Recipe by: Alessandra Gennaro
Source: Italiana “Disciplinare” of Pizza
Makes 1 rectangular pizza (50 x 30 cm)
Or 4 round pizzas (30 cm pan)
- 450 g flour*
- 250 ml water**
- 12 g salt
- 1 g fresh yeast (0.3 g instant yeast)
*11-12,5% protein. The best one in Singapore is the Caputo flour (red package), at Phoom Hyatt. Otherwise, mix a good All Purpose Flour with a Canadian Flour (60%) all purpose flour, 40% Canadian flour
** Tap water or still water, lukewarm
This is the traditional method to make Pizza: the dough is kneaded by hands and leave to mature for a long time: big amount of yeast and short leavening time are the main responsible of the heaviness of pizza and, consequently, of the problems of digestion, the all-nighters and so on. Using a very small amount of yeast and let the dough to ferment (in the fridge) , at the opposite, will convert the carbohydrates to alcohol and carbon dioxide and some other products, so that you will have a great pizza crust, with a light, airy structure.
The traditional method are two, the direct and the indirect one. The first one is faster (only 6-7 hours :), the second one is slower, with a longer fermentation: you can use indifferently, even if the second one will assure a smoother surface and a soft crust.
I use the first one for the so-called Pizza al Piatto (the round pizza) and the second one for the so-called “Pizza in teglia” (in the tin).
The starting steps are the same.
- Sift the flour, place it in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Add the yeast dissolved in a cup of water taken from the total amount, then add the rest of the water and sprinkle the salt on the flour all along the edge of the bowl.
- Start incorporating the flour gradually using your fingers and then when all absorbed knead onto a work surface for about 10 ‘, folding it several times on itself, pushing the mixture without tearing it.
- From now, you can choose indifferently one or the other method. For simplify, I have linked one method to one kind of pizza, but it is not binding.
Instructions (Direct Method:“Pizza Al Piatto” [Pizza in the Plate])
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes (see above)
- Transfer it to a bowl, cover with cling film or with a towel and leave at room temperature for about 2 hours
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Punch down and divide it in 4 pieces (from 180 to 250 g each). Form each piece into a ball. Cover them with a clean towel and let raise in a draft-free place for about 4 hours
- Set a pizza stone or a round pan (30 cm diameter) in the oven and preheat to the maximum (250 – 275 degrees), for about 45 minutes
- On a lightly floured surface, stretch one ball of dough into a 30 cm round.
- Place the rounds on pizza pans; on baking sheets; or, if you have a pizza stone in your oven, on parchment.
- Season the pizza, place on the lower shelf and bake for 5’ minutes. Move the pan or the stone on the medium shelf and let cook for 3 minutes further.
Instructions (Indirect Method: “Pizza in Teglia O Pizza Al Taglio” [Pizza in the Pan])
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes (see above)
- Transfer it to a bowl, cover with cling film or with a towel and leave at room temperature for about 1 hours
- Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours
- Remove from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for at least 2 hours or until the mixture has risen.
- Transfer the dough onto the work surface and roll it out with your hands, without crushing it but spreading the dough from the centre toward the edge.
- Put your hands under the dough and place it on the middle part of your forearms and transfer to a greased baking sheet
- Let rise 2 more hours at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to the maximum (250 – 275 degrees), for about 45 minutes
- Season the pizza, place on the middle shelf and bake for 15′.
Instructions (Pizza without an Oven / Skillet Pizza on the Stove Top)
It’s a good method for baking round pizza: use it if your oven can’t keep very high temperature.
- Roll out the dough in a round, about the same diameter of your skillet. Prepare all the ingredients for the topping
- Heat the skillet over medium-high heat, for at least five minutes: it must be red-hot. Do not add any oil at all
- Transfer the circle of pizza dough to the pan. Cook for about 1 minute, or until you see large bubbles forming on top and the underside shows golden spots.
- Add toppings, except mozzarella and go on cooking for 2-3 minutes. At least, add mozzarella (diced or better grated), put the lid on, low the heat and cook for one minutes more, until mozzarella is melted;
- Transfer immediately to a cutting board or a big plate and serve!
“Sauce, Seasoning, Toppings & Co.”
One and one only: the tomato sauce. Forget to make it at home, here in Singapore (what I usually buy as “tomatoes” are everything but tomatoes :), instead turn to an high- quality canned sauce, as Mutti or Alce Nero. Usually, we do not season the sauce before topping pizza: we spoon it on the surface of the dough ( rolled out in a round tin or the lightly pressed in the rectangular pan), we spread it all over and we add all the other ingredients. Not overdo the sauce: 2-3 spoons are enough for a round pan pizza, 6-8 for a rectangular pan
Pizza bianca (white pizza)
The classic Pizza Bianca is from Rome and it has simply seasoned with extra virgin oil, fresh rosemary and course salt. Out of Rome, especially at the Pizzeria, you can also order a “white pizza”, without tomato sauce (for those who doesn’t like tomato sauce -yes, there are, in Italy too). Basically, a pizza with twice as much mozzarella: the trick is to add mozzarella after baking the dough in the oven and keep on baking for 2-3 minutes more, until the cheese is melted. It is the same method for the “Pizza ai Quattro Formaggi” (four cheese pizza)
What’s that??? Only salt and fresh basil or dry oregano. Directly over the tomato sauce, before baking.
A thousand, of course, in Italy too, especially in these last years. These are the classic ones:
- PIZZA MARINARA : tomato sauce, garlic, dried oregan, extravirgin oil
- PIZZA MARGHERITA: tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil, extravirgin oil
- PIZZA NAPOLETANA: tomato sauce, salted anchovies, dried oregan, capers (optional), extravirgin oil . That pizza as known as “napoletana” all over the world, except in Naples, where it is called Romana. So, if you order a Pizza Napoletana in Naples, probably you will eat a Pizza Marinara, if you order a Pizza Romana in Rome, surely you will have a Pizza Bianca. Looking at the menu is always a good idea, in such a case!
- PIZZA 4 STAGIONI (Four Seasons) or PIZZA CAPRICCIOSA (maybe in the proper sense of fancy, more than whim): tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushroom, pickled artichikes, olives, ham. In the Quattro Stagioni the ingredients are well arranged in 4 wedges, in the Capricciosa they are spread all over.
- PIZZA QUATTRO FORMAGGI: there are two versions, with or without tomato sauce. Mozzarella is imperative, according to the taste the other. In the North of Italy, it’s commonly used Gorgonzola, in the South Scamorza.
Download PDF here. There are more photos in this PDF. Italian Homemade Pizza