This is perhaps the most authentic Neapolitan pizza recipe you will find! What’s more, it’s really easy with just 4 ingredients; flour, water, salt, and yeast.
Check out my video below with step-by-step instructions. And keep on reading for more detailed information and some background on Neapolitan pizza.
How To Make The Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
Makes 4 x 10 inch pizzas.
With 00 flour (recommended):
With Strong white bread flour (decent substitute for 00 flour):
Directions for shaping/cooking:
Keep reading for more detailed explanations of the techniques used in this recipe.
Authentic Neapolitan pizza originates from the birthplace of pizza, Naples. It involves traditional methods and ingredients that have been largely forgotten for quite a while.
American style pizza has mostly taken over Italian pizza with takeaways across the world. But fortunately, the traditional Italian pizzas are making a resurgence.
That’s not to say that American style pizzas can’t be nice because they can. But for me, and many more people like me, nothing comes close to an authentic Italian Neapolitan pizza.
The key characteristics of a perfect Neapolitan pizza are a super thin base with a crispy but light and airy crust.
The base is typically topped with a tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, as well as many other topping combinations.
The other main characteristic of an authentic Neapolitan pizza, the true classic, is that it’s wood fired. This means that it’s cooked in a traditional pizza oven that uses wood as fuel.
The flames lick over the pizza as it’s cooking, providing a slightly smoky taste, not unlike barbecuing or smoking meat. What’s more, the extreme heat produced allows for oven temperatures of up to 500 degrees Celsius (over 900 degrees Fahrenheit)!
To find out more about exactly what wood fired ovens are all about , check out my article on wood fired pizza here.
This extreme heat allows for exceptional rise in crust, allowing for a crispy yet light and soft pizza at the same time! It really is pizza heaven!
Well, yes and no. A traditional brick wood fired oven is very large and heavy, and expensive to buy or construct. So in that sense they probably are impractical for most people.
However, there are many affordable and compact pizza ovens on the market these days. My favourites are the excellent range of pizza ovens made by a company called Ooni.
They have both gas and solid fuel options depending on your preference. I own one that runs off wood pellets, which I absolutely love. Though it can be more time consuming managing the fire, which is why many people prefer the gas ones.
Excellent pizzas can still be made in a regular oven but in my view they can’t match a pizza made in a pizza oven!
The only downside is that you’ll want to eat lots of pizza!
By clicking any of the Ooni links and purchasing from Ooni, you would be supporting this website. I’ve been using their ovens for a long time now and I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t believe in their products.
Now you know what a Neapolitan pizza is, but what actually makes the pizza? What really makes this style of pizza better than other pizza? Isn’t pizza just pizza!
Well…No! It isn’t!
For me, the key is that it’s made with quality ingredients, time tested methods, artisan techniques, but most of all, it’s the fact that it’s made with love! When you make Neapolitan pizza, the perfect Neapolitan pizza, you make it with a passion!
It’s not just pizza, it’s a taste and texture sensation that’s amongst the most rewarding food in the world to make and eat.
In a word, no. The pizza you are probably thinking of is a Romana pizza.
Neapolitan pizza has a thin base with a large, well-risen crust. The thin base is extremely important as it allows the base to become crispy without the pizza becoming too crispy and dry.
However, Neapolitan pizza has a thick crust, and is not to be confused with the very crispy and thin crust Romana pizza.
Both styles of pizza are renowned for their excellence. A Romana pizza appeals to those like a really crispy crust and a Neapolitan pizza appeals to those that like a crispy crust that is soft in the middle.
For me, the Neapolitan pizza is the best as you get the really thin base with a crispy crust, but with the added benefit of a soft, baguette-like interior to the crust.
Whilst Neapolitan pizza is not necessarily a healthy meal, in comparison to a takeaway pizza, it is a much more nutritious meal. Check out my article here about this to find out how healthy Neapolitan pizza really is.
For instance, unlike the American style pizza, Neapolitan pizza dough does not contain sugar or oil. In an American style pizza, the sugar and oil is used to encourage browning on the crust, since the pizza is cooked at a much lower temperature.
An authentic Neapolitan pizza dough, on the other hand, is made with just 4 ingredients! Flour, water, salt, and yeast.
What’s more, the simple yet perfect Neapolitan pizza sauce doesn’t contain any added sugar. It contains just tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Whilst this may not sound that exciting, only the best tomatoes are used to produce a wonderfully bright and fresh sauce.
Also, a Neapolitan pizza has much less toppings on. One of the reasons why an American style pizza is thicker is so that it can support the extra weight of the toppings.
Since the base is so thin on a Neapolitan pizza, a much more modest amount of toppings are required. In addition, the quality of the dough in a Neapolitan pizza is allowed to shine. Ensuring that the toppings do not overpower the taste of the dough is a key part of the perfect Neapolitan pizza.
For some great healthy topping ideas, check out my article on authentic Neapolitan pizza toppings here.
For more information on the healthiness of Neapolitan pizza, and a breakdown of the calories, check out my in-depth article here.
