A great Neapolitan pizza has the best sauce, the finest mozzarella, and maybe a few whole basil leaves. But before you can get into the toppings, you'll need to make the perfect crust. Neapolitan pizza is made from a lean dough—that is, it's got nothing but flour, water, salt, and yeast. No oil, no sugar, nothing. With so few ingredients, the key to great Neapolitan pizza crust is a good long fermentation period during which time starches will break down into simpler sugars, yeast will create flavorful by-products, and gluten formation will occur, allowing you to stretch the dough out easily and making for a dramatic rise and good charring in the oven.
Read more: The Pizza Lab: Three Doughs to Know
- Yield:makes 4 balls of dough
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:3 to 5 days
- 20 ounces (about 4 cups) bread flour, preferably Italian-style "OO"
- .4 ounces kosher salt (about 4 teaspoons)
- .3 ounces (about 2 teaspoons) instant yeast, such as SAF Instant Yeast
- 13 ounces water
Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Add water and incorporate into flour using hands until no dry flour remains on bottom of bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and divide into four even balls. Place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least 2 more days, and up to 4. Remove from refrigerator, shape into balls, and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before baking.