Authentic Neapolitan Style Italian Pizza Dough Recipe! Chewy and crisp this is the type of pizza you get when you are in Naples.

The pizza dough you’ve been waiting for is here! Here is a guide with some basics and not so basic fact about Neapolitan style pizza dough, or pizza Napoletana. It’s been a joint effort with my husband testing the dough and writing a post that makes it possible for you to make it too! Neapolitan pizza is largely defined by its pillowy, chewy crust. It is unique and recognizable at first glance by the slightly charred bubbles and large puddle of red sauce (sugo) with circles of white melted mozzarella and fresh green basil leaves. There you have it, the icon Italian flag colors painted in one the most memorable images to Italian cuisine- “la pizza Napoletana”. From my heart and cucina to your table, I hope you enjoy this recipe time and time again. A true taste of Italia at your table. You will hear the voices of the Italians saying, Mangia! Mangia! (eat!) after you make this pizza, pizza, pizza the authentic way! Enjoy.

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What are the Characteristics of Neapolitan (Napoletana) pizza dough?


Neapolitan pizza has a very thin crust at the base, with dough that puffs up around the sides that creates an incredibly airy crust. The dough itself is very elastic (just think of Italian pizza makers “pizzaioli” tossing and stretching that gorgeous dough). You don’t need a rolling pin for this dough. The stretching and pulling is all done by hand. The crust is so light that certain areas become charred very quickly, which is why it’s important not to overcook and completely burn this type of crust. In the most simple form it is topped with a simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. That’s the way this pizza first started in Naples. The simple Italian flag colors on a pizza. Not sure if that was intentional :)?

pizza napoletana (Neapolitan) on a wood board

What Makes Real Neapolitan Pizza?

Neapolitan pizza, or pizza Napoletana, is a type of pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. This style of pizza is prepared with simple and fresh ingredients: a basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. No fancy toppings are allowed! With that said, we add traditional Italian style toppings to this pizza dough all the time.

Topping Ratios for Sauce and Cheese on Traditional Italian Neapolitan Pizza

  • 1 dough ball (about 250 gr). Use this recipe for the dough.
  • Raw tomato sauce puree (180 grams ). Brands I like: Mutti, Cento, and Bianco Do not use canned pre made or seasoned sauces.
  • Fresh Mozzarella (about 70-85 grams). Must use fresh mozzarella packed in water.
  • Fresh Basil (about 3-4 leaves)
Neapolitan pizza dough

What are the Characteristics of Neapolitan Pizza?

One of its defining characteristics of pizza Napoletana the sauce to cheese ratio- always MORE sauce! This leaves the middle of the pie wet or soggy and not conducive to serve by the slice. Because of this, Neapolitan pizzas are generally pretty small (about 10 to 12 inches), making them closer to the size of a personal pizza. I’ve never seen a Neapolitan pizzeria do by-the-slice pizza. It’s a whole-pie-only, sit-down, or take out affair.

Neapolitan pizzas are also cooked at very high temperatures (800 F to 900 F) for no more than 90 seconds. We use our Gozney RoccBox to get the heat take this pizza to the next level. If you don’t have a high heat pizza oven cook it in your oven at the hottest setting 550 degrees F, preferably on a pizza stone. Make sure to let your oven heat 30 minutes, with the pizza stone, before baking your pizza pie for the highest heat possible.

Pizza Stone I recommend if you are using a regular oven. We’ve owned this one for 10 years!

pizza napoletana on a wood board

I love this Euro Design Pizza Peel

How to Make NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH –

True to Italian tradition, Neapolitan pizza dough is made up of very few ingredients, water, salt, yeast and all-important “00” flour. That’s it! The important part is the quality of the few ingredients and the process. Hint- it is EASY, but requires patience and waiting for it to rise! Plan ahead and you will achieve the most AMAZING and authentic Neapolitan pizza.

I highly recommended using the Caputo “00” pizzeria flour and Caputo lieveto (dry Italian yeast). It is the flour the pizza makers use in Italy. I talked to several this summer and they agree this one is the best! Take it from the true Italian “pizzaiolo” use this flour and yeast for the best results.

