How to make a Neapolitan Pizza.
Ingredients: Makes 4 x 10 inch pizzas
For the dough: (With 00 flour)
- Flour – 640g
- Water (room temperature) – 360g
- Salt (fine) – 14g
- Yeast (dried) – 0.3g
For the toppings:
- 300g tin of plum tomatoes
- Tomato puree (optional) – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – sprinkling of table salt or sea salt
- Pepper – freshly ground black pepper
- Mozzarella – 2 x 125g bags of fresh Mozzarella balls
- Parmesan – about 30g
- Olive Oil – a few glugs
- Basil – hand full of fresh leaves
For the dough: (This recipe is for a 24 hour prove)
- Mix all the ingredients into a shaggy mass in a large bowl, starting by adding the water first.
- You can do this by hand or use a wooden spoon.
- Cover the bowl with cling film, a plastic carrier bag, or a damp cloth (if the cloth isn’t damp the dough may dry out).
- Leave the dough to rest for around 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead for around 5 minutes.
- Place the dough back into the bowl and cover.
- Leave the dough to prove (in one big lump, don’t worry about the shape) for around 20 hours.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts (250g each) using some kitchen scales and a knife (or dough scraper).
- Do this about 4 hours before you intend to cook the pizza (after about a 20 hour prove).
- Place each dough ball into a small bowl and cover.
- Alternatively, use a large tupperware container with a lid or two smaller ones.
- Leave the dough balls to prove again for about 4-6 hours.
For the tomato sauce:
- Blend a tin of quality plum tomatoes into a smooth sauce.
- Cook the sauce until it reaches the desired thickness (still runny but quite thick).
- Add a tablespoon or 2 of tomato puree for a richer, sweeter sauce (optional).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the shaping/cooking:
- Ensure that your baking stone/tray is inside your oven.
- Get your oven up to temperature.
- For pizza ovens 420 – 480 degrees Celsius (790 – 900 Fahrenheit).
- For a regular domestic oven, as hot as it will get (around 260 Celsius or 500 Fahrenheit).
- An infrared thermometer is useful here for measuring the temperature of the cooking surface.
- Dust a dough ball with plenty of flour and remove from the container.
- Place the dough into a large bowl with a covering of flour in the base of it.
- In the bowl, press down from the centre of the dough towards the edges.
- The idea here is to move the air from the middle of the dough to the outside, where it will form a crust.
- Be careful not to press the edge of the dough down (the crust), any air removed cannot be regained and you will not end up with a well-risen crust.
- Keep turning the dough as you work the air towards the edges.
- You should start forming a small pizza shape at this stage.
- Turn the dough over and repeat this process in the bowl, on the other side.
- Remove from the bowl and place on the counter, ensuring the base of the dough is coated with plenty of flour.
- Stretch the dough – remembering not to touch the edge of the dough (the crust), hold the dough down with your right hand, and with the other gently stretch the dough outwards.
- Repeat the stretch – keep turning the dough and repeating this until you have a base which is about 9 to 10 inches in diameter.
- You can usually go thinner than you think so don’t worry too much about the dough ripping.
- Top the base with around 2 soup spoons (dessert spoons) of tomato sauce and spread gently across the pizza and up to the edges (just before the crust).
- Be careful not to press down as you spread or you may make the dough stick to the counter.
- Spread about a handful of Mozzarella (half of a 125g packet) evenly across the pizza, and you are ready to cook.
- We will add the parmesan, basil, and olive oil after cooking.
- Slide the pizza onto a peel, or chopping board if you don’t have a peel.
- Load straight onto baking stone/tray inside oven.
- For a pizza oven, cook for around 60 – 90 seconds and turn every 20 – 30 seconds as required.
- For a regular domestic oven, cook for around 6 – 8 minutes, turning about every 2 – 3 minutes as required.
- Remove the pizza from the oven (preferably with a peel) and place on a chopping board or a plate.
- Grate parmesan on top and add some torn basil.
- Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper.
- Let the pizza cool a little and enjoy!
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