Have you ever had a wood-fired pizza fresh out of the oven? Steaming hot, the cheese melted into an oozy puddle over rich tomato sauce and fresh basil, the crust bubbled up crisp, tender, and lightly charred with a smoky scent. Oh yeah, and baked under 2 minutes? Now that’s how a true Napoli style pizza should be baked. But how do you achieve baking a pizza like this without building your own wood-fired brick oven?
Well, the answer is my new Blackstone Patio/Pizza Oven. It is just like using a wood-fired brick oven. Pizzas bake in under 2 minutes at 750ºF or hotter. Because the pizza baked so quickly at this hot temperature the crust stays moist and tender, with a crisp exterior that is blistered and gets slightly charred, giving that smokey wood-fired oven-quality to the pizza. The oven is fueled by propane and the motor that turns the baking stone runs on batteries or can be plugged in to operate. The temperature of the oven is easy to control, just like your home oven would be. The oven only takes 10 to 12 minutes to preheat, making it perfect to bake and make more than just pizza in it. I’ve baked Rosemary Sea Salt Focaccia, roasted vegetables, and roasted Lemon Garlic Shrimp in the oven with perfect results.
Having built 2 wood-fired brick ovens. I’ve had the opportunity to bake hundreds of pizzas in this style of the oven. Each oven costing thousands of dollars, space, labor, and time to build. The ovens take at least 4 hours to preheat in order to bake the pizzas at 750º to 800ºF and then require more wood as you are baking the pizzas. The home oven can’t even come close to replicating a wood-fired oven even with a baking stone, preheating for 1 hour at the hottest temperature possible. My oven can only get to 550ºF and takes about 10 to 12 minutes to bake a pizza. Producing a more cracker-like crust since the dough loses most of the water in the baking process.
Since my purchase 3 weeks ago. I have made 32 pizzas. Now mind you I didn’t eat all of these pizzas myself. We’ve had friends over to our home and even took my pizza making on the road to my brother’s home too.
Choosing the best ingredients possible makes all the difference in the world when making pizzas. Take a trip to your favorite deli or grocery store and ask for samples to choose what you like and have the best flavor. I like to shop at Hiller’s in Ann Arbor and Zingerman’s Deli for toppings like Parmigiano-Reggiano, mozzarella, soppressata, capicola, pancetta, and prosciutto. Hiller’s carries POLLY-O Whole Milk Mozzarella making for a creamier and richer mouth fill.
The recipe for the pizza dough uses the poolish (preferment) method and requires being made a day in advance, shaped, covered, and refrigerated. Refrigerating the dough slows the fermentation process of the yeast (they go dormant) and allows the enzymatic action to convert more of the starch into sugars and the formation of butyric acid, giving a buttery/milky quality to the dough. Which in turn translates as more flavor in the dough and relaxes the gluten to make stretching the dough easy. I’ve also included a recipe for a no-cook pizza sauce.
Equipment: Pizza Dough (Shop my Amazon Page for Ingredients & Equipment)
- Measuring Cups & Spoons or Electric Scale
- 6 Quart Mixing Bowl
- Rubber Spatula
- Plastic Dough Scrape
- Metal Dough Scrape
- 1/4 Sheet Pan
Pizza Dough (2 pieces)
- Measured Weight Grams Ingredients
- 1 cup 0.50 lb. 226 g. Water (room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp. 1/2 tsp. 1/2 tsp. Instant Yeast
- 2 1/3 cup 0.75 lb. 340 g. All-Purpose Flour (King Arthur)
- 1 tsp. 0.01 lb. 8 g. Sea Salt (fine)
- In the mixing bowl combine the water, instant yeast, and half of the all-purpose flour. Stir with the rubber spatula to make a thick batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the rubber spatula.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment for 1 hour at room temperature. The mixture should be full of bubbles after an hour.
- After 1 hour. Add the sea salt and remaining all-purpose flour to the bowl and stir together using the rubber spatula until the dough is just shaggy.
- Using the plastic scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the work surface. The dough will be sticky.
- Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes or until the dough becomes less sticky and smoother. Using the plastic scrape the gather the dough together and scrape the dough off your hands.
- Lightly oil the mixing bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and fold the dough. This will degas and strengthen the dough.
