Neapolitan Pizza

The Art of Making Neapolitan Pizza: From Dough to Delight

Have you ever tasted a slice of pizza that has taken you straight to vibrant streets of Naples? The art of making Neapolitan pizza is a culinary tradition that entranced food enthusiasts all around the world. The type of pizza that originates from Naples in Italy is famous for thin and stretchy dough, fresh ingredients and traditional methods of preparation. In this blog post, we focus on secrets of making the authentic Neapolitan masterpiece and the same time, discovering rich history and cultural meaning of the art of making the Neapolitan pizza. Get ready to gastronomic travel like nothing else.

Preparing authentic Neapolitan dough: Secrets and techniques

You need to choose perfect ingredients to make Neapolitan pizza dough. Neapolitan dough is based on simple ingredients, such as 00 flour, water, salt, fresh yeast or sourdough. 

As 00 flour is the finer than different types of flour, it makes it possible to prepare light, stretchy dough. Water should be cold, because this way, fermentation lasts longer..

Kneading Neapolitan dough is done by hand which lasts at least 10 to 15 minutes. This way, gluten is stretched and dough gets stretchy. Yet, nowadays, dough mixing machines are often used for convenience. 

Forming dough requires precision to gain the shape of a circle and thin crust. The last stage is fermentation when yeast produces carbon dioxide which makes dough light and fluffy. Traditional dough requires from 8 to 24 hours of resting. Also, cold fermentation is a popular solution. In this case, storing dough in a fridge takes a few days.

Tomato sauce: Culinary rituals and harmony of flavours

The tomato sauce is a key ingredient of Neapolitan pizzas. It is made from San Marzano tomatoes that grow on Neapolitan volcanic soil. True Neapolitan sauce consists of a few ingredients only: San Marzano tomatoes, salt, olive oil, fresh leaves of basil and garlic (optionally). The simplicity of the sauce makes it possible to bring out the flavours of the ingredients. The harmony of the tastes reached thanks to simple ingredients is valued in the Neapolitan pizza. Furthermore, sugar contained in tomatoes caramelises creating slightly sweet taste evening acidity, thanks to wood-fired ovens, which are characteristic of this style.

Excellent additions and ingredients 

One of the most popular additions to the Neapolitan pizza is buffalo mozzarella that provides the pizza with unique consistency and an intensive taste. Cheese made from buffalo milk contains more fat and more proteins than cheese produced from cow milk. Thanks to its composition, the buffalo milk cheese melts when it’s baked and makes velvety layer on the surface of the pizza.

Extra virgin olive oil is a different interesting ingredient, which has a positive impact on the sensory acceptance of dishes. The oil enhances aromas of other additions applied. Adding a few drops of it on the surface of a pizza before the meal is served may improve the flavour and provide additional advantages related to health.

Besides, don’t forget to add fresh herbs, such as basil and oregano, because they have antioxidant and bactericidal effects. Therefore, adding the spices to the Neapolitan pizza does not only gives it a distinctive taste, but also supports our health.

Baking and serving

What is crucial in baking the Neapolitan pizza is the temperature of the oven that is to be about 485°C, as it influences the quality and the taste of the dish This way, dough is evenly baked creating a crispy base and a puffed crust. According to guidelines by the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (AVPN), the meal should be ready within 60-90 seconds. As a result, the pizza remains soft and mellow inside. 

Traditionally, the pizza is turned round with a pizza peel. This way, even heat is distributed evenly, so the dish won’t get burnt. Some pizzerias use rotary ovens to achieve even a better result.