An authentic, low hydration, Neapolitan pizza dough recipe formulated specifically for wood fire ovens.
- Whisk yeast into water and let stand for a few moments while weighing pizza flour.
- Combine pizza flour with water and yeast, mixing just long enough so the dough comes together in a shaggy mass and there is no dry flour visible.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes (autolyse).
- Add salt and knead with dough hook attachment in a Kitchen Aid mixer on speed #2 for 4 minutes. Turn off mixer, let dough rest for 4 minutes, and knead on #2 for another 4 minutes. Note to professionals: If using a Hobart or equivalent mixer, mix on #1 8-10 minutes, or until the dough passes the windowpane test. For best results, use a spiral mixer for pizza dough.
- Alternately, knead the dough by hand using the slap and fold method demonstrated in this sourdough boule video (skip to 2:50).
- Allow dough to bulk ferment for a minimum of 12 hours, with 18 hours being best. Look for dough to slightly surpass two times it's original volume. If dough is fermenting too quickly, try moving to a colder room, or possibily refrigerating near the end of the bulk fermentation.
- Divide dough into 290g portions. Round and proof for 2 hours at room temperature, or until the dough has doubled in size. For best results, allow dough to proof for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature and then refrigerate for minimum 3 hours, or as long as 24 hours. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature 1-2 hours before you will be makin pizzas. Slowing down the fermentation by refrigating will create a more complex flavor. Note that times will vary depending on how hot or cold your environment is. For every 17ºF/9ºC raise or drop in dough temperature, your yeast activity will double or decrease by half respectively. So a dough that takes 18 hours to ferment at a 70°F/21°C room temperature, will take only 9 hours when the temperature is raised to 87°F/30°C.
- Hand stretch dough into 12" discs, top, and bake in a wood fire oven with a minimum deck temperature of 750°F/400°C. See accompanying videos for a more indepth demonstration.
Note on VPN Specifications
VPN, or Vera Pizza Napoletana, is the governing body responsible for designating the unique attributes all Neapolitan pizzas must have. Following are a few of the major regulations you must adhere to if you want to produce a "true" Neapolitan pizza. I'm a big believer in learning the rules before breaking them, lest you be accused of ignorance. But once you understand the foundation upon which Neapolitan pizza is created, I expect you will take creative license and make it your own.
- Only two forms of pizza’s are recognized; ‘Marinara’ (tomato, oil, oregano and basil) or ‘Margherita’ (tomato, oil, mozzarella or fior di latte, grated cheese and basil).
- The dough must be made with “00” type pizza flour.
- Water should be moderately hard (60-80 mg/L of calcium) with a PH between 6 & 7 and should be added to the dough at a temperature of 20-22 degrees C (68-71F).
- The only acceptable salt is sea salt.
- Only San Marzano tomatoes are to be used for the sauce which is always fresh and never cooked before being applied to the pizza.
- Cooking time should not exceed 60-90 seconds.
- Only hard wood that does not produce odors or ash can be used. The VPN recommends Oak, Ash, Beech and Maple.