There are few things that beats a really good pizza. I love pizza so fucking much I ended up with 3rd place in the Norwegian pizza championship in 2009. What I’m sharing with you now is my improved recipe for authentic, thin crust Neapolitan pizza.
You need 3 things to make a KILLER Neapolitan pizza.
- A high temperature oven – at least 400C
- The right kind of flour – I use Caputo Pizzeria
- The right shaping technique
If you don’t have a dedicated pizza oven, try the dough for our Sfincione (authentic Sicilian pizza) instead. Or if you can get as high as 250-300C, you may want to try the thin crust New York style pizza dough.
We purchased a Ooni Karu 12″ wood (and LPG) fired pizza oven, and it burns as hot as a authentic Neapolitan pizza oven. It stows away beautifully in one of our cockpit lockers, and makes the most amazing pizza and other rustic breads such as naan.
Since the oven burns so incredibly hot, you need to use fairly low hydration, which is the water to flour ratio. 60% hydration, for example, means that you use 600g water to 1000g flour.
If using too high hydration for a Neapolitan pizza, you end up with scorched outside and raw inside.
A true Neapolitan dough is traditionally 60%, but that makes the dough so stiff I cannot use the stretch and fold method for making the dough. So to avoid old fashioned kneading, I increase the hydration just a little bit.
This recipe is for three 12″ pizzas.
If you don’t have a sourdough starter, simply add 50g extra flour, and 50g extra water, and add 3 grams dry yeast if using overnight cold fermentation, or 11 grams if using same day fermentation.
- 550 g Caputo Pizzeria*
- 330 g cold water
- 18 g salt
- 100 g sourdough starter (100 % hydration)
*I often use 30g whole wheat and 520g Caputo Pizzeria
Weigh all ingredients into your baking bowl, then quickly mix things together to a reasonably lump free, sticky dough. Put a lid on, and let it rest for 15 minutes or more – whatever suits your schedule. This important rest will let the gluten relax and develop, and fully hydrate the dough.
How to perform the stretch and fold:
- Wet your dominant hand
- Gently take hold of the edge of the dough pointing away from you.
- Lift it up, stretching the dough, then fold the flap over and towards you.
- If you are a right-hander, turn your baking bowl a quarter with the clock (otherwise against the clock)
Repeat these steps until you come full circle, or until the dough starts to tighten up – it will tell you when it’s had enough. You can usually go 5-7 stretches and folds the first time, but as you develop a stronger and stronger gluten structure, 4 stretches and folds is usually the most you can do.
For a killer dough, repeat this entire process 4 times, with minimum 20 minutes rest in between for the gluten to relax.
When done, you should have an amazingly smooth dough with incredible gluten structure.
If using sourdough, ferment the dough as you normally do; all starters are unique to their origin environment.
If using dry yeast and cold fermentation, set in the fridge with lid on overnight.
If using same day fermentation, make sure your gluten rests in between the stretches and folds are no more than 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge 2 hours before baking. Shape them into three or four balls, cover with a bowl and rest on the bench for 2 hours.
Shaping the pizza correctly has a huge impact on the end result. Below is a very instructive video, and I highly recommend watching it:
And that is how you make a killer Neapolitan pizza.
Do you love pizza? Here are even more kick-ass pizza recipes from the guy who was in the Norwegian Pizza Championship once.