Ingredients to make pizza dough and 4 x 12” pizzas
750g Tipo 00 flour (molino caputo blue
or strong bread flour
525g warm water (70% hydration)
3 tsp maldon sea salt crushed
1½ tsp dried yeast or sourdough starter.
Make your pizza dough
Pizza dough takes some practice to get right. Some people put oil in the mix, I never do and its traditionally Neapolitan not to. Keep it slow and cool and never rush it. This recipe will work in a home oven with a baking stone but really kitchen ovens never get hot enough.
Hand-stretching is key to a good base so please practice- I’ve put a link to a You Tube video in the recipe so you can see how its done. Getting air in the edge or cornicione is very important and when well risen on baking will stop the crust being too heavy. Don’t whatever you do, don’t ever, ever use a rolling pin even if Jamie Oliver does!
- Combine and dissolve the yeast in the water. Crush the salt and mix with the flour.
- Pour yeasty water into a well in the flour and slowly bring it together.
- When the bowl is clean, pull the dough and flop it over itself twisting slightly as you flip it.
- Keep working the dough until it is smooth and silky, about 10 minutes and then let it rest.
- Either divide into 270-300g portions in a plastic proofing box or keep whole and let it rise in the bowl covered with a bag overnight in the fridge or as time allows. The flavour will be better the longer and cooler you can leave it. Some pizzaiolos leave their dough for up to 3 days! Remember when forming your dough balls to keep pulling the surface tight either on your worktop or with your hands.
- When you’re ready to start preparation, mix some 00 flour in a bowl with about 10% fine polenta or fine semolina and use this to dust your work-surface or wooden peel
- Take your portion of pizza dough and press it into a flattened circle with your fingers. Keep pushing the dough out until its wide enough to pick up with both knuckles underneath.
- Gently stretch the pizza dough by pulling your knuckles apart and work your way round until the dough thins. Put it back on a dusted surface and push the thick edges thinner and thinner as far as it will go, stretching all the time until you reach about 12” in diameter.
- To dress the pizza say for a Margherita, spread a ladle full of sieved and pureed tomato pulp or passata so it stops just short of the edge.
- Don’t be tempted to put too much tomato on as it will get soggy, leave areas just touched by the pulp. See Vito Iacopelli’s video here
Add drained and squeezed mozzarella in dots all over the surface, sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and drizzle some olive oil in a spiral over the top.
- Slide the finished pizza into your hot wood-fired oven( 350-450C) and leave on the hearth for 15 seconds before turning it with a small peel.
- Continue to turn so the edge has faced the fire all the way round. When the top is hot and bubbling and the crust just starting to spot and burn, slide a small metal peel in and remove the fragrant pizza and drop it on to a plate for serving.
- Sprinkle a bit more sea salt over, a good whack of black pepper and eat hot.