first to form a barrier between the salt and yeast. The salt kills the yeast. So the small amount of flour will stop that from happening.
The mixture should now be smooth and have no lumps. Add the yeast and mix until dissolved. Mix with your hands and add the rest of the flour.
Do you know what the dough needs? Yep kneading!
Lightly flour your workstation and place the dough on top. You could use a stand mixer if you want. (You might as well knead by hand if you can though!)
Knead the dough until it’s smooth. This is going to take you about 20 minutes. (You wont need to go to the gym afterwards, that’s for sure!).
You will know you have kneaded it enough if you lightly press the top of the dough. It should spring back. If it doesn’t, you will have to knead for another 5-10 minutes. (Sorry, I bet your arms are feeling it now!)
Now you no doubt need to let your arms rest after that workout. Your dough needs a rest as well. It also had a workout.
Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp cloth or clingfilm. The reason we use a damp cloth or cling film is to stop the dough from drying out.
You want to leave it at room temperature for 2 hours.
After two hours empty out the dough onto a lightly floured worktop. Now we need to divide the dough into the different dough balls.
Next we need to cut some of the dough off and place it on your kitchen scales. You want to have 240 grams worth.
Once you have 240gs, you want to ball the dough balls. This can take a bit of practice. Don’t worry if you cannot get it right away. It took me ages to figure out the technique.
You should now have all of your individual dough balls. Either place them in a proving tray or individual bows.
Cover with cling film or damp cloth and leave to rest. They should be left at room temperature for 20-22 hours. This slow proving will help improve the texture and flavour. It’s well worth the wait!
Now it’s the fun bit, shaping the pizza. It’s something that many people are worried about, don’t be! If I can do it, you can!
You want to make sure you shape the pizza by hand. It’s tempting to use a rolling pin but please don’t!
Using a rolling pin will cause the air bubbles in the dough to pop. This will prevent it rising as much when cooking.
You want to be shaping the pizza with your hands.
From the centre of the dough ball, push your fingers from the middle to the edge. Leave roughly 1cm edge as this will form the crust.
Turn the dough round and continue pushing out. The dough should be stretchy. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t tear.
There are other ways to help stretch the dough even more, such as the wheel method and the parachute method.
No matter what toppings you decide to go for, you need sauce right? Make your own, so much better than a store bought one.
Why go to the trouble of making your own dough if you then just use store sauce. A nice pizza sauce can be made in as little as 5 minutes.
Spoon your sauce onto the center of the pizza. With the backend of the ladle or spoon, spread the sauce around the dough. Make sure you leave 1cm space between the edges.
Add your toppings, be adventurous as you want! Thats the great thing about pizza right?!
One thing you do need to think about is…
The dough is thin. Make sure you do not put too many toppings on. This could make it too heavy and make it harder to launch the pizza into the oven.
Your pizza is now ready to be cooked. Whoop! I’m always excited at this point. And very hungry!
Now for an authentic Neapolitan pizza it should be cooked in a wood-fired oven. These cook at over 400 degrees. The pizza is typically ready in only 60 seconds!
The smoky flavour you get as well is amazing!
I currently use the Ooni Fyra and it is amazing, one I would fully recommend.
You want to transfer your pizza to your peel and give it a little shake every so often. This is to stop the pizza sticking to it. Which it can if you leave it too long.
This is why you need to make sure the oven has reached temperature before putting the toppings on your pizza.
Launch the pizza into the pizza oven. I usually give it 30 seconds and then rotate. Keep an eye on it though, it cooks so quick!
I’ll then rotate it every 15 seconds. This makes sure it gets properly cooked all around the pizza. You should be smelling that amazing pizza now!
I’m getting hungry just writing about it…
Once cooked place it on your serving board and enjoy! You deserve it!
There are some very common questions when it comes to Neapolitan Pizza. I asked a lot of these when I first got started!
I wanted to answer these, in case you had the same questions.
If you do have any other questions please do email me or feel free to ask in the comments section at the bottom. I’ll be more than happy to answer as soon as possible.
If you were to follow an authentic Neapolitan Pizza dough recipe, it should rest for 24 hours. You should prove it in a proving tray. If you don’t have one then in a bowl that is covered with cling film or a damp cloth.
Technically it’s not a thin crust. Even though it has a thin base. Stay with me here…
The base is thin, in fact so thin you may have to eat with a fork or the slice over like you should traditionally eat it.
Unlike the base, the crust on a neapolitan pizza is large and well-risen. The pizza should be crispy but not dry. A thin crust pizza would be a Romana.
There is one big difference between a Neapolitan pizza and an Roman Pizza – the dough!
Both of these pizza’s do have a thin base. The crust on a neapolitan is however thick, a roman has a thin crust. (I like them but personally prefer a Neapolitan)
The dough in a Neapolitan contains water, flour, yeast and salt. A Roman is the same but does also contain olive oil to help it stretch thinner.
Pizza is typically not known as being a health meal. (If I could get away with saying it’s healthy, I’d be eating pizza on a daily basis!)
If you do compare it to takeaway pizza or other styles of pizza dough, it could be a healthier option.
Neapolitan dough only has the 4 ingredients. Unlike some dough recipes it doesn’t use oil or sugar.
Are you convinced yet that it is healthier…?
Okay, how about this…
The sauce on Neapolitan pizza doesn’t contain any sugar. Since the base is thinner, you would use less toppings. This means less calories per slice!
So, it’s not that a Neapolitan is healthy. It’s more a case that it is healthier than many other pizzas.
Traditionally you would cook a Neapolitan in a wood-fired pizza oven. These get over 400 degrees celsius. That is pretty hot!
So it usually only takes 60-90 seconds to cook a pizza. No time at all! You really need to keep an eye on them cooking in a pizza oven!
In a kitchen oven it would take longer. It would take around 10 minutes. Maybe less if you were using a pizza stone.
The most common cheese to use on an authentic Neapolitan pizza is Mozzarella. I have used some parmesan which adds some amazing flavour to the pizza.
For a 12 inch Neapolitan pizza you would want a dough ball that weighs around 250g. It does depend on how stretchy your dough is.
Neapolitan pizza is honestly not as hard to make as some people think. It just takes time and some practice.
There are just a number of things you need to think about, such as making the dough, proving, shaping and stretching. But part of the fun is learning all these things.
Do you fancy giving it ago…?
This dough tastes amazing and makes the very best Neapolitan pizza I have ever had. And I have had a lot!
Let me know in the comments below if you tried the recipe and what you thought!