The Italians have cooked pizza for a long time, long before it became popular as a generally accepted meal all over the world. Their recipe is quite unique, with a combination of locally sourced ingredients, some of which are not popularly used when it comes to pizza making. So here, we talk about how to make Italian pizza dough.
It is agreed that the taste of the Italian pizza differs so much from the modern pizza found in different pizza outlets. The locals have made it in a more traditional way than most people know it in these present days.
Video: A Look at How to Make the Dough
This video gives tips and secrets you may not know how to make a great Italian pizza dough…
Since the steps are different, there will be something to learn from the Italian experts if we are making the legendary Italian meal…pizza.
In order to make this meal, we want to look out for ingredients peculiar to them. At least, this will be a good trace to what pizza means to the Italians. We sure want to enjoy every bit of the process and arrive at what we want.
How to make Italian pizza should be a worthwhile process and it’s a good recipe to adapt while making your next pizza. With a different touch to the way you have always made pizza, you should be having a slightly different-tasting pizza this time.
The modern way of making pizza can be categorized as more of an America style and this comparison largely comes from the method adapted while preparing it. In order to make the original Italian pizza, the outdoor oven is used.
The outcome of an oven baked meal compared to the locally produced meal is different. Just like the grilled meals, the Italian pizza uses fire from the wood to heat up the oven.
This is unlike the modern oven which would require electricity as a heat generator. The Italians use the outdoor oven for this process which is a totally traditional method of baking.
The method for making Italian pizza dough can be the same as the American method in making the crust.
But if you want to know the real taste of pizza, then you should try out the Italian method of preparing it.
What are the things to consider in making pizza dough?
In making authentic pizza dough, you need to consider the type of pizza crust to adapt. It is also important for you to give the perfect pizza recipe a balance.
Amongst other considerations, you should be conscious of the type of flour you use while making the pizza. That would determine to an extent the type of pizza you make.
For gluten-based flour baking, this type gives a dough formation that is more malleable through the knitting process. The gluten helps the dough form a much smoother crust. It also gives it a more elastic texture.
In using gluten flour to make your dough, it is easy to use the traditional method of hand knitting. The mixer can also be used to give the smoothness required. Preferably, mixers that use pizza hooks are more appropriate to blend the contents.
For the gluten-free flour, they have a tougher flour texture. If you will use gluten-free flour to make pizza dough, more yeast would be required to improve the rising capacity of the dough.
Some crust can be made with thin dough and some can be thick. See some dough types below with ranges of dough texture to choose from when making your pizza.
Italian Style Pizza Dough
Many believe it is the original way of making pizza. It is mostly prepared lightweight, having a thin crust. This lightweight nature obviously contributes to give it the crispy texture when oil is added in good quantity.
Since it is a traditional method, you might want to experience fully the Italian method which is to smoothen the dough with the hand instead of having the mixer do that for you. If you choose to use a mixer, you know the dough is ready when it stops clinging to the side of the mixer.
It is not completely an Italian Pizza if it has not gone through the local processes. The Italians have always prepared their pizza with this local means, starting from the knitting to the baking process.
Unlike the deep pizza pattern, which is typical of having the pizza divided for family members, the Italians serve whole pizza doughs for each family member. The pizza is not cut to be shared by members. Rather, it is usually a large table having several pizzas.
New York Pizza Dough
How do you identify a New York pizza dough?
This pizza dough has a thicker texture. It usually made in a family-sized pattern. Everyone gets a portion that is cut from the divided pizza. As a result of the size, the centre is soft, although the edges can be slightly crispy.
Small portions can be filling because of the heavier chunks each piece has. It is made of gluten flour and can be made from bread crusts and properties that easily produce a fine texture.
The recipe for making this type can be easily found in stores and it is not so complex to make if the right procedure is followed.
The pizza is prepared to have a thick crust. It can be made in different sizes just the width and size of the pan used. It has a characteristic circular pan shape, although one can be creative with the design when the pizza is baked.
This method will have the pizza go through a typical baking process with a properly oiled pan. Just like a typical fried meal, the pizza comes out great and has a crispy texture with that yummy feel and taste that can only come with a properly cooked meal.
It is one way of making pizza that has become so popularly adapted.
Deep Dish Pizza
This way of pizza making gives a unique taste which is largely from its contents. Just like the panned pizza, deep pizza has a thick crust. It is prepared in a pan with some depth; when the pizza is positioned, it gets a side layer at the edge because of the slight curve from the pan.
In making this, oil is poured generously into the pan before the dough is placed into the pan and placed in the oven for baking.
When the dough is brought out of the oven, it has a hedge. The hedge gives more space where topping and sauce can be added in a good quantity.
It is referred to as the Chicago style pizza. It usually has a yellowish colour which is a combination of some regular flour-like cornmeal, added as toppings on the pizza.
This is a typical Italian pizza style. It contains natural vegetables and is mostly not sauced. It was first known in bread baking but later, it became adopted as a pizza recipe. Only a few ingredients are put into this dough type.
Although some people could make a sauce for this type of pizza, the sauce would largely contain vegetables and nuts.
This pizza crust looks more like a flattened bread. If sauce will be added, it is put at the centre of the dough and covered with another layer of dough covering. There you have that yummy taste of your delicious pizza.
How to Make an Authentic Italian Pizza Dough
There are various pizza dough recipes available, but we will be making the super tasty Italian pizza dough.
Italian pizza dough recipe is made with some unique recipe which might not be so popular, depending on your locality.
The next time you consider pizza as your meal, you could try to make an Italian pizza recipe and enjoy the original taste of this traditionally prepared meal.
To make this best pizza dough, make sure you have all the ingredients needed. The dough is made up of the same simple ingredient that is found in most pizza doughs.
