“I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat, Pray, Love”.
I love pizza and who doesn’t?
Yes, that’s correct! Today I will write a huge post about this absolutely amazing oven-baked flatbread with crispy crust topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings. The modern pizza was born in Naples, Italy and today we are talking exactly about Neapolitan style.
For a while after my own bad experiments, I gave up and ate it only in restaurants. But I’m always back, to finish what I started. I guess I’m trying to discipline myself this way.
So here we go. I read again tons of recipes, clues, articles and start analyzing all material.
Finally I made it! I wasn’t even as happy probably after I made my real first macaron.
And yes it was much better than lot’s of local pizza places’.
Before I will share the recipe, I want to touch on a couple very important points.
1. Flour. Neapolitan pizza dough has very unique texture: elastic, air-porous and aromatic. I will not read you a chemistry lesson, I will just say you need flour with higher percent of wheat protein. You can find it on the label with nutrition facts. Regular flour consists of 3 g protein per 30g of product ,”Pizza” flour is 4 g. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but trust me, it is. You can use just regular flour as well, but you will probably need a little bit more, and you will loose the perfect texture.
*Hint: most bread flour will work, cuz most of it has the right amount of protein.
2. Dough relaxation time. This is a very important process when dough is getting its aroma and taste. Can be from 3 to 12 hours. I figured out 4-5 is enough for me. Better to keep it in a dark and warm place, so I used the turned off oven. You should remember that dough is the main component of pizza. It should be absolutely delicious even if you will serve it only with a drop of olive oil and salt.
3. Temperature. Pizza is a creation of fire. If you trust Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, pizza should be baked in a wood oven with 485C ( 905 F ). Omg…. you could say. But we don’t need this extreme temperature. 485 F is already enough, but I would recommend 500F or even better 525F if your oven is capable for it. The higher, the better. We should warm up our oven and keep it warm for 30 minutes before baking, with (!!!!) the baking tray (pizza stone) inside the oven. This is important.
4. Baking time. And now please forget this bullshit about baking your pizza for 15-20 minutes forever. Or don’t call it pizza, but a scone with fried topping. The main idea of the pizza is elastic dough and juicy stuffing.
In wood oven we need just a couple minutes, but in a regular one we should increase the time to 6-8 minutes. No more.
5. Toppings. Now we know that pizza should be in the oven no more than 8 minutes, that’s why if we want to use raw meat, wild mushrooms, seafood, etc we should precook them before. Put the stuffing evenly on the dough. Also we need to use parchment paper. Prepare it before and cover lightly with cornmeal.
And finally we are done with pizza lesson 🙂
Ingredients for dough:
250 g flour ( which consist of 4g protein per 30g);
3g dry yeast;
160 ml warm water;
1/3 tsp sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
Cornmeal for covering paper.
This is enough for two medium pizzas ( diameter 25-30 cm / 10 inches).
Toppings. You can put whatever you would love.
I decided to do this time two different pizzas. One of them will be with clams and shrimp. Second one with blue cheese and pear.
Pizza numero uno 🙂
6-8 medium shrimp (precooked);
1/2 ( 184 g or 6.5 oz) can clams in clam juice;
2 Tbs white sauce (just pick your favorite);
1 Tbs red sauce;
100-130 g fresh Mozzarella;
50-70 g Provolone cheese;
1 Tbsp dry Oregano;
5 sprigs parsley.
Pizza numero duo 🙂
1 medium pear;
pinch of caramelized onion;
50 g mix shredded Italian cheeses (romano, provolone, parmesan);
50 g fresh mozzarella;
50 g or more blue cheese (you can substitute it with gorgonzola);
3 Tbsp white sauce;
1 tsp dry Oregano;
1. If you have a bread maker with dough function, then you are the luckiest person on Earth 🙂 Just put all ingredients for the dough there, push the button, wait 10 minutes, done. Dough is ready to take a rest for next 4-5 hours.
In another case, combine yeast with sugar, add water and stir till they melt, sift flour into it, add salt and mix. Now let’s start mixing it with a food processor with nozzle for the dough – first 3-4 minutes with small speed and then increase it for next 5 minutes (if you will decide to do it just by hand it will take you about 15 minutes). Dough should be a little bit sticky.
We need to coat the inside of the bowl with olive oil and put the dough there. Cover it with plastic wrap and put in dark warm place to rest for 4-5 hours.
2. Before 30 minutes till the time is up we need to turn on the oven 500-525 F (at least 485F, I used 525 F), don’t forget to put your tray or pizza-stone inside.
Coat your hands in olive oil and start working with dough, kinda massage it lightly.
3. Divide dough into two parts and form the balls. Put the first on your work zone and make a crater. Help yourself to keep round shape with your other arm, time to time turning over dough. Stretch it as good as you can. Base should be very thin, only a little bit thicker in crust.
4. Now we need to put our base on parchment paper. Evenly divide sauce, rinse with olive oil, add oregano, cheese, other stuffing, finally rinse with olive oil one more time. Don’t worry, it will not be fat, it will be more delicious and juicy.
5. Time to bake. Put pizza on the hot tray and send it to the oven for 6-7 minutes. Pale crust is ok, trust me it is ready.
Now time to cut it and eat it, purring with pleasure.