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How to Make Neapolitan-Style Pizza

Time—not a 1,000-degree oven—is essential for these delicious, thin-crust pies.

If God created the universe in just one week, a pizza recipe that takes three days seems excessive. But the dough for a great crust—delicate and crisp on the outside, tender and elastic on the inside, with a subtle, complex tang—needs at least that long to proof (leaven with yeast). “With a long, slow rise, you can use a very small amount of yeast, which creates much more nuanced flavors,” says Thomas McNaughton, the chef and dough master at San Francisco’s Flour + Water, Salumeria and Central Kitchen. Using a lot of yeast speeds things up, but it also produces a tough, unpleasantly yeasty-tasting crust (as the F&W Test Kitchen discovered when we tried to compress McNaughton’s recipe into a single day, with terrible results). Here, McNaughton shares his dough recipe, his perfect tomato sauce and his topping ideas, like sausage with olives, capers and pecorino; and sliced squash with Fontina and arugula.

Neapolitan-Style Pizza Tips

How to Make Neapolitan-Style Pizza

Slideshow: How to Make Neapolitan-Style Pizza

Fantastic pizza is easy to make at home. Here, a step-by-step guide to making perfect, thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza. View Slideshow

Pizza Steel
Photo © David Spencer

Baking Tool

Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine recommends a steel slab instead of a pizza stone, because it retains heat better. $72; bakingsteel.com

Published April 2013
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