Neapolitan Pizza Dough
In Naples, the true test of a well made pizza is whether it can be folded in half and then folded again into quarters without breaking or cracking the crust.
Because the flour in Italy is softer and lower in gluten than American milled flour, this recipe calls for a blend of cake and all-purpose flour to mimic the Neapolitan style crust. This tender dough stretches more easily and has less of a tendency to spring back onto itself making it easier to wield and shape. Plan ahead and make the dough the day before you'll need it, allowing it to rise slowly (gaining a better taste as it does so) in the refrigerator. The next day, allow the dough to reach room temperature while you preheat the oven and prepare the toppings.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F | 40°C to 45°C)
1 cup cake flour (not self rising)
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil, to grease the bowl
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let stand one minute or until the yeast is creamy. Stir until the yeast dissolves.
- In a large bowl combine the cake flour, 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, working it until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
- Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in a bowl, turning it to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours or let it rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator (see tip below).
- Flatten the dough with your fist. Cut dough into 2 to 4 pieces and shape the pieces into balls. Dust the tops with flour.
- Place the balls on a floured work surface and cover each with plastic wrap allowing room for the dough to expand. Let rise 60 to 90 minutes, or until doubled.
- Thirty to sixty minutes (ideally while dough is in it's final rise, step 5) before baking pizzas place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles on a rack in the lowest level of the oven. Turn on the oven to its maximum temperature, 500°F to 550°F (260°C to 285°C).
- Shape, then bake each pizza for 6 to 7 minutes.
Makes 4 (9 to 10-inch) pizza crusts.