How to Make Neapolitan Pizza at Home
Neapolitan pizza is the Holy Grail of pie. However, the real deal requires a blazing hot wood-fired oven in order to acquire the characteristic charred, smokey crust. Luckily, it's possible to make a pizza that comes close to perfection in a conventional oven. The secret? A pizza stone.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
Makes 2-3 10" pizzas.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 4 cups (500g) bread flour
- Semolina flour for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups (350ml) water
- 1 tsp. (3.5g) active dry yeast
- 2 tsp. (10g) salt, plus some extra to taste for the sauce
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Pure tomato purèe to serve (adjust amount according to desire)
- Italian mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and dry yeast. Gradually add the water while mixing with a wooden spoon. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and the salt. Continue to mix until the dough can be kneaded by hand. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer the dough onto a work surface well-floured with semolina. Knead by hand until the dough can be formed into a smooth, even ball. Flour the inside of the mixing bowl with semolina, place the dough ball inside, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the fridge overnight.
6 hours before cooking, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature for an hour. Remove from the bowl and gently knead it by folding it in half, in altering directions, about 16 times. Allow to rise a further 3 hours.
Separate the dough into smaller balls. Each ball will make one pizza. A classic Neapolitan pizza starts with a ball about the size of a baseball, but feel free to make yours bigger or smaller according to taste. Keep in mind that bigger pizzas will be more difficult to handle when going into and out of the oven!
Form each piece of dough into a smooth ball and arrange on a baking sheet floured with semolina. Allow to rest for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make a simple tomato sauce by mixing pure tomato purèe with a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste. Cut some mozzarella cheese into small chunks for topping. Preheat your oven (with a pizza stone on a middle rack) to the maximum temperature. It can take some time for the oven to evenly heat, so we recommend allowing it to preheat a bit longer than it takes for the built-in thermometer to register.
When the pizza dough has rested, liberally dust a pizza paddle with semolina flour. Spread a dough ball into a pizza shape by pressing it with your fingers, working from the center out. No need for fancy flips or twirls! Transfer it to the paddle and top with a few spread spoonfuls of tomato sauce, some mozzarella cheese and a quick drizzle of olive oil.
Gently slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. The cook time will vary depending on the oven (there can be quite a bit of variance on the maximum setting), so keep a close eye on it. The pizza is ready once the crust has risen substantially and is beginning to brown. About a minute before it has finished cooking, add a few leaves of fresh basil on top.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Buon appetito!