Pizza sales in times of financial unrest seem to rocket. The Financial Times during the first lockdown, revealed that pizza, in the United States, has been one of the pandemic's few business winners.
People are starting to get tired of cooking and there has been a steep rise in people ordering pizza. It is a cheap comfort food, people seem to gravitate towards when pockets are feeling empty. Here in the UK we are seeing a massive rise in sales of booze and bakery items. Flour is like gold dust. Shelves in all supermarkets seem to have been laid bare. Yeast is another commodity that we seem to be grabbing off the aisles like it is going out of fashion.
My journey with pizza has been enlightening. There are hundreds of pizza recipes out there. It is literally a mine field. I have always made basic pizza dough recipes at home. These seem to take ages to prove, taste very yeasty and, are hard to roll into a base.
Then my husband's family bought a pub. I somehow managed to persuade him to install in a huge pizza oven. "Pizza pays the wages," I told him.
While his dad gutted and rebuilt this pub, I trained as a bakery apprentice. I realised that dough is far more complex. A true Neapolitan pizza needs a long time to prove.
I trained to work on a wood fire an oven. I learned the basis of all types of British, Italian and French dough. I tried hundreds of pizza recipes.
When our doors opened, the pizzas we were making at the outset, were nothing like the ones that we serve today. Being a country pub, we had a steady stream of very unique and quirky Italian pizza chefs who came down from London or across the sea from Naples, stayed for a while and then disappeared. Yet the legacy they left has been second to none.
The dough we use takes up to three days to prove and is the only dough made in-house for miles around. It uses a minuscule amount of yeast and seriously amazing pizza flour sourced from a local Italian Wholesale company. The key to an amazingly soft dough to work with, is in the long-haul prove like with any other dough challenge I will set you. This dough is 24-48 hour prove time at room temperature throughout. I double the amount as you can keep dough in the fridge and/or freeze them for another day.
Follow this recipe to a ‘T’ and make sure you read it properly and your pizza will be the dreamiest pizza dough you have ever made. You will never look back… I haven’t!
Neapolitan Pizza Dough DAY 1
Neapolitan pizza is one of the world’s truly great pizzas. It only uses Flour, Water, a miniscule amount of yeast and salt. It tastes far better than any other dough recipe I have ever made. It is all in the timings. 2 days, don’t rush the dough.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 day 23 hours 50 minutes
Total Time 2 days
Servings 2 large pizzas feeds a family of 4
I usually double this recipe to make pizza for a family.
369 grams Italian 0 or 00 flour (I like Molina Ferrari – It is way better than Molina Caputo – but you can use very good String White Bread Flour such as Shipton Mill, Doves Farm or Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Canadian String Bread Flour.)
236 grams water
6-8 grams salt
1g dry yeast (If your dough is kept at a steady temperature of 21 degrees throughout the prove. The room you leave the dough it needs to remain a constant temperature of 21 degrees.)
Measure out your flour, water, salt and yeast. You need a scale to do this. Cups and tablespoons are way too imprecise.
Using a sourdough starter
Add the water and salt to the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Add roughly 2/3 of the flour and mix manually.
Add the starter to the wet mixture.
Using instant dry yeast
Add the water to the bowl. Add 2/3 of the flour and the dry yeast and mix manually.