Neapolitan-style Pizza Dough
Behind every good pizza is good dough. This easy recipe is go-to for unbeatable bubbly crusts and light, Neapolitan-style pizza.
Preparation time: 260 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
- 12.8 oz (364g) cold water
- 4 tsp (18g) salt
- 20g fresh yeast (9.2 active dried yeast or 7g instant dried yeast)
- 21.4oz (607g) "00" flour, plus extra for dusting
Pour two thirds of your water into a large bowl. Transfer the remaining water into either a saucepan or microwaveable dish and bring to the boil. Once bubbling, add the hot water to the cold—this is an easy method for achieving the correct temperature to activate the yeast. Whisk the salt and the yeast into the warm water.
Mixing by hand: Sift the flour into a spacious bowl and pour in the water and yeast mixture. Start by combining the water and the flour with a wooden spoon, folding the ingredients together until a rough dough begins to form. Once the dough becomes difficult to stir, switch to mixing with your hand and work the mixture until it holds a ball-like shape.
Generously flour a clean surface, and then turn your dough ball on to it. It's time to knead! Using both hands, knead the dough for around 10 minutes until it becomes noticeably firmer and elastic to the touch. Toss the dough back into your bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave it to rise in a warm place. This should take roughly two hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Using a mixer: Attach a dough hook to your mixer and add the flour to the mixing bowl. Starting at a low speed, begin to whisk the flour while slowly pouring in the water and yeast mixture. Once the dry and wet ingredients have combined, let the mixer continue on a low speed for 5 – 10 minutes or until the dough firms up and becomes stretchy. When the dough is ready, cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for approximately two hours or until the dough doubles in size.
Once the dough has risen to double its original size, divide it into three or four roughly equal pieces, depending on your desired pizza size. Four portions should give you pizzas around 12 inches wide, and three pieces should create pizzas of about 16 inches wide. Give each portion of dough its own space in a bowl or tray and then cover with plastic wrap. Leave the dough pieces to rise for another 30 – 60 minutes or until doubled in size once again.
Tip: an alternative option is to 'cold-prove' the pizza dough instead. This gives the yeast extra time to work its magic and will result in a more complex, deeper flavor at the end. For a cold prove, use half the amount of yeast listed in the ingredients above, and let the dough rise in the fridge instead of a warm place, leaving it to prove for 24 – 72 hours. We'd recommend scheduling the cold prove so that your dough will be risen and ready to use on the day you want to bake it. Once the dough has had its time in the fridge, divide it into pieces as described above and then let them sit at room temperature for at least five hours until the portions have warmed up.
Now the dough is ready to be stretched into that traditional pizza base shape. A key consideration is to make sure the dough is rounded into a spherical shape before starting, this makes it much easier to achieve and retain a circular base.
First, flour your hands, and then place the balled dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using the tips of your fingers, press into the center of the swollen dough to flatten it into a disc-like shape. Continue to work it, spreading your fingers and pushing the dough out from the middle—this should begin to make the disc wider.
Holding it by one edge, gently pick up the dough and carefully pinch it around the outside, letting its own weight pull it downwards. Traditional Neapolitan-style pizzas have very thin bases. Check the thickness of your base by using the 'windowpane test': carefully hold the base up to the light. If the light shines through it, almost like a doughy window, then you're ready. But be careful not to tear the base!