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The perfect pizza crust that is thin, but somehow chewy puffy and light at the same time. A true Neapolitan crust may take some time, but it is so incredibly worth it!
Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe
In our family we love a good pizza night. A night filled with dough and toppings and kids decorating their pizzas with all their favorite things!
Recently we have incorporated this new pizza oven to our family nights, and Neapolitan pizza dough. And let me tell you, it is a GAME CHANGER! There is no restaurant pizza that can hold a candle to our homemade pizza nights!
If you’re not familiar with Neapolitan pizza crust you are missing out! It is a thin and chewy in the middle, but some how the crust gets light and bubbly and airy. It is somehow the best of all worlds and it absolutely makes the best possible pizza!
Neapolitan pizza crust is made from a few simple ingredients, but the magic of it comes from a slight fermentation of the dough. You will make the dough early and let it sit in the fridge for anywhere from 4-72 hours. So it’s a little more time, but I guarantee, it’s beyond worth it!
What is Neapolitan pizza?
Neapolitan pizza is a traditional style of pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. It is characterized by a thin and crispy crust that is slightly chewy on the inside. The dough is made with simple ingredients like flour, water, yeast, and salt, and it is traditionally hand-kneaded and left to rise for several hours.
Neapolitan pizza is typically cooked in a wood-fired oven at very high temperatures, which gives it a characteristic charred and blistered crust. The toppings are simple and traditional, often including San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
What makes Neapolitan Pizza Dough different?
Neapolitan pizza is known for it’s flat, thin bottom with a thick, chewy crust that is full of air bubbles. The dough is made of just 4 simple ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast) and it rises slowly and ferments in the fridge for up to 72 hours to give it a tangy flavor similar to a very milk sourdough bread.
Neapolitan Pizza Crust Recipe Ingredients
- Water– I use warm water just to help get that yeast active and kicking!
- Flour- Traditionally Neapolitan crust uses 00 flour, which is a finely ground flour. But I always use all purpose flour because that is what I have on hand, and if works just fine.
- Salt– Don’t forget the salt. I’ve done that before and I was devastated. Salt gives the dough so much flavor.
- Dry Active Yeast– No need for instant rise or anything fancy. Just plain active dry yeast.
Best yeast for Neapolitan Crust
Technically, classic Neapolitan pizzas are made with fresh yeast, but I’ve developed this recipe with dry active yeast to make it a bit more accessible to the every day baker.
How to make Neapolitan Pizza Dough
To Make The Dough
Using a kitchen scale measure out all your ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.
If you are kneading your dough by hand, use a large bowl and a wooden spoon to bring your ingredients together. When your dough has come together, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes.
If you are using a stand mixer use the dough hook and knead the dough for 10 minutes. You will know that the pizza dough is kneaded enough when it is smooth and springy.
When your dough is kneaded, turn it out on a counter top and form the dough into a tight ball, creating tension in the dough.
Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 45 minutes.
Portioning out the Pizza Dough
Using your kitchen scale, portion out the dough into 7-8 ounce portions. Form each portion into a ball and then place each portion onto an oiled tray. I use these amazing dough proofing boxes (I told you we take our pizza seriously) but they aren’t necessary.
Place your dough in the fridge and let it sit for 4 to 72 hours. The longer the dough sits the more flavor it develops. So if I have the time and the forethought I like to let mine site the full 72 hours.
2 hours before using the dough, remove it from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.
To Make The Pizza
Gently pull the pizza dough while turning it in your hands to create a circle. DO NOT use a rolling pin or roll out the dough in any way! This will pop all those delicious bubbles! Those bubbles are what is going to give you the chewy airy crust you want.
Once your dough is stretched to the size you want place the pizza crust on a floured pizza peel if you are using a pizza oven, if you are using a regular oven you can place the crust directly on the baking sheet.
Top the dough with your favorite sauce, toppings and cheese. You don’t want the crust to get soggy so remember that a little goes a long way!
