SB 016| How to Make Neapolitan Pizza Dough

Neapolitan pizza dough is low hydration and formulated specifically for use in a wood fire oven. To be a true neapolitan pizza, the dough can only contain 00 pizza flour, water, salt and yeast.

The 00 pizza flour is especially important when making a neapolitan pizza, since the "leapording" or char responsible for the distinct look and flavor of neapolitan pizzas, taste bitter and burnt if any flour besides 00 pizza flour is used.

In many pizza doughs, especially those formulated for the home kitchen, olive oil and sugar are added to pizza dough; the former making the dough more exstensible, and both alllowing the dough to transfer heat and brown faster. However, if sugar or oil is used in neapolitan dough, it will quikcly burn and become bitter when cooked on a 750ºF+ deck.

To make the dough more exstensible and easier to stretch, neapolitan pizza dough is fermented for an extended period of time, usually between 24 and 48 hours.

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There are 8 Comments

Sticky Mitts's picture

Hello Jacob, interesting to hear that OO flour is the best for pizza baked in a wood fired oven.  Can you explaina bit more please?


jacob burton's picture

It has to do with it's milling. 00 Flour is finely ground and browns at much higher temperatures than regular bread or all purpose flour. If you try to make pizza in a wood fire oven at temperatures above 750F, the black "leopording" will taste scored and bitter, instead of smokey and charred.

redeemed763's picture

Loved the video Jacob, I have wanted an inside look into your wfo pizza baking for years now, its great to finally see what you do!

A quick note, personally, I have never had a problem with my dough balls drying out when I am using them in stacked dough trays (I use the cheap ones from webstaurant, not the cambros). They don't seal perfectly but I haven't had much of a skin problem when they are proofing, only when the lid gets left off of the rest of the dozen while I am making them. 

Nonstick spray is a big no-no with the purists but it sure helps prevent the drying out :)

Most neopolitan pizzarias just dump the dough ball in a bowl of flour, I used to dust my dough ball but it takes too long and results in a less evenly coated ball. Give it a try sometime if you haven't already, I love it after doing it the old way for a while. 


Well, ok maybe it was a few notes in the end but thanks for producing all of this!

jacob burton's picture

The air in my region is extremely dry ... it takes no more than 10 minutes of air exposure to form a skin on the dough, especially one with a low hydration like this Neapolitan dough.

I prefer non-stick spray over oil because it's just a fine mist and won't alter the dough formulation or how the crust bakes.

Glad you're enjoying the pizza content!

Sticky Mitts's picture

I helped run a pizza event in a wood-fired oven on a farm yesterday for 60 people.  Made the dough the day before and chilled overnight.  Yesterday morning, we scaled and formed dough into balls and placed them in floured trays, covered with a cloth.  An hour later we flattened them into discs and rested them again, finally rolling them out (I know you don't like rolling....but other people did) before topping.

I noticed that many of the balls had developed a skin on top. I also wasn't sure it was necessary to flatten them into discs (another pre-shape in effect).  Next time I was thinking it would be best to form into balls and keep in a floured couche and then just rolling out prior to topping??

jacob burton's picture

Flattening isn't necessary, in fact, it may negatively effect your dough due to degassing. The best approach is to go from proofing and then hand stretch. With a little bit of practice, you'll be able to hand stretch the dough faster and more effectively than someone else with a rolling pin.

Sticky Mitts's picture

Thanks Jacob. That's exactly what I thought and wanted it confirmed.  Actually I find the hand stretching, following your video, really easy to do.  Great videos!