I have been making Neapolitan-style pizzas in my home oven for the last two years. Although I am really happy with the flavor of the dough, the sauce, the melting of the cheese, etc., I still can't seem to get the signature "puff" in the crust.
My small, electric oven gets quite hot. By placing my inch-thick pizza stone two inches from the broiler element and heating the oven on the broiler setting for two hours, my pies wind up cooking in exactly two minutes. There is often a good amount of charring on my crust, but the crust is usually stiff and sense. I have been using an Ischia natural sourdough starter. My recipe, which is a variation on the "Nearlypolitan recipe" (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=10024.0
), is as follows:
Quantities shown for (1) 240g dough ball
13g 00 flour (100%)
10g water (77%)
2g 100% hydration Ischia storage starter (15%)
Mix the levain and use once it has reached its peak in volume. (You should hope for a 24-hour ferment, but it might end up nearer 14.) Ambient temperature should be ~72F.
130g 00 flour (100%)
80g water (62%)
25g levain (19%)
5g salt (3.8%, effectively 3.5% compared to total flour)
1. First mix 80% of the flour, all the water and the levain until even and let it rest for 20 minutes.
2. Then add the salt and gradually mix in the remaining flour, followed by another 20-minute rest.
3. Knead the dough using the “stretch and pull” method until it can pass the “window-pane test.” This should take ~20-25 minutes.
4. Bulk ferment the dough at ~72F until it has peaked in volume. This should take ~14 hours.
5. Divide and shape the dough into ~240g balls, which are then proofed at the same temperature for 4 hours before baking.
6. Set a pizza stone in your oven approximately 2” from the broiler and pre-heat the stone using the broiler for 2 hours. During this time, prep your ingredients.
The rest should be fairly self explanatory.
Should the levain be used when it has peaked in volume? Should the dough be bulk fermented until it has peaked in volume? How much should the individual dough balls rise during the proofing period before they are used? I have heard that the Ischia starter is a very aggressive starter and if the dough ends up over fermenting, it can break down the gluten structure and result in a dough with poor oven spring.
Any and all advice is well appreciated!