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I had been dwelling on this for months, years really: how can I home make a pizza that’s as thin as the one I would find in a real Pizzeria?
It all started when I read a recipe by Jeff Varasano where pizza is made with sourdough and left to rise in the fridge using the Slow rising procedure. So I learned to make my own sourdough and I recorded the method in this video recipe
If you don’t have sourdough, you can follow this other recipe which requires yeast.
In the past 6 months I have made many attempts to find the best way to bake pizza at home, trying to get a result as similar as possible to the one you would find in a pizzeria. The problem is home ovens never reach high enough temperatures, so, because baking times are longer, even if the crust is perfectly baked, the topping usually ends up being too dry. To get a good result, pizza has to be baked 4 to 6 minutes tops. Over the years I have learned 3 different tricks which require the use of either a mesh baking sheet or a fire-stone or a two-step baking technique.
In this video recipe for Home-made Neapolitan pizza, I will demonstrate Jeff’s recipe using all 3 procedures. I will also show you how to freeze your pizza so you can make it beforehand and just whip it out for baking when you have last minute guests.
This is a challenging recipe, but it guarantees a really satisfactory result. If you’re looking for a simpler, quicker recipe, try the one for pizza “al taglio”.
Try it and let me know how it goes. In future, I want to find a recipe for Slow rising pizza, but made with fresh yeast, for those who don’t have time to make their own sourdough.
Video recipe for pizza made with sourdough
Yields 3 pizzas about 30 cm in size
- 330 g Water at room temperature
- 18 g Salt
- 510 g Flour 00 (medium gluten content. If you have Manitoba, use 50% of each flour)
- 45 g Sourdough (tipo polish??)
- 1.5 g Dry yeast (optional) (or use 3.5 g fresh yeast, also optional)
Rinfrescate (in che senso, rinfrescate? S.) il lievito naturale and let it sit for 3 to 4 hours so that it reaches the maximum.
- Mix 75% of the flour with the water
- Add sourdough
- Add yeast, (if using)
- Knead mixture for 5 minutes
- Add salt
- Knead for 2 minutes
- Stop the mixer
- Cover the dough properly and let it sifor 20 minutes. (this facilitates autolysis, which will make the dough nice and elastic).
- Start kneading again adding a little flour at a time
- Knead for about 20 minutes
- Stop mixer. You’ll notice the dough is very moist
- Turn it over onto the worktop and let it sit for 20 minutes
- You will see the dough become a lot drier after a while
- Break the dough gently into 300g pieces (each will make a 30 cm pizza)
- Spettate l’impasto in pezzi da 300g (per una pizza di circa 30 cm)
- Make a little ball as shown in the video
- Drizzle oil into a plastic container
- Put the dough in the container
- Let it sit for a few minutes more
- Cover the container tightly and place it in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours. It will keep up to 6 days.
- During slow leavening in the fridge, the bacteria contained in the sourdough decompose the starch in the flour giving the dough a wonderful taste, while the leavening process (forming carbon dioxide) is slowed down by the cold temperature.
- Take your container out of the fridge
- Sprinkle a little flour on your worktop
- Turn the dough balls over onto the worktop gently, trying to avoid them folding or rubbing against each other, otherwise you’ll have a hard time stretching them later.
- Cover tightly
- Let them sit for 90 to 120 minutes
- Flatten out each dough ball as shown in the video
Baking on firestone
- Turn on your oven at the highest temperature (250-300°C)and let it heat up the firestone you have put inside.
- Sprinkle flouonto your oven paddle and lay the pizza on top
- Top the pizza to your liking
- Place it on the firestone
- Bake for 4-6 minutes
This kind of baking helps you to get a result that’s really similar to the one you would get in a Pizzeria, breaking baking time into two parts. In the first part, the pizza bakes without any topping for a minute and a half. In the second part you add the topping and finish baking. If possible, you’re better off using a mesh sheet, which allows for the heat to go through the dough a lot better.
- Make a pizza as shown in the video
- Put it in the baking sheet (possibly mesh)
- Bake in a pre-heated oven (250-300°C)
- Bake for about 90 seconds, until the dough starts to form air pockets
- Take the sheet out of the oven
- Top the pizza with your favorite condimets
- Back to the oven for 6-8 minutes at 250-300°C
Baking colse to heat sources
For best results, you need to use a mesh sheet for this. This procedure requires baking close to heating elements. Try at the top and at the bottom of the oven. The idea is always to keep the pizza in the oven for the least possible time, so it bakes without drying up the toppings.
- Make a pizza as shown in the video
- Place it on a baking sheet (preferably mesh)
- Top the pizza with your favorite condiments
- Pre-heat oven to the highest temperature (250-300°C)
- Place the pizza close to the heating element at the top or at the bottom of the oven
- bake 5 to 7 minutes
American style pizza topping
I saw this topping method in “Pizza my Heart” here in California. The idea is not to put the tomato directly on the dough. I think this allows for better baking of the crust.
- Using a baster or a squeeze bottle, make a ring of tomato sauce all around the pizza
- Place the mozzarella cheese in the center
- Add other condiments of your choice (mushrooms, ham etc…)
- Still using your squeeze bottle, pour a little sauce on top of the cheese
- Cook your pizza as explained above
This procedure is rather long. If you are having guests and you want your pizza ready in no time, you can freeze it beforehand and whip it out when you need it, just follow the instructions
- Make your pizza as explained above
- Once you’ve put all your condiments in place, cover it with cling film/ saran wrap (dimmi quale dei due termini è più commune da voi… in Uk è più commune cling film, che è generico, ma so che negli States lo chiamano saran wrap, dalla marca… S.)
- Place it in the freezer
- When you want to bake it, turn on the oven and bring it to the highest temperature (250-300°C)
- Take the pizza out of the freezer and put it directly in the oven
- Bake it for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the oven