Neapolitan Pizza

Dick is pretty picky about pizza. This recipe, only slightly modified from Modernist Cuisine, is his go-to for pizza. For best results, make sure you have the proper equipment: a baking steel, pizza peel(s), and a super hot oven.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams 00 flour (we use Antimo Caputo)
  • 310 grams water
  • 10 grams honey or agave syrup
  • 10 grams salt
  • 2.5 grams vital wheat gluten (we use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2.5 grams active dry yeast

Directions

  1. Use a stand mixer and dough hook and mix until incorporated.
  2. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
  3. Let the dough rest in the bowl at room temp for 10 minutes, then mix again for 5 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and cut into 2 chunks.
  5. Stretch and roll each chunk into a smooth, even ball.
  6. Coat the balls lightly with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temp for 1 hour before using.

Dough can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for later use. When ready to use, remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator. Cover it and let it warm up to room temperature for an hour. If the dough was frozen, first defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. Covering the dough keeps the surface from drying out and forming a crust.

Assemble and Cook the Pizza

  1. While the dough is sitting at room temp, set the oven temperature as high as it will go (500 °F is a minimum – ours goes to 550), and make sure the Baking Steel is on the top rack.
  2. Stretch and flatten the dough on a floured work surface by using your fingers to press the middle of the dough flat, and then work the dough outward. Leave a narrow ridge along the perimeter of the dough.
  3. Dust a wooden pizza peel with a light, even dusting of cornmeal.
  4. Drape the dough over the back of your hand, and then rotate it slowly. The weight of the dough should gently stretch it to a circular shape and even thickness. Small blisters and bubbles should form in the dough. These are good!
  5. Place the dough onto the wooden pizza peel. Jerk the peel sharply back and forth; this prevents the dough from sticking to the peel.
  6. Spread the sauce evenly over the dough, but leave the outermost 2.5 cm / 1 in of the perimeter dry.
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the sauce. Add other toppings as desired, but don’t load it up and make it too heavy. If using spinach or other fresh greens like basil or arugula, wait until the pizza is just about done cooking to add these.
  8. To avoid losing heat from the oven, slide the pizza from the peel onto the baking steel as quickly as possible.
  9. Turn the oven off and switch it to broil on high. After about 5 minutes, use a metal pizza peel to rotate the pie a bit on the steel. After another 5 minutes, rotate again. Keep an eye on it for the next few minutes and take it out when the crust appears as cooked as you’d like it.
  10. Remove the pizza from the oven by using the pizza peel and slide it onto a cooling rack. This keeps the crust crisp.
  11. Season the pie as desired (fresh basil, chili flakes, salt, olive oil, etc). Don’t forget to season the very edge of the crust, and give it a little drizzle of oil, too. Slice and serve the pizza immediately.
Pizza