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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.

neapolitan pizza

First point

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.

Hacked kneading

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.

Shaping technique

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. 


best neapolitan pizza
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quick pizza dough recipe

The Best Neapolitan Pizza

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Yield: 3 25cm Pizzas


Crusty, puffy and cheesy, this Neapolitan pizza is an absolute classic. Baked to perfection, enjoy restaurant-quality pizza at home!


  • 300g of bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp of yeast
  • 175g of water
  • 1 tsp honey/sugar
  • 4g salt

Pizza Sauce

  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. To make your pizza dough gently warm your water until it reaches body temperature. You can test this by dipping a finger into your water, which should feel neither hot nor cold to the touch. This temperature is ideal for yeast growth.
    Chefs Tip: Water that’s too hot can kill your yeast, and cold water can seriously slow down your proving time.
  2. Add your yeast and honey into your warmed water and stir until the honey is dissolved. Set the mixture aside for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam a bit on the top.
  3. Next, add your flour to a large bowl, then pour in your yeast mixture. Knead the mixture together by hand or machine until it just comes together. Then set the dough aside for 10 minutes to rest, which will result in a dough that’s easier to knead and work with.
  4. After the dough has rested, knead it by hand (10-15 Minutes) or machine (5-8 minutes in medium speed) until smooth and elastic. You can tell the dough is ready by poking a finger into it. If the indent bounces back, you’re good, if the indent stays you need to keep kneading. If after 5 Minutes of vigorous mixing, the dough is still very sticky on your hands, or not pulling away from the sides of the stand mixer, add in some additional flour a few spoons at a time until the dough is soft, but no longer sticky.
  5. Pop the dough into a large container in the fridge (as it will expand despite the cold temperature) and allow it to prove slowly for 24-48 hours (I am a huge fan of the texture and taste of 48-hour dough).
  6. Next, make your pizza sauce. This can be done in advance when making your dough, or it can be done on the day of cooking.
  7. Place a pot over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and lightly golden brown. Add the tinned tomatoes, then swirl a bit of water into the can and add this to the pot too. Simmer the sauce on medium heat for at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 1 hour if you have the time. Once ready, blend the sauce until smooth and set aside until needed. The final sauce should be thick and rich. If it feels a bit too loose, reduce the sauce for 5 minutes on a medium heat.

On the day of cooking:

  1. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide the dough into 3 (if your pans are smaller than 25cm, make smaller dough balls).
  2. The next part is pretty simple but best explained with visual aids. Simply click here for a helpful video and click through until you get to the pizza shaping stage.
  3. Shape the dough by hand into taught balls, then place them on a well-floured tray, or a large plastic container, covered in either plastic wrap  or the container lid to prove until doubled in size. This will take about 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your home. Click here to watch me shape my dough balls, to ensure the best rise.
  4. About 30 minutes before your dough is done, place your pizza stone/cast iron pan into the oven about 10cm below the grill element and turn on the grill to the highest setting.
  5. When the oven is ready, place one dough ball onto a lightly floured surface. Working from the centre outwards, dimple the dough with grouped pointed fingers, so the air-pockets move to the crust. Be exceptionally careful in all the stages not to squash or manhandle the crust area or it will lose aeration.
  6. Once the dough is starting to look like an overweight frisbee, place your right hand into the flat area in the middle to anchor the dough in place. With your left hand, in the 9 o’clock position gently lift the crust and stretch the dough away from the right hand (Now we are not trying to stretch the crust, but the central part where the filling will go). Turn the pizza 90 degrees and repeat until you have a nicely stretched base the same size as your pizza stone/cast iron pan.
  7. Gather your pizza toppings. Remove the pizza stone cast iron from the oven (the extreme heat from these can crack kitchen surfaces and scorch fabric so be super careful!).
  8. Working super quickly, drape the pizza into the cast iron pan, smear over a little sauce (too much will weigh down the base, making it soggy) and top with cheese, before returning the pan to the oven as quickly as you can manage.
  9. Cook the pizza on grill at the highest setting until the cheese has melted and the crust is golden brown. In my oven, this took only 4 minutes, but times will vary from oven to oven.
  10. Remove your pizza from the oven and (ideally) serve immediately. Return the cast iron/pizza stone to the oven for 5 minutes to get scorching hot again, before repeating the process with the remaining dough.

Happy cooking!

  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 464.33kcal
  • Sugar: 8.99g
  • Sodium: 1027.89mg
  • Fat: 6.75g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.94g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4.97g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 86.95g
  • Fiber: 5.41g
  • Protein: 14.61g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
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