5 simple ingredients – Flour Water Yeast Salt and Oil – are capable to create the food that for most people is the best food in the world: Pizza!
And reflecting on it, when you think about Italy, probably the first thing that pop to your mind is Pizza!
On this post I wish to give you a beginner-friendly recipe on how to make your own classic Italian Pizza Dough. Follow these steps, and you can learn some of the tricks of Italian Pizzaioli!!
But first, let me offer a small digression on Pizza style in Italy.
In my country there are two schools of thought about pizza: there is the Roman Pizza (the one that most belongs to me, being Roman!!) which is light, very thin and crusty, with slightly scorched edges; then there is the Neapolitan Pizza (the Great Italian Classic), made with a high and soft but, at the same time, crispy dough.
To get a good homemade pizza, since we do not have a wood oven, it is important to adopt some small but important directions:
- always use tepid-warm and not cold water, it will serve to make the Levite leaven better and make the dough soft and chewy;
- work the dough with energy and make a few folds to incorporate air and make it softer;
- choosing of the baking tray: it must have very low edges (max 1.5 cm), so the edge of the pizza will be more crispy.
- roll out the dough starting from the center and coming outwards. Be careful not to squeeze the edge to allow it to grow.
A short note about flour selection:
to me the best choice to make the classic pizza is with “Manitoba Flour” or the “Flour 0 ” because both are the most highly-refined and finest-ground flour available. Anyway if these flours are not available where you are or too expensive, an all-purpose flour should work just as well!
Sometimes, to obtain a lighter and more digestible dough, I use to replace a part of the flour, either with Kamut flour or with wholemeal flour. In these cases, just modify ingredients using 1/2 dose of classic flour and 1/2 of the different flour you have chosen. Remember, especially for whole wheat flour, to start kneading whole wheat flour first and then slowly adding white flour.
- 500 g. Manitoba Flour
- 400 ml. Water
- 7 gr. Dry brewer's yeast (or 1 tab fresh brewer's yeast) 20 gr. Oil (we suggest EVO)
- 11 gr. Salt
- 2 tbsp Sugar (to activate yeast if you use the dry one)
- Pour half of the flour into a large bowl with sugar, salt and brewer's yeast. Stir briefly with your fingertips.
- Slowly add the water and stir, taking care to make the yeast dissolve well (if you use fresh yeast, instead pour the yeast in a glass of tepid water and stir until it is completely dissolved, then soak it with other ingredients).
- Knead by working first in the bowl and then, when the dough ball begins to get harder, move the dough on a floured work surface and continue kneading with your hands.
- Make at least 4 folds to the dough.
- Give the dough in the shape of a ball. Oil the bowl and insert the dough, coast the surface with a little oil. Cover with a cotton towel and leave to rise for 15 minutes in a sheltered place (we use to put them into the oven with the light bulb on).
- After 15 minutes take the dough and knead it again, but without squeezing it too much, make 4 folds again and put again oiled bowl, covered with the towel.
- At this point let it rise for a long time (the minimum time is 3 hours - we suggest letting it rise 24 hours to have a highly digestible dough).
- After this time, take the leavened dough and put it on a floured surface, spread the dough gently with your hands and with a rolling pin.
- Once the dough is smooth and elastic, start by forming it into your desired shape.
- Take a pizza pan and grease with oil. Roll out the dough with your hands and sprinkle with your hands with a mixture of water and oil.
- Leave to rest in the pan for 10 minutes.
- At this point you are ready for cooking. Heat the oven to 220 ° C (428 °F).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 715mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 9g
Now that you have prepared the perfect pizza dough and given it the shape you prefer (Round as tradition wants or even Rectangular for the baking pan), it is time to garnish it with the filling you prefer more.
Traditional ones in Italy are Margherita Pizza (using just fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella and few basil leaves) or Marinara (just with tomato sauce, oregano and garlic).
It’s almost impossible to make a list of all the existing pizza tastes but there are some really delicious and particular. You are free to unleash your imagination!!
Remember that the cooking time varies according to the filling and that mozzarella must always be added at the end – more or less in the last 4 minutes of baking – to obtain a crunchy pizza with a stringy and unburned cheese!
A last note: if you prefer, you can prepare the dough with a food processor, even if it is not essential.
With the food processor it is sufficient to insert the ingredients in the order shown below and knead for about 10 minutes to get a soft dough.
At that point to let it rise in a warm place before using following the directions above.
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