The Neapolitan pizza stands out from other regional varieties because of its special dough. We explain to you what makes it stand out and how you can prepare your own Neapolitan pizza dough at home.
Pizza is not just pizza in Italy – depending on the region, there are different traditions in terms of toppings and preparation. The original recipe for the Pizza Margherita, which is known today, apparently comes from Naples, which is why the city is particularly proud of its special baking style. Since 2017, the “art of Neapolitan pizza making” is even on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.
In this article, we give you an overview of the special features of pizza from Naples and show you a classic recipe for Neapolitan-style Margherita pizza. By the way, it works especially well on a pizza stone – but if you don’t have one, you can also use it on a baking sheet.
Neapolitan pizza dough: You have to pay attention to this
What makes Neapolitan pizza so special is above all the dough. Pizza bakers use it to form: a thin, crispy base and an airy, fine pore rim. To make the Neapolitan pizza dough a success, you must pay attention to some tips for both the ingredients and the preparation:
- The right flour: In Germany, type 405 wheat flour often forms the basis for pizza dough. However, for a traditional Neapolitan pizza it is better to use special pizza flour type 00. For example, you can find it in Italian delicacies.
- The right amount of water: Neapolitan pizza dough contains at least 60 percent water—a higher ratio than other recipes. This is precisely why it is important to use the right flour so that the water can be properly absorbed. Also, make sure you use cold to ice cold water, not lukewarm or hot water.
- Only very few Yeast: Neapolitan pizza uses only one gram of yeast per kilogram of flour. The yeast creates the small, fine-pored air bubbles in the dough. The very small amount is intended to prevent the dough from bubbling uncontrollably during baking or tasting too strongly of yeast.
- Lots of patience: The dough must be kneaded for a relatively long time and then rest for a long time before it can be further processed. Neapolitan pizza is therefore difficult to prepare spontaneously and requires a little more time and patience.
In addition, you should use ingredients for the dough and topping, if possible organic quality use. Especially with animal products, such as cheese, it is important to pay attention to a sensible organic seal – for example this one Naturland stamp or that Bioland seal. This stands for Animal welfare and high standards of cultivation and production. In the case of plant-based products, organic quality means no chemical-synthetic pesticides can be used.
Neapolitan Pizza Margherita: Traditional Recipe
Neapolitan Pizza Margherita
- Preparation: about 30 minutes
- Break time: approximately 1440 minutes
- Cooking/baking time: about 20 minutes
- Crowd: 3 pieces
Pizza flour type 00
ice cold water
salt and pepper
Basil leaves to taste
Dissolve the yeast and salt in the water.
Pour the flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast-salt-water and knead the ingredients into a dough for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Either you use your hands or a food processor.
Place a tight-fitting lid on the bowl of dough. If the bowl does not have a lid, you can put a damp kitchen towel over it and also cover it with a plate. Let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 12 hours, for example overnight.
After 12 hours the dough should have risen slightly. In order not to destroy the small air bubbles in the dough, you should not knead it again now, as other pizza recipes sometimes prescribe after the resting time. Carefully remove it from the bowl and cut it into three equal parts.
Gently form the three pieces of dough into balls and then place them back in the bowl. Cover the bowl again as airtight as possible and let the dough pieces rest for another ten to twelve hours.
After the second resting period, you can process the pizza dough. Do not roll out the dough pieces with a rolling pin, but shape them with your hands. To do this, place a piece of dough on a floured work surface and shape it from the inside out to create a thin base and a slightly raised edge. Place the shaped pizza on a pizza peel or baking sheet before topping.
Mix the passata and olive oil together and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Grate the mozzarella. Wash the basil leaves.
Now you can top the Neapolitan pizza. Add a third of the passata to the dough and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the pizza with a third of the mozzarella.
Bake the pizza in the oven at 250 degrees top/bottom heat on the bottom shelf. The baking time may vary depending on the size of the pizza, the thickness of the crust and the power of the oven. On average, it takes about 10 to 12 minutes (with the pizza stone) or 15 to 20 minutes (without the pizza stone) until the pizza is ready. Then take it out of the oven and finish with a garnish of fresh basil.
Do the same with the two remaining pieces of dough.
Variation tips for the traditional recipe
You can expand the classic Margherita recipe with additional toppings as you like.
- Top the Neapolitan pizza with, for example, seasonal vegetables. For example, they are good for this paprika and zucchini or fresh tomatoes.
- For a pizza funghi you can add fresh mushrooms.
- Or you prepare one spinach pizza with the Neapolitan pizza dough.
Clue: A look at us tells you what types of vegetables are currently available in the region seasonal calendar.
if you one vegan pizza If you want to prepare it, you can easily swap out the mozzarella for a plant-based substitute of your choice. You can find inspiration for this in our guide: Vegan cheese: the best plant-based cheese alternatives.
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