Golden pizza with a delicious chewy and pillowy crust is at your fingertips…
It is no secret that for the best, most flavorful pizza crust you should be using overnight fermentation. This method of delayed fermentation, which takes place in the cool interior of the fridge, is used by Americas most popular pizza spots and bakers alike- because who doesn’t want the most flavorful crust possible?
So while preparing for pizza night should ideally be done beforehand, I know that for a lot of working parents and busy people it just isn’t always ideal. I wanted to create a pizza dough recipe that could be both- a make-it-bake-it dough with the added ability to sit it the fridge and get better with time. This dough recipe is at its best after 24 hours in the fridge; the flavors are more complex and the finished crust is that much more pillowy and chewy. BUT it stills tastes incredible after only three hours rest on the counter- that means you can choose to make it and eat it same day!
Two In One
This is a Neapolitan Pizza dough and calzone recipe in one. For calzones, I simply like to stretch the dough a little thicker so it can hold the extra fillings and cheese! While the pizza and calzones both cook in about 5 minutes at the highest oven setting, I find the calzones need an extra minute or two to get perfectly golden. Just keep an eye on them because they do bake fast!
TIP: Try brushing the top of the calzone with olive oil and coarse Himalayan salt, or adding a couple dabs of butter, the result is incredible!
Try this pizza dough to make Homemade Caprese Pizza Bombs from scratch!!
What is Neapolitan Pizza Dough?
Traditional Neapolitan Pizza has a thicker, chewier crust and thin centre crust. Compare it to New York Style pizza, whose crust is thin and crisp, and has a thicker centre crust- more apt for holding up those mountains of cheese. Our Neapolitan crust once baked, will be golden and have slightly charred spots, and have a crust that you actually want to eat and not just throw to the side.
The special method for getting the perfect dough texture is called Stretch and Fold. This method strengthens the dough and helps develop the gluten network in the dough- essentially getting the the same benefits of longer kneading in a fraction of the time. After each stretch and fold you will notice the dough immediately strengthen and firm up, becoming a soft ball with lovely texture.
I learned this technique from Peter Reinhards book- Artisan Breads Every Day. While it might seem a bit of an extra step- it is extremely easy to master and really fun to do! You’ll find yourself wanting to stretch and fold all your homemade breads!
Once we have mixed all the dough ingredients together and let the flour hydrate for 5 minutes, we’ll scrape the dough out onto an oiled surface.
- Rub your hands in the oil to help prevent sticking.
2. Start by reaching your hands under the front end of the dough. Pull the dough out from underneath and stretch it up over the top of the dough..
3. Repeat on the opposite side- reach under the dough, gently grab a portion and pull it towards you, stretching it up and over the top off the dough.
4. Move on to the side of the dough and reach under about halfway, pull out the dough and stretch it up and over.
5. Repeat with the fourth side. You only need to do this once on each side of the dough, then flip the whole thing over and tuck it into a ball.
If you don’t own a baking stone, you can turn a baking sheet upside down – dust it with flour or place a baking paper on top before sliding on the pizza.
If you don’t own a pizza peel, you can use a wooden cutting board. Flour it well so the pizza can easily slide off onto the baking sheet.
This recipe makes 6 individual sized pizzas or large calzones…and because of the beauty of overnight fermentation you can take a couple out to bake on Sunday, Monday, and then on Tuesday as well! Fresh pizzas all week!
Don’t be put off by the long instruction list- once you learn to make this dough, the second time will be a breeze, and you will have the most incredible airy pizza dough ever. Enjoy!!
Neapolitan Pizza and Calzone Dough Recipe
- 5 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs bread four or all purpose flour, sifted
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 2 cups plus 4 Tbs water, at room temperature
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix on the lowest speed for one minute, or by hand until well combined. The dough will be slightly sticky. Let it rest for 5 minutes to hydrate the flour.
- Switch to the dough hook(or continue mixing by hand) and mix for 3 minutes. The dough will still be slightly sticky.
- Spread a drizzle of olive oil on your work surface, and rub a spatula with oil(to keep the dough from sticking). With the oiled spatula, scrape the dough onto the oiled surface, rub your hands in the oil and stretch and fold the dough once from each direction. STRETCH AND FOLD: reach your hands under front end of the dough, stretching it out towards you, and folding it back onto the top of the dough. Repeat from the back of the dough, pulling it outwards, and folding back onto the top. Repeat from each side, oiling your hands as needed to prevent sticking. Flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces(I use a sharp knife to do this). Form each piece into a ball , and place each ball into a sandwitch sized bag misted with spray oil(or rubbed with regular oil). Seal the bags and leave them on the counter to rise, place in the fridge for overnight fermentation(recommended), or freeze, depending on when you want to bake.FREEZE: freeze the dough immedietly, and transfer the dough to the fridge the day before baking, then continue on with instructions for NEXT DAY BAKING.
ON BAKING DAY
- SAME DAY: If you want to eat the pizze/calzones the same day you are making the dough, leave them on the counter for a minimum of 2 hours before baking, 3 hours in the wintertime.NEXT DAY or up to 3 DAYS LATER(recommended): 2 hours before you plan to bake, remove the dough from the fridge. With oiled hands, round each piece into a ball and place on a baking tray fitted with a parchment sheet, cover it, and let the dough rest until baking time. One hour before you want to bake, preheat the oven and baking stone(or a baking sheet turned upside down) to the hottest setting. While the oven heats, prepare your sauce and toppings. When ready to bake, place some four in a bowl and flour your work surface and pizza peel(or wooden cutting board). Coat a ball of pizza dough in flour and tap it to form a disc. Slide the back of your hands under the dough and rotate it, using your thumbs to shape the edges into a larger circle. Continue gently stretching the dough with your thumbs until it is the desired size-it should be thicker at the edges and the centre should be quite thin, but not paper thin or it will rip.
- Place the pizza on your floured peel/(use a cutting board if you dont own a peel). Top the pizza as desired. Slide it gently onto the baking stone OR if using a baking sheet, carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, dust it with flour, gently slide the pizza onto it, and place in the oven. Bake for about 4-6 minutes. The edges will puff up and brown.FOR A CALZONE: Stretch the dough slightly thicker than you would a pizza. Place it on a floured board, and top only half of it. Fold the other half over and fold over the edges, pinching them so they stick together. Brush the top with olive oil or a couple small slabs of butter. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the top is golden brown.