Ingredients for Neapolitan Dough

FLOUR For Neapolitan pizza, use type 0, or “00” flour. These are Italian-milled, finely ground flours that contain a high protein/gluten content of around 10-12%, which is perfect for a thin, crispy pizza crust.

WATER The water should around 20 degrees C (68 degrees F). When you knead the dough, the temperature will increase, that’s why the water doesn’t need to be too hot when you start the process.

YEAST In Italy, t is most common to use natural fresh yeast or brewer’s yeast for pizza dough. You can find fresh yeast in almost all European grocery stores! I find natural fresh yeast very difficult to find in the United States, so I use a dried Italian yeast that I like. You can use active dry yeast that you find at most grocery stores as well. The amount of yeast used is minimal. The dough ferments slowly, over a longer period of time, so you don’t need much. I find it easier to digest when it is made this way.

IMPORTANT TIP: When mixing the dough, the salt and yeast should not have too much direct contact. Why? If the yeast has too much contact with the salt it will damage the yeast cells. In turn, this will ruin the fermentation process. This is why the salt is mixed with water and flour before adding the yeast. Seriously, who knew? A SUPER important tip that I will remind you of later :).

SALT Neapolitan pizza is made with about 2.5- 3% fine sea salt. The purpose of the salt in Neapolitan pizza dough is to extend the fermentation time and to improve texture and flavor. Salt slows down the yeast. When adding salt to the dough, the yeast gets less active, and you get a longer, slower rise. Salt helps strengthening gluten so the dough keeps its shape during the long fermentation. A long and slow fermentation improves flavor and texture. The strong gluten formation makes the dough elastic and less prone to tearing. Can you believe the salt, also, helps brown and crisp the crust during baking? A lot information about SALT! Who new salt could play such an important roll in pizza dough?

Here is a link that bundles the pizza FLOUR and YEAST. It is the best price I found for you! BUY IT: PIZZA FLOUR AND ITALIAN DRY YEAST

steps to make pizza dough
Steps from top to bottom: 1. After dissolving salt in water start adding flour little by little 2. Mixture will be fairly liquid 3&4. Add yeast. 5. Dissolve yeast by mixing by hand in the salt, water and flour until combined
steps to make pizza dough
Steps from top to bottom: 1-3. Start adding flour little by little to the bowl and working with your hands. 4. Once dough is more solid move to a floured work surface. 5. It may take 15-20 minutes of kneading to get a smooth dough ball.
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Steps from top to bottom- 1. cover dough ball with a damp cloth for about 2 hours. 2. uncover risen dough. 3. divide into about 8 pieces 4. pinch method to make a smooth dough ball (use “pinch and tuck” method in recipe steps . 5. place dough balls in airtight container for final rise (2 boxes with 4 dough balls in each)

Final Tips for making the perfect Neapolitan Pizza Dough

  • Use THIS flour and yeast
  • Do not let the yeast and salt come in direct contact with one another (I explain why above)
  • Let it rise the proper time as the recipe suggests
  • Let dough balls rise in an good air tight container
  • If making in a regular oven preheat for half an hour or so at high heat, aiming for a stone temperature of around 800°F to 900°F

The recipe may seem lengthy, but it is very detailed so you get all the steps right for the best outcome. You will want to try pizza dough this way. It is worth the effort! Make it a family affair and get everyone involved.

From my Cucina to your Table! Made with Amore, Elena

pizza napoletana (Neapolitan) on a wood board

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Recipe Adapted from: Vincenzos Plate. A big thank you to Vincenzo for teaching us the way with this recipe!