- Place the dough back into the oiled bowl and ferment for 1-1/2 hours.
- After 1-1/2 hours. Lightly flour the work surface and turn the dough onto the surface.
- Using a metal bench knife divide the dough into 2 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a tight round ball and let rest seam side down on an unfloured work surface for 2 minutes.
- Lightly oil the 1/4 sheet tray.
- Using the metal bench knife move the dough rounds onto the oil sheet tray. Drizzle a little oil onto the dough rounds and rub the surface to lightly coat the dough.
- Wrap the dough/sheet tray in plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator overnight. The dough will be used directly from the refrigerator the next day. (Dough can be held in the refrigerator for 3 days)
Equipment: for Pizza Sauce (Shop my Amazon Page for Ingredients & Equipment)
- Can Opener
- 2 Quart Bowl
- Food Mill or Mesh Strainer
- Microplane® Zester
- Mortar and Pestle or Spice Grinder
- Rubber Spatula
San Marzano Pizza Sauce
- Measured Ingredients
- 28 oz. can Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes (Cento)
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Dried Basil
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 2 tsp. Fresh Garlic (grated on a fine Microplane®)
- Place the food mill over the mixing bowl. Pour the tomatoes into the food mill. Slightly crush the tomatoes with your fingers.
- Mill the tomatoes to remove the seeds and remaining fibers.
- In a mortar place the kosher salt, black pepper, dried basil and dried oregano. Use the pestle to grind and pulverize the ingredients together.
- Pour the ground ingredients into the tomato puree and add the grated garlic.
- Stir the mixture together and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. The sauce will hold for 1 week in the refrigerator.
Equipment for Baking the Pizzas: (Shop my Amazon Page for Ingredients & Equipment)
- Plastic Scrape
- Small Bowl of All-Purpose Flour (for dusting the work surface and dough)
- Metal Pizza Peel
- Metal Pizza Trays (for serving baked pizza on)
- Wheel Pizza Cutter
- Blackstone Patio/Pizza Oven, Home Oven with a Baking Stone, or Wood-Fired Oven (Preheat oven appropriately for baking pizzas)
Shaping, Topping and Baking the Pizzas (Margherita with Pancetta)
- Use the pizza dough directly from the refrigerator.
- Generously flour the work surface and place a piece of dough onto the floured surface. Flour the top of the dough.
- Using your fingertip press the dough down 1/2-inch from the edge to form a rim of dough. Turning the dough as necessary to completely shape the rim around the dough.
- Using your palm press the center of the dough to flatten and degas the center.
- Pick up the dough and place the bottom (the floured side) of the dough onto your fist. Place your fist on the outside edges of the dough where the rim begins. Slowly stretch your fist away from each other. Turning the dough and repeat until the dough is about 14-inches in diameter.
- Place the stretched dough onto the flour work surface and let rest for 15 seconds.
- Lightly flour the metal pizza peel.
- Lift and place the stretched dough onto the lightly flour pizza peel.
- Place 1/2 cup of pizza sauce onto the center of the dough and spread evenly over the surface to the rim.
- Place fresh basil leaves over the tomato sauce and sprinkle the top lightly with grated parmesan.
- Place 4 oz. of diced whole milk mozzarella evenly over the surface of the pizza.
- top with thinly sliced pancetta.
- Lift the pizza peel and give a little shake to loosen the pizza from the peel. This ensures the pizza is not sticking before being slide onto the baking surface.
- Slide the pizza onto the preheated baking stone and bake until the center is bubbling and the edges of the dough are blistered, browned, and crisp.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and place onto a metal pizza pan to serve.
- Cool for 1 minute before cutting with the wheeled pizza cutter.
- Serve immediately.
10 thoughts on “Pizza – Napoli Style!”
Couple suggestions for those trying to replicate this at home with a few tweaks
1. It’s possible to do this entirely on your grill with sandstone tile (non-coated/untreated only) or two. Preheat it really well (an hour is good, build the heat slowly so to avoid cracking the tile), and slide it on with confidence from your peel or baking sheet.
2. Caputo 00 flour. Basically super fine flour with a not too high protein content (AP works, but the texture is compromised). Other 00 is fine, but Caputo is my favorite and was the one I saw everywhere in Napoli last time I was there, and i assume they know what they’re doing at this point. To give you an idea of how long that is, the first thing they do after landing in what is now Italy in the Aeneid is eat pizza. Just saying, they might have it figured out by now.
