Saturday night is pizza night in our house. I prefer to make my own pizza from scratch. I enjoy thin crust, Italian style pizza and find using fresh, unprocessed ingredients makes for the best tasting pizza.
In Italy today, pizza exists in a number of regional styles, of which two of the most famous are the Neapolitan and the Roman. As of 2009, the Neopolitan pizza classification is controlled by Italy's Ministry of Agriculture with regulations that touch on everything from size and ingredients to the type of oven Although you may not have your own wood-fired pizza oven at home, you can get pretty close to the real thing with a hot oven, pizza stone, and the right ingredients.
The key to homemade Italian style pizza is '00' flour. I use Antimo Caputo. Depending on where you live, this flour may be easy for you to find in your local supermarket or speciality Italian store. I used to be able to buy Antimo Caputo in my local Whole Foods but now order it online.
For the dough:
Mix 1/4 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 packet of active dry yeast
Meanwhile, place in a mixing bowl with dough hook:
3 Cups '00' flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt
When the yeast starts to bubble, add it to the dry ingredients and turn on the mixer. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water or enough water until the dough forms a consistent ball and all ingredients are incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a good while until the dough is nice and smooth- like a baby's bottom.
Oil a large bowl with olive oil and coat your dough ball with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Heat your oven to 150 degrees then immediately turn it off. Place the bowl into oven to let the dough rise for a few hours. The dough should double or even triple in size.
This recipe makes enough dough for two round pizza stone size pizzas, so we cut it in half and freeze the rest to use the following week. One pizza will feed two people.
When you are ready to make your pizza, place your pizza stone in the oven and heat to 500 degrees or even higher if you can (wood ovens generally cook pizza at 900 degrees). Gather all your toppings and roll out your dough into a nice big round. When the oven reaches temperature, remove the pizza stone and sprinkle with semolina. Place your formed pizza dough on the stone, careful to curl up the edges to form a crust, and add your desired toppings. Throw the stone back in oven to cook and you are ready for your Italian pizza night!