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Neapolitan pizza dough

Authentic Neapolitan Pizza DOUGH RECIPE

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes+ 24 hours (includes rising time)
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 5-15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Authentic Neapolitan Style Italian Pizza Dough Recipe! Chewy and crisp this is the type of pizza you get when you are in Naples. The pizza dough you’ve been waiting for is here! Jordan, my husband, is the real master behind perfecting this dough. Neapolitan pizza is largely defined by its pillowy, chewy crust. It is unique and recognizable at first glance by the slightly charred bubbles and puddle of red sauce with circles of white melted mozzarella and fresh green basil leaves. There you have it, the icon Italian flag colors painted in one the most memorable images to Italian cuisine- “la pizza Napoletana”. From my heart and cucina to your table, I hope you enjoy this recipe time and time again. A true taste of Italia to your table. You will  hear the voices of the Italians saying, Mangia! Mangia! (eat!) after you make this pizza, pizza, pizza the authentic way! Enjoy. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 600 ml – 2.5 cups water (room temperature) + 1 teaspoon warm water
  • 1 kg – 35 oz  Pizza Flour, Tipo 00 
  • 30 g – 5 teaspoons of salt
  • 12 g – half teaspoon of dry yeast

Instructions

  1. Pour water and add salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix well with your hands to help dissolve the salt. Add 100g (10% flour) to the water and mix it through with your hands until the flour dissolves. This will result in a crepe/pancake consistency. Next, add the yeast to the salt, water, and flour mixture helping it melt in the water using your fingers. Mix with your hands until completely combined.
  2.  Important: start adding the flour a little at a time. Add flour with one hand and mix to combine with your other hand as you go. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure no flour is wasted. 
  3. Once the dough has started to come together really well, flip it out on to a bench and start to knead it with both hands absorbing all the remaining flour. Keep working the dough until you find it has come together and has a smooth consistency. Knead the dough by stretching it and fold it over itself to strengthen the gluten strands, and to add air into the dough. But be careful not to stretch the dough so much that it tears. This will develop the gluten in the dough, and make it elastic and stretchy. The kneading process will take around 15-20 minutes. To check if your dough is ready to rest: press down on the dough ball with one finger and if it bounces back, chances are, it’s ready!
  4. Once ready, place the dough aside to rest on a flat surface, covering it with a damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out. Leave this to rest for at least 2hr.
  5. Once 2hr have passed, it’s time to make your dough balls. To do this, cut a piece of your dough and weigh it on a scale aiming for 250g/8.8oz. You should have about 8 dough balls. To make the dough ball, the easiest way, “pinch and tuck method”: place small dough chunk on floured surface push down on four corners of the dough with thumb and index fingers.  Pinch thumb and index finger together grabbing the dough. Lift the dough up off the floured surface and tuck and pinch the corners together on the underside of the dough. As you do this, the dough on the upward facing portion should stretch creating a smooth surface. Place the pinched side facing down on the floured surface and rotate the dough a quarter turn. Repeat 4-5 times until a nice ball has formed
  6. Once you have made the dough balls, place them in a flat surface air tight container. Leave this in an ambient location with a temperature between 60.8 degress F – 64.4 degrees F for 24hr. IT IS WORTH THE WAIT! 
  7. After 24hr your dough balls should have risen and are ready to use. Sprinkle flour on to the bench, placing the dough on top and starting an inch from the bottom and working your way an inch from the top, press down using your fingers. Then stop, turn it over and repeat until you have a small round base with a “cornicione” (crust).
  8. Gently stretch this by then picking up the dough and slightly stretching it onto one forearm then flipping it onto the bench. Repeat this before shaping it into a circle and then resting it on your bench.

Cooking the Pizza 

  1.  Heat Oven to hottest setting 550 degrees F with pizza stone in the middle rack, or heat your professional pizza oven to 750-900 degree F. If using your regular oven, let it heat for 30 minutes with the stone to get the stone really hot. 
  2. Add tomato puree as desired onto the flattened dough and put pizza in the middle rack of the oven on a pizza stone, baking at 550 degrees F. about 10-15 minutes. If using a real high heat pizza oven of 900 degrees F the cooking time is 5 minutes. Add the fresh mozzarella half way into the baking time in the regular oven. Other ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil and basil should be added at the end of cooking about 1 minute before taking out of the oven, or simply add after baking. If desired you can add the fresh mozzarella after the pizza and sauce are completely done cooking and the cheese will remain “fresh”.  MANGIA! MANGIA! (EAT!)

Keywords: 00 pizza flour caputos, pizza, main meal, authentic pizza, pizza Napoletana, Neapolitan pizza dough, bread dough, bread, pizza dough