Here’s the complete translation from German into English.
I left the part out where Roberto suggests using an oiled baking sheet in place of a pizza stone. I figured most of us here have such a thing. But if someone wants to try the baking sheet method, just oil the thing slightly, place a piece of dough on it and stretch it out to the rims.
0.5 liters cold tap water
875 gr. Double 00 flour
3 gr. fresh yeast
8 gr. salt
2 28oz cans San Marzano tomatoes
1-2 pinches of salt
Olive oil, fresh basil, Buffalo Mozzarella (400gr)
2 large mixing bowls, a wooden board, plastic wrap, shallow plastic container or a deep baking sheet, can opener, dough cutter, baking sheet, sieve or sifter, Tablespoon, Knife
1. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl and crumble the yeast into the water. Mix for 20 minutes by hand. Do not use a machine because the strong force of the mixing arm would only delay the fermentation process of the yeast.
“The secret of my pizza are my hands and my calm demeanor” says Roberto.
2. Add 875 gr. of Caputo 00 to the yeast-water mixture and knead the dough to a smooth finish with your hands. Roberto only uses pizza flour from the Italian Mill Molino Caputo. This flour is milled after a secret formula consisting of several different wheat types and is gently milled thus keeping the protein structures intact whereas faster milling would destroy them.
3. Add the 8 gr. salt only until the dough has been fully kneaded to a smooth finish. After adding the salt, work the dough for another 5 minutes to completely and thoroughly incorporate the salt. Never dissolve the salt in the water first and then adding the flour because the yeast’s ability to ferment and expand would be limited.
“I use salt from the Supermarket, Fleur de Sel is way too expensive” says Roberto.
4. Place the dough onto the wooden board and flatten it out with the back of your fists or knuckles, lift it up, fold it and flatten the dough again. Repeat this procedure for the next 20 minutes. Through this type of kneading, the gluten becomes an elastic mass, which in turn, holds the fermentation gases from the yeast inside the dough and give the dough a nice rise.
“I make the best doughs when I’m watching soccer at the same time. It keeps my hands warm” Roberto says.
5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the – slightly floured – mixing bowl. Seal with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at 25° C for one hour. Do not lift the wrap during this time or the dough will collapse. Slightly flour your hands and the wooden board. Place dough onto the board and cut into 4-5 equal pieces, about 300 gr. each.
6. Shape the dough pieces into smooth balls and place them into the shallow plastic container or a floured deep baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 hours at 25°C. Only then can the balls be shaped into pizza. The best results come when the dough balls have rested for 8-10 hours.
“If they rest for more then 15 hours, the dough will run through your fingers and is only good for pig fodder.” says Roberto.
7. Open 1-2 cans of tomatoes and pour them into a bowl. Crush them by hand and add 2 pinches of salt to the tomatoes. Roberto only uses San Marzano tomatoes which were grown at the foot of Vesuvio. Volcanic soil and the air from the sea give the tomatoes their intensive aroma. The tomatoes have a bottle-like shape, contain little seeds but a lot of flesh/pulp.
“San Marzanos are difficult to grow. And because they are so delicate, they are mostly harvested only by soft female hands. Maybe that’s why they’re so good” mentions Roberto.
8. Flour the wooden surface once more, pull the wrap off the dough ball container and lift the dough balls, one after another, with the dough cutter onto the board. Avoid handling the dough balls too much so the gases won’t escape from the dough.
9. Preheat oven to 250°C or higher. If you have a baking stone use it instead of the oiled baking sheet mentioned before. Roberto himself bakes the pizza in a Lava rock oven (Volcanic Rock Oven) and the oven takes at least three hours to reach 500°C. Shape the dough into a round dics, making sure that the rim contains most of the fermentation gases. Don’t get upset if the shaped pizza isn’t perfectly round.
“I’m a pizzaiolo, not an architect. A round pizza tastes just as good as an almost round one” says Roberto. Now add one tablespoon of the tomato sauce in the center.
10. Spread the tomato sauce out over the pizza. It should look like a very thin film of sauce. Leave the rim untouched, it’s suppose to be light, airy yet crunchy not covered in sauce. If the pizza is baked in a regular home oven, pre-bake the dough then add the cheese.
“It makes no sense, if the oven isn’t hot enough, to add the cheese in the beginning. I want to eat a pizza, not a cheese cracker” says Roberto.
11. Roberto prefers a Margarita pizza, his favorite. He tops them with fresh basil and a handful of finely diced buffalo mozzarella. He dices the cheese the night before and leaves it to dry overnight in the fridge. Because of this, the pizza won’t be soggy and stays crispy.
12. Last but not least, Roberto adds some olive oil which he let’s drizzle all over the pizza. Now the pre-baked pizza goes back into the oven for another 5 minutes.
“Prego” says Roberto.