Classic Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe
Neapolitan pizza is a style of pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. The dough is made with flour, water, salt, and yeast, and it is typically hand-stretched or rolled thin. Traditionally, this pizza is then baked in a wood-fired oven at a high temperature for a short period of time, resulting in a crispy crust.
It is also great for beginners, as it requires just a few simple ingredients, the recipe is very easy to follow and it cooks nicely in regular domestic ovens.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!
List of ingredients
Active dry yeast1 Table spoons (tbsp)
Sugar1 Tea spoons (tsp)
Lukewarm water1 1/2 Cups (c)
All-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)4 Cups (c)
Salt1 Table spoons (tbsp)
Extra-virgin olive oil
As you can see the list of ingredients is short and straightforward. If you don’t cook much, active dry yeast might be the only ingredient you might not know, but do not worry, it is available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.
If for whatever reason you cannot find active dry yeast in your local super market, or if you want to make this recipe even simpler, there are a variety of brands offering ready to use “pizza flour”, which is basically all-purpose flour already mixed with active dry yeast.
Steps to make Classic Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe
Combine yeast, sugar and water
In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water. Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy. (If you are using ready-to-use pizza though you can combine steps 1 and 2).
Add flour and salt
Add flour and salt to the bowl, and stir to combine. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. If you have an electric stand mixer handy, don’t hesitate to use it.
If you are doing this by hand don’t get frustrated. The dough might look like you expect it for the first few minutes of kneading, but don’t worry, if you’ve measured the quantities right it will eventually become smooth and elastic.
Let the dough rest
Grease a large bowl with olive oil and place dough in the bowl (if you don’t have olive oil a little bit of butter can also do the trick). Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Divide in 4 equal pieces
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.
Make a 12-inch thin circle
Using your hands, press each piece of dough out into 12-inch circles.
Add tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings.
Traditional Neapolitan pizza usually have quite thick borders, so if you are looking for that traditional look remember not to spread the sauce all the way to the borders. Check the photo at the beginning of this post.
Put it in the oven!
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (250 degrees C). Transfer to a pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and crispy.
Although this classic Neapolitan pizza though can be cooked in a regular domestic oven just fine, the crust might not become as crispy as if cooked in a pizza oven. If you love your pizza crispy, but getting a pizza oven is not an option, using a pizza stone in your regular oven can really help take your homemade pizzas one step closer to the real thing, improving how their look and texture.
Keep them for later!
Neapolitan pizza dough can be frozen for up to 2 months. Complete the recipe up until step 4 and them simple place the dough pieces in freezer bags, getting as much air out as possible before sealing, or wrap them in plastic film.
When ready to use, let the dough thaw overnight in the fridge, and then proceed with the recipe as usual. In my experience unfreezing it in the microwaves does not work well. Even in defrost mode the dough will cook slightly, specially on the outside, while still being ball-shaped, and that will prevent it from cooking properly in the oven later.