This is not a quick recipe, this is a weekend recipe as you need to leave the dough to ferment and do it’s thing and not rush it. I make the dough the night before and then the following morning divide into individual dough balls and then leave all day till I’m ready to use them.
- First start by pouring the water, yeast, olive oil and sugar in a jug and give it a good mix, leave to stand for 10 minutes, you will see bubbles appear.
- In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and make a well in the middle. Now gradually pour in the yeast mix and combine with the flour using a fork. Once all the yeast mix is added you can pour the dough out onto a worktop and knead for 10 minutes.
- Shape the dough in a large ball and place into a large floured bowl. Rub the top of the dough with a little olive oil and cover with clingfilm (this will prevent the dough from getting a crust) then place a damp tea towel over it or if you have a proofing box place it in that, rub with the oil, cling film and put the lid on. Leave in a warm place for anything between 2-3 hours or until doubled in size, or ideally, you want to leave it overnight so it can ferment.
- Once the dough has doubled in size knock it back and shape into individual dough balls, around 200 g - 240 g each; you should get 4. Rub the dough again with oil, cover with clingfilm and back into the proofing box with a lid or cover with the tea towel. Leave to double in size around 6 hours or longer if possible. While the dough is proofing you may see bubbles appear, this is a good thing and it will smell amazing.
- It’s now time to make your pizza. No need for a rolling pin you can hand stretch the dough, if you use a rolling pin you will destroy all the work you’ve done in the proofing stages and lose all the air pockets in the dough. Place the dough on a floured worktop and dust the dough with flour. Using your fingers, you want to flatten the centre of the dough working your way to the edge but without flattening the edge. This way you will get a nice crust. Put the dough on both of your knuckles and stretch it by pulling your knuckles apart. Next, pick the dough up and hold it by the edge and turn it like a wheel and it will start to stretch by itself. When you hold the dough up to the light you will see the dough strands that will look like a web, that again is a good sign.
- To cook the pizza you ideally want to use a pizza stone but if you don’t have one a pizza tray will work. Preheat your oven to the maximum temperature it will go, with the stone or tray inside for at least one hour. The longer the better. Before putting on your toppings make sure the worktop is well floured so it doesn’t stick to the worktop. Remember when it comes to Neapolitan pizza’s less is more topping wise. A nice sauce (click here for tomato sauce recipe) mozzarella then a couple of toppings and finished with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Pop into the oven, it will take around 4-6 minutes and you will see the crust puff up.
Now unfortunately because this is being cooked in a conventional oven and not a wood-fired one, you are not going to get the chard crust that you get from the fire. So my top tip for achieving this is once out of the oven use a blowtorch to chard up that crust, it will give you the desired effect.