Author Topic: Attempting Neapolitan Pizza  (Read 1325 times)

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Attempting Neapolitan Pizza
« on: April 16, 2014, 07:14:55 AM »
Hi Everyone

For some time now I have been attempting to make Neapolitan pizzas with mixed amounts of success.  If it is not too much trouble I would appreciate any feedback regarding ways in which is can make better use of my limited cooking resources.  First, this is the dough recipe I am using which I adapted from the AVPN regulations:

140g Baker's Flour (I am using Lighthouse Bread and Pizza Flour because that is the best I can find where I live)
90ml Water (From the tap)
1/8tsp Yeast (I am using IDY because that is what is easily available to me)
2g Salt (I am using Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)

This is the method I follow to make the dough:

1.  Add water to bowl and dissolve salt.
2.  Add 10% flour to water and combine.
3.  Add yeast to water and combine.
4.  Add approx 75% flour and combine.
5.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
6.  Add most of remaining flour to form a ball of dough.
7.  Turn out onto bench and knead for 20 minutes.
8.  Place into sealable plastic bag or plastic container and store in fridge for 2 days.
9.  Remove from fridge 2 hours before cooking and allow to rise at room temperature.
10.  Cook and enjoy!

The reason I do a cold ferment is because I live in Australia and the temperature during the warmer months can be over 30 degrees celcius during the day so leaving the dough out would make it blow out big time.  I cook the pizza in an electric oven at 230 degrees celcius which is the hottest it goes.  I put the pizza stone on the shelf right up the top of the oven and then switch the oven to grill (I believe that is called the Broiler in USA) to get it as hot as possible.

I have attached an image which shows 3 pizzas that I will describe below:

Top Pizza: I cooked this in my friend's BBQ at approximately 325 degrees celcius.  This is probably the closest I have been able to get to a Neapolitan pizza so far.
Middle Pizza: Ignoring the topping, this dough was probably the best I have produced from my electric oven.  It had a nice amount of air bubbles inside the crust and tasted really nice.
Bottom Pizza: This is the latest pizza I made in the electric oven.  I intentionally made the crust a little bit smaller on this one but wasn't really that impressed with it other than that I managed to make it quite round with a pretty uniformly sized crust.

What I would like to do is try to improve in the following areas:

Crust Weight - I would like to try and get more of the big air pockets inside the crust and make a generally lighter dough.  I also find that I can't fold my pizza like it's meant to be able to do because the crust gets quite crispy on the outside.
Crust Colour - I know I can't get those black spots on the crust in an oven as cold as mine but if I could make mine look anything more like a proper Neapolitan crust I would be so happy.

I live in a small unit (apartment) and the electric oven and bench top pizza cooker is all I have available to use.  One day I will have a wood fired oven when my partner and myself buy a house but for now I must make do with the equipment I have.  I would greatly appreciate any feedback in regards to learning how to take my pizza making to the next level and really make the best dough I can with the equipment I have.

Offline dylandylan

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  • Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Re: Attempting Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 04:23:52 PM »
Hi Allan, looks like great pizza there - I spent the best part of two years trying to approach neapolitan pizza in a home oven that went to about the same temperature yours does, and I also had a separate little benchtop pizza maker as you mention you have.

A couple of thoughts based on what you've described
 - as much as the high ambient temperature will make the dough ferment quickly, I do think it's worth experimenting with reducing the amount of yeast you're using and trying some room temperature fermenting, or at least remove the dough from the fridge earlier - 4 or 8 hours earlier.   As you're coming into winter you might find the temperatures a little more workable in the near future.
- you may be over kneading a bit, you could try instead of a 20 minute knead, just initially knead for about 5 minutes, then rest the dough for 15 minutes, give it a couple of stretch-n-folds, and rest again - repeat the resting and stretch/fold until the dough forms a smooth ball, usually only 2 or 3 repeats required.
- you haven't described at what point you "ball" the dough after doing a bulk rise - is this before you refrigerate?  If not it might pay to ball sooner rather than later.  Or if you're just making one dough ball then you don't need to worry.
- in terms of bake technique, what worked best for me in the end was a two-oven approach:  I would crank the small benchtop pizza oven up as high as it would go, while preheating the main oven on grill - being very careful not to let the main oven preheat too much so that the thermostat won't disengage the element.   I would cook the pizza on the benchtop for about 2 minutes, and then finish the bake in the main oven, directly under the grill.   This seems like a complicated procedure, but you get used to it!   I never managed true neapolitan but I was happy enough with the results (pics here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=20213.msg252128#msg252128)


  • Guest
Re: Attempting Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 02:59:43 AM »
Hi Dylan

Thanks so much for your reply.  I was a bit busy over the Easter break so I didn't get a chance to make any pizza but I can't wait to try out your suggestions as soon as possible.  To answer your question, I am balling the dough as soon as I have finished kneading it and then once it comes out of the fridge to warm up I form it back into a ball again.

Your cooking method definitely sounds interesting and I will certainly try it out.  The pizzas you cooked this way look awesome!

I will post some more photos once I have had a chance to try out your suggestions and thanks again for your help.