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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Neapolitan Pizza Crust

Pizza Quattro

Neapolitan Pizza Crust
This is a thin crust as is traditional in Naples but unlike Roman style, not cracker-thin. This is my own recipe that I have tweaked over the years and think I finally have it down!
Ingredients
This recipe works best if you double it so this is for 2 large pizzas.
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (Or use part white wine 1/2 cup with the water for a slightly more sweet/sour dough)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 - 4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose-King Arthur Flour (Use this measuring method and start with 4 cups and then add a little more if needed)
2 teaspoons salt
Directions
Food Processor Method: Place all of the dry into the machine with the dough hook attached and mix on low for a few seconds.
While it is still running add the water and oil at one time (I mix them together) through the shoot.
After a ball forms allow it to mix for 1 minute longer working out all of the bumps and forming an elastic ball. Remove the dough and place in an oiled bowl covered with an oiled sheet of plastic wrap. 
Kitchen Aid Method: Mix yeast & warm water until foamy on medium high speed (proofing)and than turn it to 2 on the speed button. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, oil, & salt and mix together until it forms a ball adding more flour by the 1/2 cups as needed, as soon as you have a ball that is not too dry or too sticky (slightly sticky is better than too dry)knead for 7 minutes in the Kitchen Aid. Cover with an oiled sheet of plastic wrap. 
Hand Method:
Mix the flour and salt and make a well. Add the yeast and liquid into the well. Stir the liquid and yeast together gradually adding in the flour from the edges to the middle. It will be messy at first. Eventually you will have a very sticky ball of dough, it will still be messy at this point. Using your hands and a bench scraper or spatula start scraping the dough up and slapping it back down on to the counter, do this continually for 15-20 minutes. Until it's smooth and elastic.

Allow the dough to rest until double. It may rest for a few hours but cannot be punched down and doubled again as it will then be fluffier like bread. Usually 1 hour is enough. After which you can punch it down and cover with wrap then place in the fridge over night, the flavor will be enhanced by this extra fermentation.
Dump it out on to a lightly floured counter and cut it onto 2 pieces
With oiled hands spread them out to fit the pizza pan using the *Dimpling Stretching Method.
Add your ingredients (see "pizza recipe")
Bake at 550 for 10-12 minutes.
When it is finished oil the crust with seasoned olive oil if you like a crispy crust!

Alternate Method For Baking:
Place stone in oven to preheat at least a half an hour before baking.
Spread dough out with oiled hands on to a piece of parchment cut to size on top of a paddle or on the back of a pizza pan .
Add toppings and slide on to stone when ready to bake, remove the parchment after 3 minutes and then continue baking or the parchment will burn.

*Dimpling Stretching Method
Form the dough into a fat circle and let it sit for a minute.
Start dimpling with your fingers from the inside out turning the dough as you go.
When it gets about half the size you want it to be start stretching it out by using one fist underneath and one hand to turn it: This is kind of like the pizza guys only a LOT slower and keeping it closer to the counter instead of tossing it up in the air. If the dough gets tough and doesn't want to stretch allow it to rest for a few minutes.

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