I just baked the first Neapolitan style pies in my test kitchen getting ready for the real deal when the Forno Bravo wood oven arrives in April and we open the pizzeria. Many thanks to all on this board, esp Pete-zza, Bill SFNM and Tom Lehmann for helping me get my hands around this.
Bottom line up front, we cooked two 12in pies from 250gm doughballs. Flour is 50/50 Caputo 00 and unbleached KABF. Filtered water, sea salt, and Calmaldoli preferment for leavening are the only other ingredients. Dough formulation is 63% hydration, 2% salt (which I am increasing to 2.4% next time), preferment 10% of dough weight @ 46% water in the preferment.
I used San Marzano DOP (medium can) hand-chopped with potato masher rather than immersion blender which can crush seeds and make sauce bitter. I added two cloves of roasted garlic and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper to the tomatoes. The sauce was superb. Only thing I need to do is strain the tomatoes a bit more as the home oven is not hot enough to evaporate all the juice. It will be perfect in the restaurant oven at 800-900 degrees.
Toppings on Pie 1 were fresh mozzarella, fresh baby portabellas, black truffle oil, one olive, and basil added for last 1 minute of bake.
Pie 2 was the same with the exception of four slices of lean pepperoni to differentiate them and the fact that I did not put the basil on until after baking which - as Bill SFNM advocates - is definitely the way to go. Even in the home oven that basil will burn in a heartbeat and the residual pizza heat is plenty to sweat the oils/flavor out of the basil (and discolor it).
Now - as we all know - the oven is key. I am running a Wolf on 550 convection with a two inch thick stone on the top rack. With the IR thermometer I measured a stone/deck temp of 605 degrees which is the best I'm going to be able to do in a residential oven without resorting to Clean cycle craziness.
Pie 1 was a 4 minute bake; pie 2 5 mins and was really nice and crisp but with a soft crumb. What suffered at the lower temp was not getting a nice open crumb and high cornicione, but I'm sure that will come with higher temps...
I am pumped with the results and only know they will get better when I return from VPN Americas training next month.
And the best part is my wife thought me a great cook but said I would never be a baker, because it's "chemistry."
Many thanks to all -- the journey begins...