Do you want to learn how to make authentic Italian pizzas? You can get an after-hours tutorial by the chefs of one of Rome’s best pizzerias. If you can’t make it to Rome anytime soon, this recipe is for you from the Walks Of Italy crew.
It is crucial to make the perfect Italian pizza dough! The dough is more than the base of the pizza. It gives the pizza its texture and holds the flavors together. If done correctly, it can even transport you back to Italy.
Just a bit about pizza in Italy…
Pizza is the most well-known Italian dish, but it wasn’t always synonymous with Italy. Pizza wasn’t invented until the 19th Century when it was fast food in Naples. In fact, pizza was simpler in its beginnings, and we believe it still is today. The original pizza Napoletana consisted of simple pizza dough with tomato sauce made from Marzano tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, and olive oils. Our post contains all the information you need about choosing the best olive oil.
Another pizza hailing from Naples has the most interesting pedigree. Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889 and was charmed when she saw a local pizza maker who made a pizza in her honor with the colors of the newly-unified Italy flag–red tomatoes (white mozzarella), green basil, and white mozzarella. You guessed it. On some menus, it’s called the pizza margherita or margarita.
Italian food, like Italian pizza, is very local. Although any authentic Italian pizza must be prepared in a wood-fired oven, pizzerias without one cannot legally call themselves a pizzeria. The world-famous Naples pizza is called “pizza alta”, which is a thick crust. In Rome, pizza is thin-crust and crisp.
As with all Italian food, pizza tastes best when it is made from fresh, local ingredients. This is not the same as the synthetic cheese and microwaved dough that you find in Italy.
It is best to make it at home, as opposed to going to a pizzeria that uses great ingredients and has a wood-fired oven. You can make it at home.
Continue reading: The Only Italian Lasagna recipe you’ll ever need
How to make an Italian Pizza
You can make 4 pizzas with this dough, each about 12 inches in diameter.
- 600 mL warm water
- 7 cups (1kg) flour type “00”*
- 2.5 to 3 tablespoons (25g) of fresh yeast, or 2 teaspoons (8-8g) of dried yeast.
- 6 tablespoons extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
*Note on flour: The flour “00” (or “doppio zero”) is the highest-quality and most refined flour in Italy. You don’t have access to it (or is too costly)? You can use all-purpose flour to do the same!
How to make authentic Italian pizza
Follow these steps:
- Mix the warm water and the yeast in a large bowl. This does not mean that the water should be hot or cold, but it should be warm. This is the type yeast prefers. Stir the yeast until it dissolves.
- You can place almost all the flour on the table as a volcano. (Think Mt. Vesuvius, appropriate considering Naples is the king among all pizza cities! ).
- Mix the yeast-and warm-water mixture with all the other ingredients and pour it into the “crater” of the volcano.
- Mix everything for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Keep your surface floured.
- Put the dough in a bowl and grease it with olive oil. Turn the dough so that the top is lightly oiled.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for four to five hours.
- Optional for authentic pizza. With a knife, make a cross on top of the dough. This is an old Italian tradition and is used to “bless the bread.”
- Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C.
- Place the dough in a bowl. You can now knead the dough, getting rid of any bubbles. Note: This is the right time to recruit a child with more energy than you know what to do. ).
- Divide the dough in half, and let it rest for several minutes.
- Each section should be rolled into a 12-inch circle. This is your opportunity to choose how thick your pizza should be. Do you want it pizza alta (Neapolitan-style) or pizza bassa (Roman-style)? Remember that your crust will puff up slightly as it bakes!
- Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a pizza pan.
- Add tomato sauce, if you want a pizza rossa (red pizza). Many pizzas in Italy can be described as pizza bianca (without tomato sauce), so you don’t have to. Use a little olive oil to lightly brush the edges of your crust.
- Bake each pizza for 10 minutes. Then, add the mozzarella cheese (sliced, or grated), on top.
- Bake the pizzas until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted. You can check the bottom of the pizza by lifting it up.
- Take your pizzas out of the oven. Garnish with some basil leaves for an authentic Italian touch. And enjoy!
It is one of the best things about traveling to Italy is learning about food. Our Rome Food Tour includes a Pizza-Making Class. If you want to learn the best way to make pizza, this is the tour for you. The video below shows how we will take you into a Roman pizzeria to teach you all the secrets that skilled pizzaiolos have mastered over the years.
Walks of Italy’s Loredana of Le Marche in Italy, for sharing her authentic, Italian pizza recipe!