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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.



Don Smith

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!


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.


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.


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?


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.

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