Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Neapolitan Pizza

I adore Neapolitan-style pizza.  My first taste of it was in high school when a Punch Pizza came to town, and practically every time I return home I make a stop there.  As I have gotten more familiar with Madison, I have found several Neapolitan pizzerias around.  For some reason nobody is as bonkers over this pizza as I am, so I don't get many chances to hit up any of these awesome eateries :(.

Luckily I found a new food blog yesterday, and was inspired when I saw that there was a Neapolitan dough recipe.  I quickly started fantasizing about this pizza, and started the prep work when I got home from the store today.  This dough should be made the day before, but I couldn't wait so I only let it sit for about four hours (and it was awesome).  I'm pretty sure that this is the best pizza dough that I have ever made, which has cut my pizza crust quest rather short.  I'm planning on making some whole-wheat modifications, so I can justify eating it every day. 

This recipe makes enough dough for several pizzas.  The exact amount varies on how large you make them, but it can make up to six.

  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour, chilled
  • 1 3/4  teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon  instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
  • cornmeal, for the bottom of the pizza
Combine the dry ingredients in mixer with the paddle.  Add in the olive oil and  water, and mix until all of the ingredients are combined.  At this point switch out the paddle for the dough hook, and continue to mix on a medium setting for about 5 minutes.  The dough should not stick to the sides, but still stick to the bottom of the bowl.  Side note- I think that this dough feels so great that I would pet it if I didn't have cats that would appreciate the attention more.

On a tray or cutting board shape the dough so that you can easily cut it up into the desired amount of separate pizzas (I made four).  Shape each chunk of dough into a ball, brush with olive oil, and place each dough ball in its own freezer bag.  I threw two into the freezer for future use, and placed two in the fridge for immediate usage.

Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight.  Take the dough out two hours before use and allow it to come to room  temperature.  About half an hour before preparing the pizza turn your oven to its highest setting (mine tops out at 500 degrees), and make sure that your pizza stone is placed in the oven.  Shape the dough either by stretching it over your knuckles or with a rolling pin (I used the pin).  Place it on a pizza peel that has a layer of cornmeal already spread out on it, and place the desired toppings on the pizza.  LESS IS MORE.  This is not a chance to make a meat-lovers or garbage pizza, this is a chance to experience the fine flavors of just a few ingredients.  I never ever stray from my basic margherita toppings, because I am a creature of habit.  So this is what I put on my pizza
  • my homemade pizza sauce
  • slices of fresh mozzarella cheese (the good stuff, not the mozzarella that you put on sandwiches or your Americanized pizza)
  • shredded basil
  • another option is to add thin slices of roma tomatoes.  I used all of mine up in the pizza sauce, so I went without

When the pizza is prepared, it makes it much easier if you use a pizza peel to transfer it to the pizza stone.  I do not have a pizza peel, so I did my best with a spatula and spare hand (and semi-failed during the transition).  The pizza stone should be on the middle rack of the oven.  Bake the pizza for about 7-9 minutes, or until the toppings are done and the crust feels substantial. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minute or two, if you can manage to wait.

The crust isn't very sturdy, so this is definitely a knife and fork kind of pizza!

For those without a stand mixer or pizza stone, check out the link above for instructions on how to prepare this.

No comments: