The Best Neapolitan Pizza
Crusty, puffy and cheesy, this Neapolitan pizza is an absolute classic. Baked to perfection, enjoy restaurant-quality pizza at home!
Welcome to the Lockdown Chow Down!
Join me (almost) daily as we reconnect with one of life’s most simple pleasures, food! This recipe can be viewed as a cook along on the Culinary Cartel Instagram, by clicking here, or by viewing the “The Best Pizza” highlight on Instagram stories.
I am just going to pat my own back a bit here and say that this recipe has been a sleeper hit over on my Instagram. People are loving “The Cartel Pizza” and I’ve seriously enjoyed watching the tags come in every weekend when new followers give it a go.
Ever tried to recreate great pizza at home in your electric oven and been disappointed with the results? Me too, and I never cracked it until I started exploring techniques for making amazing sourdough at home in an electric oven. This recipe borrows a few principals from sourdough baking, but uses a yeast based dough, instead of a sourdough levan.
Let’s cover a few points about why my method can work so well in a home oven, and how we create deeply complex and flavourful dough.
While you can skip it, I can’t bang on enough about giving your dough a long, slow rise in the fridge, which is referred to as “retarding the dough”. Why do we do this? Slowing down the proving time of the dough slows down fermentation, and the bacteria create more acetic and lactic acids which give the dough a more complex flavour. A dough proved in the fridge also has better structure when it comes to baking.
Why do we need to cook on a pizza stone or use cast iron?
This here is the difference between plain average and puffed, chewy, pizza bases. The searing, even, heat of a preheated cast iron pan or a pizza stone give the dough an initial intense burst of heat, which draws out excess moisture and leads to puffed, light, crisp crusts. A cookie tray simply cannot match these results, as the metal doesn’t hold onto heat in the same way. The take away? Cook your pizza on something that can be preheated to searingly hot temperatures, and can hold onto this heat evenly. Cast iron pans or grills, Le Creuset cast iron casseroles and pizza stones are all great options here.
We knead our dough until it just comes together, then allow it to rest for 10 minutes. This allows the dough to relax and autolyse. What does this mean? Essentially this rest stage allows your flour to absorb the water, and become fully hydrated. Allowing an autolyse stage at the start of the whole process reduces the kneading time required later on
Simmering the sauce for a long time
Now again, you can do the minimum 30 minute simmer here, but if you have time you will be amazed to taste how even the cheapest can of tomatoes transforms after a nice, long, slow simmer. The acidity that so often overrides any tomato flavor mellows and the natural sugars in the tomatoes really have time to develop and sweeten the sauce.
My pizza dough is gently shaped, in a special manner, to push all those lovely bubbles from our proving stage into the crust, ensuring it aerates and goes wonderfully crisp.
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel and #lockdownchowdown on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Happy cooking!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this vegan?
Absolutely! Use a plant-based cheese and other vegan toppings, and enjoy!
My dough is super wet, what do i do?
Your dough will be influenced by the humidity and your flour. If you find the dough is too sticky to handle simply work in a little more flour, adding a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is soft and pliable.