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Classic Pizza Dough, Neo-Neapolitan-Style

Written By Peter Reinhart
Thursday, 23 December 2010 Written Recipes


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

Neo-Neopalitan dough in proofing trays

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.




Can this recipe be halved? Would you make any adjustments to the proportions?


When ready to make pizzas, do you pull from the fridge and let sit 2 hours *prior* to dividing and and letting sit for 90 minutes, OR does the process described in this paragraph just take about 2 hours in total?
Also, would a humid microwave work for the 90 minute rest vs a plastic bag?

    Peter Reinhart

    The 90-120 minute rest is for after you divide the cold dough and form it into dough balls. This allows enough time for the dough to relax so that it can be more easily stretched into a crust, as well as to reawaken the yeast so that the dough can begin to gas up again, especially when it is baked. A moist or humid environment like a microwave would be fine, but be careful that it isn’t so warm as to cause the dough to wake up too quickly and, also, get too moist and sticky to handle easily. You could put a small bowl over the dough to protect it but, again, the warmer the environment the faster the dough will awaken, so lan accordingly.


Mr Reinhart, can you please give me the measurements of Neapolitan dough for one pizza? Thanks.

    Peter Reinhart

    Hi Sam, I usually make my dough balls about 8 ounces in weight for a Neapolitan pizza, though other folks use more or less. I don’t have a recipe for an 8 ounce batch but we do have one posted on the site for a larger batch. You can either divide all the ingredients by 4 or 5 to make 8 ounces of dough or make the batch and freeze the extra 8 ounce dough balls for future use. Hope this helps. If you can’t find the recipe on Pizza Quest write to me at


peter ive been using your pain lancienne recipe for neopiltana pizza for my brick oven. i get temps at 850F in oven. what are your thoughts on poolish or biga based pizza dough? suggestions on which u think is better?

    Peter Reinhart

    Hi Jorge,
    I can’t recall if I responded to this already but, just in case, here are some thoughts: I think all versions, whether biga, poolish or ancienne all will work equally well as long as you ferment the dough properly. Some people like using a preferment, either biga or poolish, and then make the dough and overnight it for one or even up to four days and swear by it. My experience has been that 28-24 hours chilled, with or without preferment, is sufficient to make make killer dough, but if your flour is very springy or high in protein, an extra day or two will help it to relax and tenderize, so it’s really just a matter of trial and error until you land upon the “sweet spot” that you like best. I wish I could say something more definitive, but I will be leading a panel at the upcoming Pizza Expo in Las Vegas at the end of March, with two dough experts, and the main topic will be all about this very subject. So write to me again, perhaps directly at in early April and I may have some news for you. Hopefully, I’ll post about what I learn on Pizza Quest in my Peter’s Blog section, so check that in early April. I hope this helps. Sincerely, Peter


Hi Peter,
For this Neo-Neapolitan I use the amounts listed in your American Pie book with SUPERB results (4 x 10 oz dough balls). I noticed however here that the water, yeast, and flour amounts differ while the salt, sugar, and oil remain the same. Do the ratios listed here reflect a new and improved dough?

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