In part 1 of this series about making Neapolitan pizza from scratch, I explain everything you need to know about mixing pizza dough by hand. As well as the recipe at the bottom of the page, I have also made a video below so you can follow along at home.
If you are someone who prefers reading instructions/recipes to watching a video then don’t worry! I have provided detailed instructions below as well.
There really is no substitute for handmade pizza. Try out this simple way of mixing pizza dough by hand and you’ll never use any other method. It really is easy!
I think most people think mixing pizza dough by hand is something that’s too advanced for them. In reality, it really isn’t that difficult. It’s also quite rewarding and theraputic!
What’s more, it’s inexpensive and it’s quite a lot of fun. If you have kids, get them involved and make it a bit of family fun, they’ll love it!
Mixing pizza dough by hand will also develop your dough skills as quickly as possible. You will quickly gain a feel for the dough and an understanding of how it works.
The list of things you’ll need for hand mixing is pretty small:
And that is all you need! Chances are you’ll have a large bowl and a jug anyway.
You may even have some digital scales. Most digital scales are fine for weighing the ingredients.
However, you will need some accurate digital scales for weighing the yeast. But you can pick these up cheap on Amazon.
The main type of scales that I recommend are the ones where the entire top of the scale can weight ingredients. The classic example of this are the salter scales that I use:
You may pave some old digital scales in the cupboard which should do the job. However, it can be quite easy to get a false reading when weighing your dough. Sometimes the bowl or dough you are weighing doesn’t sit on the scales properly. Especially with some of the older models.
Also, most of the old digital scales I’ve used (like the ones below) time out quickly so you lose your measurement half way through. And they’re often very delayed so you end up adding too many ingredients and having to take some out.
But if you’re looking for some new ones, I can highly recommend the classic Salter scales I use. They are very reasonable priced and they are available on Amazon here.
Click the image above to check out these digital scales on Amazon. They are very reasonably prices, and even come with a 15 year guarantee!
In the end, just use whichever scales you have available. I would highly recommend weighing everything and working in grams though. Using cups is inaccurate and makes achieving consistently great hand mixed pizza dough very difficult.
Whilst the salter scales are an excellent option for pizza dough in general, they only have an accuracy of 1g. This is plenty good enough for weighing flour, water, and salt.
When it comes to yeast, however, we really need some scales accurate to 0.01g. That’s right 0.01g! This is especially true if we’re doing long proves, like 24 hours. Take a look at the accurate digital scales I have below.
With Neapolitan pizza, prove/fermentation times typically range from 12 hours – 48 hours. For this, we will need some scales that are capable of measuring tiny amounts of yeast.
The ones I have are very reliable, cheap, and you can find them on amazon here.
Click the image above to check these scales out on amazon. They are very reasonably priced and I’ve found them to be extremely reliable.
The only downside with these scales is that they can only weigh up to 500g. But if you have some regular digital scales anyway then you only need to use these for weighing yeast. Perfect!
The ingredients for a classic handmade Neapolitan pizza dough are really simple. You only need 4 ingredients:
Most great bread in general only uses these 4 ingredients. You can experiment with adding olive oil but it’s not traditional and personally I don’t find it helps a deal.
In fact, I actually find that adding oil can make your pizza burn too easily. If you are working with an oven which doesn’t get very hot though, it could be useful.
In general, the best flour for homemade pizza, or any pizza for that matter, is 00 flour. This is a finely milled flour which is quite high in protein.
Because the flour is so fine, it produces a dough which is wonderfully soft. And due to the high protein content, it produces a dough which is very strong. This allows the pizza to be stretched out really thin by hand.
Caputo pizzeria is a type of flour which is generally regarded as one of the best pizza flours in the world. It is a 00 flour from Italy, which is made specifically for Neapolitan style pizza.
Caputo Pizzeria is my favourite flour for hand mixed pizza dough, as you can see from the picture above. I bought a giant bag of it! This is typically the cheapest way to buy the flour but you can often find smaller bags on Amazon.
If Amazon don’t have the smaller bags in, they often have the large chef bags, like the one I have. Obviously it’s more money but also much better value for money. You could always split the cost with a friend, or just make loads of pizza!
Another great option for 00 flour that I’ve used quite a lot is called Molino Grassi. It is an Italian 00 flour which is designed for pizza and pasta. I have used it for both and found that it makes excellent hand mixed pizza dough. It is also generally more cost effective than Caupto flour.
If you can’t get any of these flours then try to get any 00 flour which is meant for pizza making. Most supermarkets stock 00 flour, and most of it is perfectly fine to use.
Failing this, you could always use some Strong White Bread Flour. This type of flour is available everywhere and can be used instead of 00 flour due to it’s high protein. Just bear in mind that you will need to add a little more water if using Strong White Bread Flour (see recipe at end of article).
Salt is very important in pizza dough. As well as seasoning the dough, salt also helps to build strength in the dough as it proves.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter which type of salt you use, as long as it’s fine. I just tend to use cheap regular table salt like the one below. Table salt is cheap, fine, and easy to add to your mixing bowl.
The salt need to be fine so that it mixes evenly into the dough. If you have coarse salt then just be sure to grind it down in a salt mill or a pestle and mortar.
The problem with using a salt grinder is that we need to add quite a lot of salt to our dough so it will take a long time. This is why regular table salt is great, and why most pizzerias use it.
There are many different types of yeast you can use for hand mixed pizza dough. However, for most people, I recommend using instant dried yeast. It is readily available, cheap, lasts for a long time, and is really easy to use.
Fresh yeast is also a great option but it does require a bit more work. For this recipe, I’m sticking to instant dried yeast.
If you want more information on different yeast, check out my article on fresh vs dried yeast here.
Dried yeast is available in most supermarkets or on the internet. If you need some dried yeast for your hand mixed pizza dough, click here to check the price on Amazon.
Feel free to click the image above to check out dried yeast that I use on Amazon. Just be sure to take note of which yeast you get.
If you get instant dried yeast (easy bake) you can add it straight to your flour. If you get active dried yeast, you will need to whisk it into your water first.
The method for mixing the ingredients is super easy and barely requires any explanation.
Simply place your fingers together so there are no gaps in your hand. Starting from the middle of the bowl, stir in a circling motion, bringing the ingredients together.
Once you start forming a dough, press down in order to incorporate as much flour into the dough as possible. For Neapolitan pizza, we want quite a dry dough that will be really strong.
This will enable us to stretch the pizza out really thin. Don’t worry if your dough looks dry, it will become smooth after we rest if for 30 minutes and especially after kneading.
The kneading will come in part 2 but if you haven’t already, check out my article on kneading by hand here.
Now we have everything we need, let’s jump into mixing the pizza dough. Follow the recipe below and check out the video at the top of this page.
With 00 flour:
With Strong White Bread Flour:
And that’s it! Mixing pizza dough by hand really is that simple. In the next part I’ll go into the kneading of the dough. If you can’t wait, check out my other article on kneading by hand here (with short video).
Please feel free to watch the video and leave me a comment on YouTube and subscribe or like if you found the video useful. You can also leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
I’m new to making videos and I want them to be as good as possible so your feedback is greatly appreciated.
I’ve tried to go into as much detail about mixing pizza dough by hand as possible in the video. Everything in the video is what I wish I knew when I started making pizza.
I recommend that everyone tries mixing pizza dough by hand before they go to using a kitchen mixer. You may find that you want to use your hands all the time. It’s quite addictive!
Good luck, and get mixing!
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!
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