Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe

Recipe • April 17, 2013

Gluten, the protein complex in wheat that becomes tangled into sticky, stretchy dough when you knead flour with water, is crucial to a great crust. Bread flours need a large fraction of high-quality gluten to act as a binder. The more gluten in the flour, the more elastic the dough, and the firmer the baked crust will be. Kneading the dough liberates starches that are attached to the proteins and allows the gluten to form networks that make the dough strong and stretchy. When you let the dough rest, the networks relax.

All yeast-leavened doughs­ (but pizza dough in particular) benefit from higher levels of gluten. So we tried adding more gluten, in its purified form. We found that the addition of as little as 0.5% of vital wheat gluten (as in the recipe below) produces a dough that requires less kneading and yields just the right amount of chewiness when baked.

This dough is best when rolled thin and cooked quickly at a very high temperature. For best results, use our baking steel.

Adapted from Modernist Cuisine at Home


Recipe

Neopolitan Pizza Dough (3)

Not Enough Flour Mix the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. folding Stretching the surface layer develops a network of gluten that traps air inside the ball, resulting in a lighter, more blistered crust. Step 4  balls Coat the balls lightly with oil, cover them with plastic wrap, and allow them to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Marinated Cherry Tomato, Prosciutto, Parmesean, Arugula We devote a whole chapter to pizza dough, sauce, and toppings. Sugar Balls   This recipe also makes excellent dough for doughnut holes. Pretzel   We've also used this dough to make "Everything" Pretzels, Garlic Knots, and Breadsticks.

Tips & Substitutions

Steps 1 - 3
  • We recommend Antico Caputo brand 00 wheat flour, which is used by most pizzerias in Naples to create elastic doughs. You can find it in stores or online. You can use all-purpose flour, but you may need to include up to 10% more water.
  • You can make variations of this dough by using other flours. In Modernist Cuisine at Home, we include variations of this recipe using quinoa flour and buckwheat flour. You will need to adjust the amount of gluten used depending on what flour you substitute for the 00 flour. We also have several other pizza dough recipes, such as Rustic Pizza Dough, Poolish, and No-Knead Pizza Dough.
  • The added gluten creates a chewier crust than you could achieve without it.
  • We use Bob's Red Mill brand vital wheat gluten, which is readily available in most grocery stores and online.
  • Mix the ingredients together with the hook attachment of a stand mixer.
  • Allowing the gluten to relax between kneads creates especially smooth, stretchy dough.
  • The finished dough should pull away from the sides, but not the bottom of the mixing bowl. If the dough clings to the bowl's sides, sprinkle a teaspoon of flour, and continue mixing. Repeat as needed until the sides of the bowl are clean.
  • You can also knead the dough by hand. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together. Then knead the dough on a cool steel or marble surface (if possible) for about 7-8 minutes. The dough will stick to your hands, but try not to add extra flour. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, and then continue kneading for another 7–-8 minutes. It should feel springy and smooth. If it is still sticky, sprinkle in a teaspoon of flour and fully incorporate it.
Steps 4 & 5
  • This recipe makes four pizzas, so cut the dough into four equal chunks.
  • Use a well-floured surface when cutting the dough into chunks.
  • Stretch and roll each piece into a smooth, even ball. It is important to stretch the dough's surface layers in order to develop a network of gluten that traps air inside the ball, which results in a lighter, more blistered crust.
  • For a more complex flavor, refrigerate the dough ball overnight. Either way, it is important to let the dough rest for at least an hour at room temperature before using it.
  • If you are not using all four pieces of dough right away, you can freeze the sections individually. They will keep for up to three months when frozen.
  • Alternatively, use the dough for other applications. In Modernist Cuisine at Home, we use this dough for Breadsticks, Garlic Knots, "Everything" Pretzels, and Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes.
  • Try this dough with our Classic Pizza Sauce recipe.
  • Follow these tips to stretch out the dough and build the perfect pizza.

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