To identify a Neapolitan Pizza, you have to look at its shape; it is round with a thin center and thick edges. It includes ingredients such as such as San Marzano tomatoes (a variety of Italian tomatoes) and mozzarella di Bufala (fresh buffalo milk mozzarella). In addition to the importance of the ingredients of Neapolitan pizza, the magic lies in its preparation and cooking. In order to develop a chewy, crisp outer crust, the dough should be stretched very thin and baked quickly. Traditionally, it’s cooked in a wood oven at 900 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 seconds.
Neapolitan pizza dough is most popular creative art. It is the farthest away from an industrial product. Therefore, rigorously establishing the leavening and baking processes’ ideal conditions would be difficult, if not impossible. Each Neapolitan pizza maker has written a story in itself. In short, there is something for all tastes, but there is no shortage of fixed points.
Neapolitan Pizza is the most widely reproduced or copied of all pizza types. Authentic Neapolitan Pizza is known for being very tender, light, and moist at the same time. It cooks for only 90 seconds in an 800F degree oven and needs 58-65% hydration. Its ingredients must be Italian and coming from a specific area such as Agro-Sarnese-Nocerino where San Marzano tomatoes are grown. Neapolitan Pizza is always finished with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil.
While making a Neapolitan Pizza, we have to be careful about the ingredients that we use.
Addition to the texture, varying amounts of gluten in the dough will also play a role in its springiness and the time it takes to ferment. Flours with high levels of gluten absorb more water and produce a strong and tough dough with a longer leavening time. Lower gluten flours absorb less water and rise quickly.
Compressed solid yeast, biologically produced, soft and beige in color, with a colorless taste and low degree of acidity must be used in the making of an authentic Neapolitan Pizza. Yeast must be purchased in packages ranging from 25 to 500 grams. Instant yeast may also be used.
Slightly acidic water (with a pH a little below 7) is ideal in pizza making. The water must be clean and free of gas, microorganisms, parasites, or chemical substances that present a health risk.
Sea salt must be used. This type of salt is produced during the evaporation of ocean or lake/river saltwater with little processing which leaves behind some of its trace minerals.
The real Neapolitan pizza must be soft, elastic, easily flexible. It is no coincidence that they eat pizza wrapped in paper in Naples after having folded it in two. An understandable habit: for many, in fact, there is only one way to taste pizza and really appreciate it. Once out of the oven, immediately eat in the next four minutes. So, firstly the pizza must be served fresh and you shall eat it as soon as it’s served to you.
The flavor must be distinctive, just like freshly baked bread, with the acidic notes of tomato and the taste of lightly cooked mozzarella, with the aroma of basil, oregano, and sometimes garlic.