Neapolitan Style Pizza Dough
When we moved to Italy 3 1/2 years ago. Our new house (500 year old farmhouse) came with a HUGE wood fired pizza oven.
It hadn't been used in many years. We asked the neighbors for help and decided to make an bread and pizza day the following weekend. We bought some pizza tools and the neighbors showed us a stock of hazelnut wood behind the oven. The farm has many acres of vineyards and hazelnut orchards that 2 Piemontese brothers look after.
The following weekend we got up early and lighted the pizza oven. Lorenzo, our neighbor said it had to burn for many hours to get all the dampness out since it hadn't been used in a long time. Later in the morning we made a big batch of bread dough.
Thankfully the neighbors had a BIG mixer that he got from Ferrero, that was used to mix chocolate.
Our normal batch ended up being about 40 big rounds of bread, similar to ciabatta. The 40 rounds fit in the all at the same time (that's how big the oven is)! The fire burned for many hours, the ceiling became all white, which is what you want, extremely hot, then we had to let it cool down a little for the bread, for pizza, the hotter the better (around 700 degrees F).
We took out all the coals and saved them in a metal container, cleaned the floor of the oven by brush and then a mop with water.
When the oven was a good temperature (about 375 F), the bread went in. It turned out perfect! Everybody had fun. This started a routine to make bread every other Sunday afternoon, followed by pizza dinner.
Later, for dinner, we put the coals back in, added more wood and got the oven back up to pizza temperature.
We assembled our pizzas "Pizza Prosciutto", dough, tomato sauce, proscuitto cotto, mozzarella and oregano and put them in the oven.
They cooked in about 3-4 minutes and turned out good! It was now mid October, a little too cold to eat dinner outside, so we put all the pizzas on big pasta boards and drove them next door to their winery, Vigin, and we ate them in the winery on a big temporary table.
A very fun day working together.
The pizza dough was good but I started that day on a quest to find a great pizza dough recipe that took many tries, after about 8 bread baking days, this recipe was finally the winner. This pizza dough recipe also makes a really good foccaccia.
Taken from our old kitchen, the beloved "pizza hut"
Lorenzo, the master pizza maker
....his wife Pina, in charge of assembly
Neapolitan Style Pizza Dough
that I found on www.foodnetwork.com
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
3-4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
olive oil for bowl
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand for 1 minute, or until the yeast is creamy.
Stir until yeast dissolves.
In a large bowl, combine the flour (start with 3 cups) and salt.
Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead,
adding remaining flour if necessary, until a smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Lightly coat another large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to oil the top.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Flatten the dough with your fist. Cut into 5 ounce pieces and form into balls.
Dust the balls with flour. Place balls on floured surface and cover with plastic wrap or damp dish towel,
allowing room for the dough to expand.
Let rise 60 to 90 minutes or until doubled.
Roll out on floured surface and assemble with toppings of your choice.
Cook in hot pizza oven for 3-5 minutes or in normal oven for about 15-20 minutes.