3. Use fresh herbs in the sauce. Personally, i like thyme, basil, oregano, and salt as my only seasonings on Napolitano style, but just keep it simple and smooth. Crushed Cento San Marzanos work just as well, IMO, and save you the food mill if you don’t have one.
4. Weigh your dough. 300 g is a pretty good 14″ pizza, and this recipe gets about there (approximately 267ish grams, i think). Warmed up, it’s easier to work with if you’re confident stretching. Cold out of fridge is better for most beginners, though. My bench flour for stretching is 2:1 semolina to 00 by weight, and the semolina is pretty key to getting the crust just right.
5. Close the lid on your grill while cooking. Fully open the bottom vents, fully close the top vents (if using a kettle or similar style). This holds heat better and will get you better results. Turn it 180° after 30-45 seconds. You should be done within 90 seconds, possibly as little as 60 seconds. Check the bottom of the pizza by lifting an edge up with a spatula to make sure it doesn’t burn. An IR thermometer helps. Aim for 850 minimum on the stone, 900 for the walls.
6. Got a bunch of fire brick lying around? Even better! Makes a great diy pizza oven. Plenty of people have plans online for this.
7. Keep the toppings light and simple! Torn basil, fresh mozz (drained and pressed), and sauce are all i really need, but you can also do prosciutto (parma is most common, but if you see d’oca, grab that) and dates/figs soaked in red wine (chianti is my preference here) and rosemary overnight with mozz and olive oil (no tomato sauce).
This is just little tweaks to make everything a bit more accurate in some areas and accessible in others.
Hello J, It is my pleasure to meet you. I appreciate you taking the time to share your ideas with the Just One Bite, Please? community. It is my hope that we use this forum to share our ideas and experiences with baking and cooking to learn from each other and inspire others to go out and create and have their own adventures cooking and baking. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your ideas down for others to learn from. Have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!
Dear Mr. Ramon.
I have been making English Muffins using your recipe. I found the recipe close to the Christmas season 2018 and made batches to gift along with Tomato Jam (grandmother’s recipe) using my garden tomatoes. It was such a delicious experience for all. I make them, split them, put wax paper between them, and freeze them. They toast beautifully right from the freezer. When searching for a good pizza dough recipe, I thought of you first. Funny as I tried to figure out how to make pizza dough with the muffin dough. Thank you for your know-how and the gentle way you treat your craft.
P.S. My mother made seven loaves of bread every Saturday morning. I cannot make her bread the way she did but I can make English Muffins everyone wants to eat. I can now add pizza to my meal plan.
It is wonderful to hear from you. I appreciate you taking the time to write and share your experience with me and the Just One Bite, Please? community. It is through the sharing of ideas, experiences, and memories of cooking and baking that help to provide guidance and build a strong community. Thank you so much for your kind words of support for my work. Have a wonderful day!
Just One Bite, Please?
Hola cómo estás? La cantidad de levadura sería en total 1 cucharadita y 1/2 o en gramos cuánto sería?
Hola Mariano, Encantado de conocerte. El total es 1/2 cucharadita o 2 gramos para la receta. Al permitir que el bizcocho y la masa final fermenten más tiempo, podemos usar menos levadura en la receta. ¿Cómo te quedaron tus pizzas?
can i freeze the left over pizza dough for next week pizza nite, the burger buns recipe was so beautiful tried it last nite tnx
Hello Carlos, I would not recommend freezing the unbaked dough for use later. I would recommend to fully ferment, shape, and par-bake the dough in the pan. Then you can cool and freeze the par-baked dough until needed. Thaw the par-baked pizza dough completely before topping and baking the pizza.
Great! I have shorten a time for refrigerating. And got an extra pizza as well. Thank you. Just in case, having removed pizza from fridge is there any need to leave the dough on room temperature?
Hello Ivana, It is good to hear from you. I appreciate you waiting for my response. It is best to use the dough directly from the refrigerator. If the dough sit at room temperature too long it will become harder to handle. Especially for those who are new to handling and stretching the dough. Thank you for taking the time to write. Cheers!