Pizza Napoletana

Stanislava Dimitrova
How it's made: 

Authentic pizza Napoletana is made with San Marzano tomatoes, grown on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius and mozzarella made from the milk of water buffalo, raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio. Without underestimating the topping ingredients, I have to point that, to make a really good pizza, one should start with really good pizza dough. Today I will prepare classic Pizza Napoletana using Peter Reinhart’s method of delayed fermentation described in his book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

To make the dough, stir together the flour and salt. Dissolve the yeast in 3-4 tablespoons of water. Make a well and pour yeast. Start mixing the dough as you add the olive oil. Slowly add water until all flour is well mixed into smooth sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but it should stick to the bottom. Do not worry if you don’t use all the water.

Sprinkle flour on the counter and knead the dough for a few minutes. Then, separate it into 4 equal parts. Knead and sprinkle each one of them with just enough flour to make it non-sticky. Place them in plastic food bags and put them in the refrigerator to rest overnight. The dough may stay in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

To make pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator two hours before you plan baking it. In two hours, the dough will rise. Dip your hands in flour, take the dough bowl and stretch it by bouncing the dough in circular motions. Give it a little stretch with each bounce and shape it into a pizza crust. Once the dough is stretched, it is ready for the topping.

To make the pizza sauce, use canned San Marzano tomatoes (Pomodori pellati). Chop the tomatoes, add a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and chopped fresh basil. Cook the sauce for a few minutes, until it reaches the right consistency.

Brush the pizza crust with olive oil. Spread the tomato sauce. Arrange sliced mozzarella and anchovies on top. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor. Place the pizza in preheated oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve hot with well-chilled white wine.

Use regular baking pan, covered with baking paper, or preheated baking stone for more authentic flavor.

Shopping list: 
4 ½ cups of all purpose flour, chilled
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cube of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon powder yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1-11/3 cup cold water
1 can San Marzano tomatoes (pomodori pellati)
2 mozzarella balls
1 can of anchovies
fresh basil
½ tablespoon sugar
½ tablespoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
sun-dried San Marzano tomatoes
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