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Neapolitan Pizza: How to Cook at Home

Neapolitan Pizza: How to Cook at Home



Neapolitan pizza, originating from Naples, Italy, holds a hallowed place in the realm of gastronomy. Its roots date back to the 18th century, where it was considered a staple food among the working-class Neapolitans. Characterized by its thin, chewy crust, vibrant tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and aromatic basil leaves, Neapolitan pizza embodies simplicity and tradition. In 2017, UNESCO even recognized Neapolitan pizza-making as an intangible cultural heritage, solidifying its significance in the culinary world.


Popularity of Neapolitan Pizza:

The popularity of Neapolitan pizza transcends borders, captivating the taste buds of pizza enthusiasts worldwide. Its irresistible combination of flavors and textures has earned it a dedicated following, with Neapolitan pizzerias popping up in major cities across the globe. From the bustling streets of New York to the quaint alleyways of Paris, Neapolitan pizza continues to reign supreme, drawing crowds eager to experience its authentic taste and heritage.


Items Required for Making Neapolitan Pizza:

Creating Neapolitan pizza at home requires a handful of essential ingredients and specialized equipment to achieve that signature taste and texture. Here's what you'll need:

1. Pizza Dough: 

Authentic Neapolitan pizza dough is made from high-protein flour, water, salt, and yeast. It's essential to use finely milled Italian "00" flour to achieve the desired elasticity and chewiness.

2. San Marzano Tomatoes: 

These plum tomatoes, grown in the volcanic soil of the Campania region, impart a rich, sweet flavor to the pizza sauce. Look for San Marzano tomatoes certified with the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) label for authenticity.

3. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: 

Opt for fresh mozzarella cheese made from buffalo milk for an authentic Neapolitan experience. Its creamy texture and mild flavor complement the other ingredients perfectly.

4. Basil Leaves: 

Fresh basil leaves add a burst of freshness and aroma to the pizza. Use them sparingly to enhance the overall flavor profile.

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 

A drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil adds a luxurious touch to the finished pizza, enhancing its richness and depth of flavor.

6. Pizza Oven or Pizza Stone: 

Neapolitan pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven at extremely high temperatures. If you don't have access to a wood-fired oven, a pizza stone placed in a conventional oven can mimic the results.

7. Pizza Peel: 

A pizza peel is a flat, shovel-like tool used to slide the pizza in and out of the oven with ease. It's essential for handling the pizza safely during the baking process.


Time Taken for Making Neapolitan Pizza:

While crafting Neapolitan pizza at home requires patience and precision, the end result is well worth the effort. Here's a rough breakdown of the time required for each step:

1. Dough Preparation: 

1 to 2 hours (including resting and proofing time).

2. Sauce Preparation: 

10 to 15 minutes.

3. Assembly: 

10 to 15 minutes.

4. Baking: 

2 to 5 minutes per pizza.
Overall, expect to spend around 2 to 3 hours from start to finish, depending on your level of expertise and the equipment at your disposal.


Procedure for Making Neapolitan Pizza:

1. Prepare the Dough: 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, water, salt, and yeast. Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic, then let it rest and proof until doubled in size.

2. Prepare the Sauce: 

While the dough is proofing, prepare the pizza sauce by crushing San Marzano tomatoes and seasoning them with salt and a pinch of sugar for balance. Simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly, then set it aside to cool.

3. Preheat the Oven: 

If using a pizza stone, preheat your oven to its highest temperature (usually around 500°F to 550°F) for at least 30 minutes to ensure the stone is thoroughly heated. For a wood-fired oven, aim for temperatures above 800°F.

4. Shape the Dough: 

Divide the proofed dough into individual portions and shape them into round balls. On a floured surface, flatten each ball into a thin disc, leaving a slightly thicker border around the edges to form the crust.

5. Assemble the Pizza: 

Place the shaped dough onto a floured pizza peel or parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of the prepared tomato sauce over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Tear the fresh mozzarella into small pieces and distribute them evenly over the sauce. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

6. Bake the Pizza: 

Carefully transfer the assembled pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or into the wood-fired oven. Bake for 2 to 5 minutes, rotating the pizza halfway through the cooking process for even browning. The pizza is ready when the crust is golden brown and blistered, and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

7. Serve and Enjoy: 

Once baked, remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a minute before slicing. Serve hot and enjoy the authentic flavors of Neapolitan pizza in the comfort of your home.



Crafting Neapolitan pizza at home is a labor of love that pays homage to centuries of culinary tradition. By using quality ingredients, mastering the techniques, and embracing the slow food philosophy, you can recreate the magic of Naples' iconic pizza in your own kitchen. 

So roll up your sleeves, fire up the oven, and embark on a culinary journey that celebrates the art of pizza-making at its finest. Buon appetito!

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