Classic Pizza Dough, Neo-Neapolitan-Style


Classic Pizza Dough, Neo-Neapolitan Style

(Makes five 8-ounce pizzas)


What makes this Neo-Neapolitan is that I use American bread flour instead of Italian -00- flour, but you can certainly use Italian flour, such as Caputo, if you want to make an authentic Napoletana dough. Just cut back on the water by about 2 ounces, since Italian flour does not absorb as much as the higher protein American flour. Always use unbleached flour for better flavor but, if you only have bleached flour it will still work even if it doesn’t taste quite as good. If you want to make it more like a New Haven-style dough (or like Totonno’s or other coal-oven pizzerias), add 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. These are optional--the dough is great with or without them. As with the Country Dough, the key is to make it wet enough so that the cornicione (the edge or crown) really puffs in the oven.

Neo-Neopolitan Dough

5 1/4 cups (24 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour

2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt


1 1/4 teaspoons (0.14 oz.) instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)

2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil (optional)

1 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) sugar or honey (optional)

2 1/4 cups (18 oz.) room temperature water (less if using honey or oil)

--You can mix this by hand with a big spoon or in an electric mixer using the paddle (not the dough hook).

--Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and mix for one minute, to form a coarse, sticky dough ball.

--Let the dough rest for five minutes, then mix again for one minute to make a smooth, very tacky ball of dough.

--Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, rub a little oil on your hands, and fold the dough into a smooth ball. Let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes and then stretch and fold the dough into a tight ball. Repeat this again, two more times, at 5 minute intervals. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and immediately place in the refrigerator. The dough can be used anywhere from 6 hours to three days after it goes in the fridge.

-- (Note: the following steps are the same as for the Country Pizza Dough:) When ready to make the pizzas, pull the dough from the refrigerator two hours prior to when you plan to bake. Divide the dough into five 8-ounce pieces (if there is any extra dough divide it evenly among the dough balls). With either oil or flour on your hands, form each piece into a tight dough ball and place on a lightly oiled pan. Mist the dough balls with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or place the pan inside a large plastic bag. Give the dough at least 90 minutes before making the pizzas. If you don’t plan to use them all, place the extra dough balls inside of an oiled freezer bag and keep in the refrigerator (for up to three days) or in the freezer (for up to three months).

--If using a pizza stone in your home oven, preheat the oven to the highest setting

one hour before you plan to make the pizzas. If using a wood-fired oven, you know what to do for your particular oven. If you do not have a baking stone you can bake the pizzas on a sheet pan.

--Top with your favorite toppings--this dough can be stretched thin (12-13 inches) for Roman-style pizzas, or 10-11-inches for Naples-style.




#1 du8 2010-12-29 14:05
I'm sure this breaks all kinds of "pizza purity" rules...but with this recipie, I have had good luck with spreading a bit of olive oil and salt on the crust and then cooking on parchment paper for a minute BEFORE topping...Then I top the pizza and remove the parchment paper and finish cooking...I have had a GREAT time with this...THANKS PETER!
#2 Peter Reinhart 2010-12-29 16:48
Great idea and, as far as rules, the only rule I subscribe to is "The Flavor Rule" (in other words, flavor rules!). So, if your technique works, which I'm sure it does to help support the sauce and toppings and retain some bottom crispness, I say go for it!
#3 Aaron 2010-12-29 18:27
Why don't you use the ice water start like in Pain A L'Ancienne in BBA?
#4 Michael Kelly 2010-12-30 11:43
Peter, I have used this recipe as written since you first published it. It is a work of art in it's simplicity,work ability and taste. I highly recommend that fellow pizza nuts use toppings sparingly and cook fully to bring out the true beauty of this crust.
#5 Michael Kelly 2010-12-30 14:58
du8. One of the problems I have faced is making 5 pizzas for my wife and I to eat in a few day period. What to do, what to do? I at first investigated making full pizzas, albeit underbaked, cooling completely and freezing. Upon recooking, they still tasted like re-heated leftover pizza. I then tried par-baking the crusts as I would a whole pizza, cooling and freezing. This worked slightly better, only I have found that the crust is a bit tougher to the bite.
My solution has been to use what doughs I need the first round, and either make foccaccia, or give the raw dough to my thankful friends.
#6 du8 2010-12-30 15:18

Luckily, Most of the time when I have made this recipe I have enough eager and hungry family members to use up all of the dough. But,I have improvised bread sticks and used extra pizza sauce to dip them in.

