Napoletana pizza dough

Classic Naples-Style “Napoletana” Pizza Dough

I’m baking my way through Peter Reinhart’s Perfect Pizza recipes from his Craftsy.com course, and next up is the classic Naples-style. Mastering this dough is my ultimate goal, but I wanted to build up to it and learn how the other recipes worked since I’m using whole grain wheat flour. The “Country” dough called for at least some whole wheat, so I worked backwards from there, moving to the American-style Neapolitan dough after that.

Recipe

Classic Naples-Style “Napoletana” Pizza Dough from Peter Reinhart’s Perfect Pizza at Home class on Craftsy.com

Process notes

Made a half recipe.

Day 1

9:10 a.m.: Make dough. Measure 319 gm of hard white wheat berries, mill, then sift out 11 gm of bran. Combine sifted freshly-milled hard white wheat flour (76°), 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp instant yeast, and 199 gm (78°). Mix on low for 1 minute with paddle attachment, adding 18 gm more water. Sit for 5 minutes. Mix again, adding in 49 gm water. Had to remove from bowl and finish mixing by hand. Next time just use 266 gm water from beginning to make mixing smoother.

9:52 a.m.: Begin 4 stretch & folds, with 5-minute intervals.

10:10 a.m.: Divide into two 278-gm balls. Place one ball in oiled plastic bag and freeze. Place other in oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

Day 2

4:45 p.m.: Remove dough from refrigerator. Turn onto counter to rest.

5:30 p.m.: Preheat oven to 550° convection, with baking stone in place. Prep toppings.

6:00 p.m.: Shape dough onto bran-dusted peel. Add toppings.

6:15 p.m.: Slide pizza onto baking stone. Bake 7 minutes.

Results

Once I bit into this pizza, I was a bit surprised. The crust was tougher, which I wasn’t expecting. But in retrospect, it’s consistent with some of my previous (lean) pizza doughs. The primary difference between this dough and my last dough is that this dough does not have the small measures of sugar and oil mixed in. Those ingredients apparently do have a big conditioning effect — after skimming Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, I stumbled across this tidbit about one of his formulas:

Note that unlike in the 50% whole grain version opposite, the sugar and oil aren’t optional [in this 100% Whole Grain Rustic Bread and Pizza Dough recipe]; they’re definitely needed to counteract the bitter tones of the whole wheat flour and to soften the bran.

Huh! It’s obviously consistent with my experience. The purist in me is disappointed that the Naples-style dough isn’t as good with my home-milled wheat, but I’m heartened to learn that I didn’t just mess up the dough. To me, the taste and texture are worth the addition of the sugar and oil. I’ll likely switch back to the “Country” style pizza dough next time I’m making a regular pizza.

Much of the bran fell off the bottom of this crust, so next time I’ll just use flour and save the bran to mix into something else I’m eating. Or, I’ll try using unsifted flour to see what kind of texture I get with that.

My initial adoration of the artichoke and herb topping has worn off, and the last couple of times I tried that topping I haven’t liked it as much. I think it’s too tangy for the earthy whole wheat crust or something.

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