Neapolitan pizza, with its thin, crispy crust and simple, yet flavorful toppings, is a culinary gem that has captivated food lovers worldwide. While enjoying a slice in Naples is an unbeatable experience, you can recreate this authentic taste in your own kitchen. Here’s a comprehensive guide with tips to help you make the most authentic Neapolitan pizza at home.

###1. Start with the Right Ingredients

The authenticity of a Neapolitan pizza starts with high-quality ingredients. Here’s what you need:

– **Flour:** Use type “00” flour, which is finely ground and has a lower gluten content. This helps achieve the pizza’s signature thin crust.
– **Water:** Use lukewarm, filtered water.
– **Yeast:** Traditional recipes use fresh brewer’s yeast, but active dry yeast works well too.
– **Salt:** Sea salt is preferred for its pure taste.
– **Tomatoes:** San Marzano tomatoes are the gold standard, known for their sweetness and low acidity.
– **Cheese:** Use fresh mozzarella di bufala or fior di latte.
– **Olive Oil:** Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
– **Basil:** Fresh basil leaves add a fragrant touch.

#### 2. Perfect the Dough

The dough is the heart of a Neapolitan pizza. Follow these steps to get it right:

– **Mixing:** Combine 500g of type “00” flour, 325ml of water, 1.5g of yeast, and 15g of salt. Mix until you get a sticky dough.
– **Kneading:** Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic.
– **Fermentation:** Let the dough rise in a covered bowl at room temperature for 8-24 hours. For best results, use a cool, long fermentation in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
– **Shaping:** Divide the dough into 200-250g portions, shape them into balls, and let them rest for another 2-4 hours before shaping into pizzas.

#### 3. Shape the Pizza by Hand

Shaping the dough by hand is crucial for authenticity. Here’s how to do it:

– **Flattening:** Gently press the dough ball from the center outwards using your fingertips, leaving a 1-2 cm edge for the crust.
– **Stretching:** Lift the dough and use the back of your hands to stretch it into a round shape. Avoid using a rolling pin as it can deflate the dough.

#### 4. Use a Pizza Stone or Steel

Achieving the high temperatures of a traditional wood-fired oven at home can be challenging. Here’s how to get close:

– **Preheating:** Place a pizza stone or steel in your oven and preheat it to the highest temperature (250-300°C or 482-572°F) for at least 45 minutes.
– **Transfer:** Use a pizza peel to transfer the shaped dough onto the stone or steel.

#### 5. Apply Toppings Sparingly

Neapolitan pizza is known for its simplicity. Less is more when it comes to toppings:

– **Tomato Sauce:** Crush San Marzano tomatoes by hand or use a food mill. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the dough, avoiding the crust.
– **Cheese:** Tear fresh mozzarella into small pieces and scatter them evenly.
– **Basil and Olive Oil:** Add a few fresh basil leaves and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

#### 6. Baking the Pizza

The baking process is quick and intense:

– **Time:** Bake the pizza for 6-8 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
– **Rotation:** If needed, rotate the pizza halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking.

#### 7. Finishing Touches

Once your pizza is out of the oven, give it some final touches:

– **More Basil:** Add a few more fresh basil leaves.
– **Olive Oil Drizzle:** Another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil enhances the flavor.

#### 8. Serve Immediately

Neapolitan pizza is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. Serve immediately to appreciate the perfect balance of a crisp crust, melty cheese, and vibrant toppings.

#### Final Thoughts

Making authentic Neapolitan pizza at home is an art that requires practice and patience. By following these tips and using the best ingredients, you’ll be able to bring a slice of Naples to your kitchen. Enjoy the process, experiment with flavors, and most importantly, savor each delicious bite of your homemade creation!

Buon Appetito!

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