the first time I made this dough, I was so excited I prepared and ate two whole pizzas for myself! I thought I was going to explode!
#7 Matt Bollinger 2010-12-30 16:11
Peter, I've been using the version of this recipe from the"artisan bread's every day" book with excellent results. (Awesome book, by the way ;-) ) In the book's version, the dough is divided before it goes in the fridge. Out of curiosity, why does this version of the recipe have you wait and divide the dough on baking day?
#8 Peter Reinhart 2010-12-30 20:54
Hi Everyone,
Great comments and questions, so here are a few responses: you can, as Matt mentioned, divide the dough into dough balls immediately after mixing it, OR, put the whole bowl away and divide the dough the day of use--either way works with this recipe. When making larger batches, I do pre-divide it but in small, 5 dough-ball batches like this one, I often wait till the next day.
As for why not use ice cold water, I found that if the water is too cold the dough doesn't get enough fermentation in the fridge, and I decided that I like that early fermentation flavor. With the pain a l'ancienne the dough gets enough fermentation, between the two days and the particular method, but also needs a little more "push" for the bread applications (ciabatta, mini-baguettes, etc.), which the cold water helps provide by not exhausting the yeast. The two doughs are very similar and, frankly, you'll get great pizza from either version, as well as great breads and focaaccia, as some of you have noted. That's what's so great about these doughs--there are dozens of subtle variations and yet they all work! And don't forget, you can always freeze the unused dough balls and save them for weeks, even up to three months.
#9 Sylvia BurgosToftnes 2011-01-01 19:01
I've used the dough recipe from the "Baker's Apprentice" with consistent success. Unfortunately, that book is stored away for the next six months. Is the recipe posted here the same as in the book?
#10 Peter Reinhart 2011-01-01 19:58
It's similar, though not exactly the same. But I think you'll like it just as much.
#11 Don Smith 2011-01-02 04:32
One of my favorite variations to this dough is to add a tablespoon of dry oregano and basil, as well as about two tablespoons of finely chopped fresh garlic to the dry ingredients. Evenly distribute these additions and proceed with mixing the dough. It adds enormous flavor to the finished pizza and many who taste it express their surprise at the how good it is. I have had many people say, "I never eat all the crust -- but this is wonderful!." Give it a try, you will love it!
#12 Squish 2011-01-02 08:58
Working with this recipe with the addition of a sourdough starter for flavor only, not so much the leavening agent. Making the pizzas today! It's seems like you included a couple more rest/stretchs before putting the balls in the fridge. I'm guessing this is to develop the gluten a bit more.
#13 Dave 2011-01-02 20:53
I had a happy accident with this dough over the weekend. Using a 4 minute mix - 5 rest - 3 mix (as per the 4hr Johnson and Wales class) I made it 24 hours ahead for New Year's Eve and set it out 2 hours before intending to bake. The details aren't important but 6 hours later the balls were still under plastic wrap! I assumed the yeast had given its all but I returned them to individual containers and stuck them back in the fridge. 18 hours later, with very low expectations, I took them out to gently re-ball and was hit with an amazing blast of sourdough. The resulting pies were a huge hit and while the crown didn't puff as much as it might have otherwise the flavor made up for it.

All of my "successes" should be as good as this accident.
#14 maddyg 2011-01-04 05:57
Is there any benefit to using fresh compressed yeast over instant yeast? Also, could this recipe be multiplied to 100 lbs? Would it be a straight conversion or would I have to adjust yeast, water etc. to get the right balance?
#15 Peter Reinhart 2011-01-05 06:04
Yes, you can definitely blow this up to any size you want, keeping all the ingredients in the same weight ratio. As for fresh compressed yeast, yes, as long as it is still crumbly and not soft and putty-like (which means it's getting too old and may be over the hill--typical shelf like in the fridge is about 2 weeks, sometimes 3 weeks if you're lucky) it's great stuff. You need three times the amount, by weight than if using instant yeast. As a percentage compared to the flour weight, use 1.5% fresh yeast, or 0.5% instant yeast (that is, multiply the flour weight by 1.5% and that will be the weight for the fresh yeast. Hope this helps.
#16 Jesse 2011-01-06 22:18
I have a question about salt. I have both kosher salt and coarse sea salt, does it make a difference which salt is used?
#17 Joe Esposito 2011-01-13 15:03
#18 Marcus 2011-01-18 11:16
I'm looking to make a whole wheat classic neo with white whole wheat. How would this recipe change for this flour. Would I need to add vital wheat gluten and/or start with a biga? Thanks
#19 Mark 2011-01-28 12:25
Thanks for posting! I know you say "preheat the oven to the highest setting." Can this recipe be made in a conventional oven with a pizza stone at 475-500 degrees F? If so, do you have any tips or changes that I should make?
#20 Matt 2011-01-29 09:26
Great recipe and Method Peter. Major spring in the crust. Have you used this recipe in a high temp wood oven? Did you have any problems with the oil and/or sugar burning?
#21 Art 2011-01-30 18:40
Peter - Thanks very much for your inspirational and enthusiastic tutelage. This is great fun!
I have two questions.
#1. When I'm away from home, for example on vacation, I certainly use the hand mix technique with stretching and folding. But when I'm at home, I'd prefer to let my pigtail dough hook knead the dough for ~10 minutes or so to develop the gluten. Is there anything wrong with that? Just wondering, because you didn't mention that as an option.
#2. How do you store your rapid rise yeast? In the refrigerator, as recommended on the jar, or at room temp? A professional baker warned us not to store it in the refrigerator, I think because of moisture condensing from warm room air inside the colder jar. Of course, he would use up a jar much more quickly than I do, so that may be a variable to take into account as well. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on these options.
Thanks very much.

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