Pizza Margherita

Sourdough photo for Pizza Margherita

Neopolitan Style Pizza originated in Naples, Italy where pizza is taken very seriously. One of the requirements for a true Pizza Napoletana is that the crust can only be made with flour, water, sea salt and yeast. In Italy the flour used is called Tipo OO which refers to how refined the flour is. This type of flour is not easily found in the United States but a close facsimile can be made by combining all purpose flour with cake or pastry flour and vital wheat gluten. Yields: One 14 inch pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 tspActive Dry Bread Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tspCoarse Sea Salt
  • 2 TbspVital Wheat Gluten
  • 3/4 cupWater90-110 F
  • 1 1/2 cupBleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cupCake or Pastry Flour
  • 2-3Canned San Marzano Tomatoescrushed and drained
  • 4-8 ozFresh Mozzarellasliced
  • 2-3 tspExtra Virgin Olive Oil
  • to tasteFresh Basil
  • to tasteCoarse Sea Salt

Procedure

Place warm water in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add flours, gluten and salt. If using a stand mixer, mix for 2 minutes at low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 5 minutes on medium speed. Turn speed back to low and mix for 2 more minutes. Alternatively, if mixing by hand, knead for 8 – 10 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands. You want the dough to be on the wet side.

Cover dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours. (At this point, you may opt to refrigerate the dough overnight or continue with the next step. If refrigerating, punch down the dough, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When you take it out of the refrigerator, allow an hour or so before shaping and baking).

Punch down dough. Cover again and let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven and baking stone to 500° F. In place of a baking stone, you can use unglazed tiles from a home improvement store.

On a lightly floured surface, flatten the ball of dough with your hands and gently pat into a 14 inch circle. If the dough becomes difficult to stretch, don’t overwork it. Just let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes and try to stretch again.

Place dough circle onto a pizza peel or the back of a pizza tray or baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.

Top the dough with the tomatoes and sliced cheese. Drizzle it with 2 – 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle sea salt to taste.

Slide pizza onto preheated baking stone and bake for 12–15 minutes or until crust is golden and puffed around the edges.

Carefully remove pizza using the pizza peel or a very large spatula. Scatter fresh basil over the top, slice and enjoy.

Bakers requires an assortment of bread baking ingredients.

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