Most authentic Italian pizzas are typically topped with some form of cheese. The most common cheese is Mozzarella, closely followed by Parmesan. In fact, the two are often used together.
Only good quality, fresh cheese is used, which is typically much more tasty and nutritious when compared to the cheese used on American style takeaway pizzas.
Parmesan is also available at the vast majority of supermarkets. Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano, to give it it’s real name, usually comes in a little packet in the shape of a wedge.
Fortunately, delicious mozzarella is readily available at most supermarkets. Mozzarella often comes in a bag with a brine solution to keep it fresh. The only downside is that you need to remove the moisture from the mozzarella to avoid a soggy pizza. The quickest way is by using kitchen paper.
However, you can also buy low moisture mozzarella in supermarkets which has the perfect moisture ocntent for pizza. This is defeinitely the easiest way to go.
First the dough is made, and often mixed by hand. Then the dough is proved for around 24 hours. Yes, I know this sounds like a long time but it makes for a much tastier dough with an improved texture.
Then the dough is balled, before being shaped into a pizza, topped, and then loaded into the oven.
As with any great pizza, or bread for that matter, the magic ingredient is yeast! There really is no substitute for yeast, it makes the pizza rise and gives it lovely light and airy crust.
The good news is the yeast is really easy to get hold of, in the form of instant yeast. This is a dried yeast which is readily available at most supermarkets.
Instant dried yeast is really easy to work with and lasts for many months in a cool cupboard or the fridge. Even if you intend on using a different type of yeast, it’s always good to have some dried yeast for backup.
The other type of yeast that I recommend is fresh baker’s yeast. It’s also known as cake yeast because of it’s consistency (not because it’s used in cakes!). I find that this yeast produces a little more flavour in the dough but it doesn’t keep as well. Although, you can freeze it.
For the perfect authentic Neapolitan pizza, which is cooked in a wood fired oven, the cooking takes just 90 seconds! This is due to the extreme temperatures inside a wood fired oven, which reach up to 500 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit)!
For true Neapolitan pizza, you need to use a pizza oven. You simply cannot replicate the extreme heat and open flames in a regular oven. I can highly recommend the Ooni pizza ovens – this is what I use and the pizza they produce is incredible.
Ooni offer a range of affordable pizza ovens including solid fuel and gas. They can all replicate true Neapolitan pizza, cooking the pizza in as little as 60 seconds!
For more information, check out my article on whether pizza ovens are worth it here.
However, there’s nothing stopping you cooking Neapolitan style pizza in a home oven. It won’t cook quite the same but you can still make delicious pizza. It is important to get the oven and baking tray/baking stone as hot as possible before loading the pizza. In a home oven, a Neapolitan style pizza will probably take around 6 – 9 minutes.
For more information on cooking in a normal domestic oven, check out my article here.
Note: For authentic Neapolitan topping ideas, check out my article here.
Should an Authentic Neapolitan pizza be eaten with a knife and fork or by hand?
This is a maybe pointless (excuse the pun) debate, but it is hotly (do not excuse the pun this time) contested.
In truth, this will largely depend on the particular setting, and how posh it is. But for the most part, you can eat your pizza with your hands without worrying. And this is definitely my favourite way of eating pizza!
In many restaurants, pizza is served unsliced, with a knife and fork. This is generally done to save time slicing the pizza. In which case you can cut the pizza into slices yourself and then eat it with your hands.
If the pizza is served with a pizza slicer then I think it’s definitely safe to assume that the pizza is expected to be eaten with the hands.
Many Italians prefer to eat pizza, when it is served as a meal, with a knife and fork. However, many italians also prefer cutting it into slices and then eating it.
I would just do whatever you feel comfortable with. If you are in a very posh restaurant you may want to eat it with the knife and fork (or you may just not care).
You could always ask the waiter to slice your pizza for you when you order it and gauge the reaction. Many restaurants are happy to slice the pizza before serving it if requested.
This is another controversial question for many people! Should a pizza slice be folded or not?!
In truth, it is a widely accepted and popular way of eating Neapolitan pizza. Because authentic Neapolitan pizza is very thin and a bit floppy, it folds very easily.
In fact, if a slice of Neapolitan pizza isn’t folded it can be quite difficult to eat by hand. Folding it is also my favourite way of eating pizza.
Making delicious authentic Neapolitan pizza is not easy! However, it is an incredible taste and texture experience. What’s more the whole process is really fun so just enjoy the journey!
I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m super passionate about all kinds of homemade pizza! In the last few years I've been on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Now I'm sharing what I've found out with the world!
I often get asked what type of oven I use for my pizzas. Well, I use a pizza oven made by a company called Ooni.
The range of pizza ovens that Ooni offers is just brilliant. They cover all bases, and all price points. There's affordable and portable models such as the Fyra 12 Pizza Oven and then there's state-of-the-art models such as the Karu 16 Pizza Oven pictured below.
In all honesty, I would say that the oven makes a huge difference. If you're looking to make authentic Italian pizza, a pizza oven is a must.
By clicking the link below and purchasing from Ooni, you would be supporting this website. I've been using their ovens for a long time now and I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't believe in their products.
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