How to stretch Neapolitan pizza dough
I like to let gravity do most of the work for me, hold the dough in your hands at the edge of the dough and rotate the dough around the edge of the circle, creating the crust. Allow the gravity to pull the dough downward as you rotate the dough.
How to cook Neapolitan Crust pizza in a pizza oven
If you are using a pizza oven, bake at 750° F. Shake the pizza from the peel to the center of the pizza oven and allow it to cook for 30 seconds. You will see the back of the pizza rise and bubble up. Using the peel rotate the pizza 1/4 turn and let it cook for 15 seconds. Repeat the process until the pizza is golden brown and cooked to your liking.
If you are using a regular oven, bake at 350° F for 10-15 minutes depending on how thick your pizza crust is.
What Temperature do you cook pizza in a pizza oven?
The sweet spot is to keep your pizza oven around 750°. If the oven gets hotter than that, the bottom of your pizzas will be completely burned and bitter on the bottom. It is important to note that the stone in the bottom of your pizza oven holds heat for a long time. If your oven gets too hot, make sure to give it plenty of time to cool back down before continuing to cook pizzas or else you’ll run the risk of having burned bottoms.
How to store the Best Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe
Store in an air tight container or pizza dough box in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Neapolitan Pizza Crust FAQs
Neapolitan pizza is definitely recognizes for it’s chewy crust. Classically all fresh ingredients are used to top the pizza including fresh San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.
The final pizza is very different because the Neapolitan typically has a thin base with a chewy crust while the Roman pizza is generally thicker through out.
You’ll want to cook your pizza just a bit longer, but do not use a higher temperature or else your pizza will be burnt.
If you dough is not stretchy, the gluten needs time to relax. Let the dough sit for an additional 30 minutes and it should stretch easily. Working with the dough too much will also make it stiff, work with the dough as little as possible.
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Neapolitan Pizza Dough
- Kitchen Scale
- 31 oz warm water
- 52 oz flour, Preferably '00 pizza flour' but I use all purpose all the time and it works great
- 1.5 oz salt
- .2 oz dry active yeast
- Pizza Sauce
- fresh sliced mozzarella cheese
- favorite toppings
- Using a kitchen scale, measure out all of the ingredients and place in either a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- If kneading by hand, stir the mixture until you can turn the dough out onto a floured surface and then knead for 10 minutes.
- If using a stand mixer, using the dough hook knead the mixture for 10 minutes. This is a large batch of dough, so you may need to stay by the mixer and push the dough down every once in a while.
- Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
- Turn out onto the counter and push and pull the large dough into a tight ball, creating tension in the dough.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let the dough sit for 45 minutes.
- Using a kitchen scale, portion out the dough into 7 oz dough balls. Place in an oiled tray and cover tightly.
- Allow the pizza dough to sit in the fridge anywhere from 4 hours to 72 hours. The longer the dough sits, the more flavor it will have.
- 2 hours prior to making the pizzas, pull the dough out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature.
To make the Pizza
- Gently pull the pizza dough while turning to create a circle pizza crust. DO NOT use a rolling pin or press the dough flat, this will pop all of the wonderful bubbles in the dough which we want to create that airy, chewy crust.
- Once your dough is stretched to the size you'd like, place it on a slightly floured pizza peel (If you are baking in the oven, you can just place it on a greased baking sheet).
- Top with your favorite sauce and toppings (remember, a little goes a long way!)
- If using a pizza oven, bake at 750°. Shake your pizza into the oven, and allow it to cook for about 30 seconds. You'll see the back of the pizza crust puff up and start to brown, at that point, use your turning peel and turn the pizza 1/4 of the way and wait 15 seconds and repeat until your pizza is golden brown and cooked. Alternatively, if you don't have a turning peel, you can pull the whole pizza out with your pizza peel and then carefully turn the pizza and place it back in the oven.
- If using your oven, bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes, depending on how thick and big your pizza is.