Classic Neapolitan style pizza dough for wood or gas fired outdoor ovens

Ingredients - Makes four 12" or five 10" pizzas

  • 500g Shipton Mill 00 flour (100% by weight)
  • 15g Fine salt (3% by weight)
  • 5g Instant dried yeast (1% by weight - see note)
  • 325g Water, luke warm (65% by weight)

Note on yeast - This quantity gives a fairly rapid process (about 3-4 hours), even with the relatively high levels of salt. If it is a particularly warm day, or you have more time, you can slow the fermentation down by reducing the yeast to 2 or 3g.

  • Extra 00 flour and Shipton Mill semolina flour - for dusting the worksurface
  • Quality tinned tomatoes, blended to a puree with salt and couple of garlic cloves, to taste.
  • Your choice of toppings (less is more I find), mozarella cheese, fresh basil leaves

Method

1. You can mix the dough using any method you wish:

  • Bread machine - this is by far the easiest method if you have one. I add the ingredients in the order suggested by the manufacturer (yeast, flour, salt, water) and use the DOUGH program. Once completed, I leave the dough in the machine until ready for step 3.
  • Stand mixer - place the four in the bowl, and add the salt and yeast at opposite edges. Incorporate them into the surrounding flour using a small spoon before adding the liquid. Use the dough hook attachment to mix and knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms, usually only a matter of a few minutes
  • By hand - proceed much as the stand mixer, only using a spatula and then your hands. Stretch and fold on the worksurface until you have formed a smooth, elastic dough.

TIP: The best way to learn these techniques is to watch an expert at work, and through the medium of the internet, we are all afforded this luxury, any time of day or night. Just don't get too hung up on exact technique, the ingredients are forgiving, and you will eventually end up with a good dough!

2. Once the dough is mixed, cover it (using cling film, a shower cap, or a damp tea towel) and allow the ball of dough to double in volume, such that when you poke a finger into it, the indentation remains. This might take an hour or two or even longer, or you can ferment overnight in the fridge. It is now ready to be shaped into dough balls.

3. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured worksurface and fold it in on itself a few times to tighten up the dough ball. Pop any large bubbles that appear on the surface. Using a dough scraper (if you don't have one, then get one - they are very cheap and more useful than you would ever imagine!), divide the dough into four or five equal pieces as desired.

4. Shape each ball of dough (again check out videos online) so that it is evenly rounded and has a smooth surface. Place on the counter leaving space for further expansion, and cover - I use an upturned clear plastic box into which I have sprayed a little water to maintain humidity levels, this is ideal as you can check on progress without disturbing the dough, but you could also use a damp tea towel.

5. When doubled in size again, the dough balls are ready to go. Experience will be your best guide here, as by the time you reach this point, you will already have done whatever is necessary to get your oven up to temperature. Make a mix of half semolina and half flour and use this to dust your worksurface and around your target dough ball. Use the scraper to get underneath the ball and flip it into a small pile of the flour mix. Coat the uppermost side likewise, and use your fingers to open out the dough into a round pizza disc, remembering that the top skin of the former dough ball should form the bottom of your pizza.

6. Add your choice of toppings before sliding onto a peel, at the same time allowing as much of the excess flour/semolina mixture to fall away as possible, and bake. I like to bake this dough on a very hot stone (400-425°C) - at this temperature the water in the dough evaporates very rapidly leaving a light and airy crust.

Enjoy the pizzas whilst they are still hot!


Tags: Sourdough Poolish

Added by: Simon Harris

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