Authentic Italian Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe
Finding an easy homemade pizza recipe can be overwhelming: if you search on Google, the amount of results you get is absolutely mad. The reason why so many pizza recipes exist is simple: everyone has its own pizza recipe and everyone thinks it’s the best in the whole World. Guess what? We also think we have the best pizza recipe for you (and we also have the best Italian pasta pomodoro ever!), and we’re pretty sure you will agree: we wanna share with you an Authentic Italian Homemade Pizza Recipe.
If you wanna know all the secret to prepare your Italian pizza at home and still feel like a pro, keep reading: we will be sharing ingredients and method but most of all tricks and tips we’ve been learning since when we were born, being Italians from places where pizza is really a religion.
Italian pizza dough: what’s the deal?
Why us Italians are so obsessed with pizza? Well, pizza is part of our heritage, is something we all love and especially from Rome southwards is a sin not to being able to recognise a good slice of pizza or to prepare one. The reason why Italians get angry about pizza, is that we feel the whole World has literally stolen this incredible dish from us creating weird variations and very often degrading pizza to just a heap and crappy food. Pizza is the perfect representation of how important it is for us to show appreciation and love through the food and the patience and passion in making a pizza are the same everyone should put when it comes to showing love and appreciation.
The best Italian pizza recipe at home
The secret to a perfect Italian pizza recipe resides in two things: the ingredients and the method. You may think that working flour with water and yeast is not that big of a deal but in reality it is. One of the main element to consider when working with flour is that the more you manipulate it, the more it will lose strength: this is the reason why the most famous Italian pizzaioli recommend not to overdo your dough but instead to focus on the leavening.
The use of a good flour is mandatory so our personal advice is not to go for commercial brands but to use an artisanal flour, possibly organic and for sure without additives and preservatives. Make sure you don’t use a self-rising flour but a plain one: this is a huge deal when it comes to Italian pizza. In fact, by using self-rising flour you won’t give your pizza the time to rise and your pizza will be heavy and hard to digest.
If you work with plain flour and yeast, you’ll have a totally different result.
In terms of yeast, going for the fresh one is the best option but you can also opt for the dry yeast; instant yeast can be tempting but your pizza, again, won’t rise and it won’t be completely digestible.
The different types of flour and it strength index
When it comes to flour to use for preparing pizza, you have to be able to understand the differences among the different types of flour based on it strength. Let’s keep this simple: W is commonly referred to the flour’s strength and it is based on the amount of water that the flour absorbs when it is processed. The higher the amount of water absorbed, the lower the strength of the flour (because of the low amount of gluten) and also its effectiveness in the preparation of complexes leavened products such as pizza and bread.
- W between 90-160: weak flour
- W between 160-250: medium flour
- W between 250-310: strong flour
- W 310+: very strong flour (like Manitoba)
What’s the secret to make the best pizza?
Before leaving you with the pizza recipe, we wanna share a few secrets to help you in achieving an amazing result when preparing your pizza at home:
- Always use a strong flour otherwise your dough will not be able to rise correctly; if you use a weak flour mix it with Manitoba flour, or for a more professional result use a flour with strength of at least W320;
- The yeast to use can be fresh or dehydrated, but I always recommend fresh;
- The water must be at room temperature and never warm because when in contact with heat the yeast tends to stop working as it should;
- Rising is fundamental: it is advisable to let the pizza dough rise for at least 6 to 8 hours, so that it softens and bubbles form;
- The “stringing” phase, aka the moment in which the dough has to be worked to rise after leavening, can be done by hand or with a kneader using the whisk K;
- Once strung and worked to be softened, the pizza dough is ready to be spread and stuffed;
- Once leavened, the pizza dough can be frozen in single blocks.
The best Italian pizza recipe ever
The following is my recipe for a perfect pizza: it requires time and patience but the result is stunning. You may need to practice a little bit before you get the expected results.
Ingredients for for 700 grams of pizza dough
- 350 grams of weak/medium flour
- 250 grams of Manitoba flour
- 3 gr of fresh yeast
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste (1/2 teaspoon)
- Water at room temperature (about 400 grams)
- Dissolve the yeast in a little water using your hands and then, once melted, add 500 grams of the flour and the remaining water. Knead, divide into loaves or leave all the dough together and let rise for about 8 hours;
- Take the pizza dough and string it adding the remaining 100 grams of flour, oil and salt. Knead by hand or with the kneader until all the ingredients are well mixed together;
- Transfer the pizza dough to a floured surface and work it with your hands so to avoid lumps. Once ready, divide it into pieces and let it rise for 1 hour more;
- Spread the dough on lightly floured baking sheets and let it rest for 30 minutes;
- Once the hour has passed, take the pizzas, spread with your condiment of choice sauce and sprinkle with toppings;
- Bake your pizza until the crust is browned (on a regular oven, about 20-25 minutes should be enough);
- Serve hot.
Preparation time: 9 hours
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Total time: 9.4 hours
Which topping is the best?
You may be familiar with the debate in regards to which topping is the best for a pizza.
Giving the fact every person is different, as Italians we solely condemn the use of the following pizza toppings:
- Meat (with some exceptions)
- Sauces (except for tomato sauce, of course)
We also condemn serving a pizza with bread or salad: a pizza is a main dish and it has to be enjoyed without anything else. On top of that, adding carbs to carbs is not definitely a good choice for obvious reasons.
These are some of the toppings we highly recommend for you homemade Italian pizza:
- Tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese
- Mozzarella, Parma ham and mushrooms (no tomato sauce)
- Tomato sauce and salami
- Tomato sauce, Parma ham and mushrooms
- Mozzarella cheese and sliced zucchini
- Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and anchovies
- Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and sausage
- Mozzarella cheese, rocket, Parma ham, grated parmesan cheese (with or without tomato sauce)
- Mozzarella cheese, courgette flowers, anchovies;
- Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spicy salami (called diavola and it is similar to a pepperoni);
- Bianca Pizza (also called focaccia): no mozzarella cheese, no tomato, no toppings. Just extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and (optionally) rosemary. To be served alone or with cheese and charcuterie.
And we could go on and on.
How to order and eat pizza like an Italian?
If you’re going in Italy and you wanna taste a pizza, here’s how you order one like a true Italian:
- If you want a pepperoni pizza, look out for diavola pizza;
- Do not ask for a side with your pizza. Instead, start from your antipasto which usually includes fried stuff, charcuterie and so on. It’s served before having the pizza, and it’s the way we Italians use to start a dinner in a pizzeria;
- Italians do not have a culture of sipping cocktails or wine with pizza. A pint of beer is always in order;
- If you have special dietary needs make your server known; do not expect to ask for garlic bread, dipping sauces and things you’re used to and be accommodated because this is not gonna be the case;
- At the restaurant, don’t expect your pizza to come sliced. You can find pizza al taglio (by the slice) as a street food, but if you sit at a pizza place your pizza will be whole and you’ve to cut it with knife and fork.
- At the restaurant, Italians eat pizza with a fork and knife. You cut your pizza in pieces and you eat by using your hands or using a fork;
- Pizza is to be enjoyed straight from the oven and piping hot.