What are the basic ingredients needed in making an Italian pizza dough?
1. Olive oil 2 tablespoon
2. Yeast 1gram
3. Bread flour 1.5kg
4. Water 1ltr
How to Make Italian Pizza Dough – Starting from Scratch?
The step by step procedure to make your Italian dough are:
Take a large-sized bowl that will be used for mixing. Put in some quantity of water, and then begin to dilute the fresh yeast into the water with your hands until it is fully dissolved. Dry yeast can also be used.
Add the sugar into the mix and then put a ¾ quantity of the flour inside the mixing bowl. Do not put salt at the same time with the yeast. It will debar the maximum functioning of the yeast.
After adding the sugar and the yeast, mix them together to get a dough formation. Only a small part of the flour should be added at this point.
Afterward, dilute the salt with water before mixing it to the dough content so that it does not clog at a place in the flour mix. Next, add the olive oil and mix them together.
Then, put in the diluted salt and next, the olive oil. Put on the mixer and allow it to do the mixing. You will need the mixer hook for this mixture. With this mixer, you can do some part of the knitting work, or rather, a major part of it.
Pizza dough is first processed before the toppings are added to the pizza. Before you go-ahead to start your baking, it is advisable to have all that is needed to make the dough put in a place.
It will greatly help you to be more co-ordinated with the baking. This prep time can be a great time saver for you.
Incase you will be using the mixer to make your dough; it will be a little bit different. After you have added sugar to the diluted yeast, it is to turn the mixture into the mixer and begin to add the flour to the mixer.
How do you know when the dough is ready?
You know that your dough is properly mixed when it stops clinging to the body of the mixer. Initially, when you put on the mixer, the mixture is disjointed but it gradually becomes whole.
You are ready to start the knitting process when you’re sure the dough has some consistency. The knitting should be done on a floured surface.
Begin to mix the content together, by knitting the dough from side to side. Keep the consistency until you get the smooth dough. It can be sticky so you should sprinkle small quantities of flour at intervals while you knit to gather the dough.
The all-purpose flour can be used for this smoothening. The flour will also make the mix manageable to the hands.
Changes in the dough texture will begin to be visible through this process. The dough gradually becomes smooth, and you know that the dough is ready in a simple way.
Push down the ball of the dough and watch the reaction, if it rises back then you can stop mixing because the dough is ready.
Take a bowl and sprinkle small quantity of flour into it. When you have done this, put the smoothened dough into this bowl and then, cover it with a cloth.
Leave the dough to rise for two hours before you come back to it. Make the smaller ball of dough and allow it rest. It will take a while to rise and ferment.
The dough should be at this position till the next day at a normal room temperature. You could also leave it stay 48 hours before you continue the baking.
When you return to it the dough must have fermented and good to be processed. For the traditionally baked pizza dough, the dough is not flattened with a roller.
The fermentation makes the dough have gas inside of it. We do not want to let go of the gas, and so, this procedure is rather done using the hand to give the flat surface.
How to Make an Italian Pizza Crust
The crust is the foundation for making pizza. If this part is not gotten right, every other thing will fall apart.
Ensure that the dough is properly smoothened and that the flour you use is free of lumps and particles of the flour will not produce a fine baking work. So, it is important to understand the right way to do this.
The crust of pizza can be made using different patterns. You could have your dough leavened with yeast to give it a smooth and elastic texture.
Meanwhile, dough can be prepared without yeast. As a replacement for yeast, baking powder can be used for a rising agent and to give it that smoothness required.
Before making your crust, the method you choose will be largely determined by the pizza type you decide to make. Crust determines the extent to which you can be innovative with your toppings.
There are presently about ten different ways to make the pizza dough. It is important to know that there could be a bit of flexibility to the way pizza is prepared.
For pizza lovers, you could take your time to experiment. Having different methods gives you liberty with the approach to making pizza.
The important part would be to maintain consistency in the method you choose to use. And the appropriate measurement of the ingredients should be used because it determines if the pizza will be enjoyed or managed after it is cooked.
The crust does not require so much to fix. When dough balls are fully risen, the crust is ready to be made.
To make this, sprinkle flour on the surface for baking pizza. Unlike the American method of making the crust which involves using a roller to spread the dough, rollers will not be needed for an Italian crust.
To get this right, place the dough on your hand and with the other hand, gently reduce the puff from the dough by moving from the edges to the center of the dough in a flattening motion.
Don’t worry about getting it messed up, the elastic property of the dough will give it the smoothness.
Rotate the dough to a circular motion using the hand. When you do this, the gas moves to the edge of your dough and the center is more flattened.
The gas gives the pizza a very crunchy texture and that is one peculiarity of an Italian pizza. You could have the dough placed on a parchment paper before it is placed on a pizza stone.
Pizza stones are very important when making an Italian pizza. The pizza will go through fire from woods and so parchment papers as a base will not survive the pressure of an outdoor oven heated temperature.
Afterwards, it is time to put toppings to the crust.
The Italian yellow tomato is used for a perfect topping recipe. If you can get this ingredient, you can make that yummy Margherita Italian pizza and enjoy the taste.
The dough is ready to be baked with the outdoor oven as it is traditionally made. Place the dough on an oven stone that is good enough for fire resistance.
Place the yellow Cherie tomato over the dough. Spread it and ensure it touches every part of your dough. Add the pepper and cheese content also to the top.
Baking with an Outdoor Oven
How do you bake Italian pizza with an outdoor oven?
1. First, you should have your oven set for baking. Put some firewood and have the oven heat at a temperature of 5000 F.
2. Next, put the pizza into the preheated oven. If the oven is unbearably hot, remove some wood and allow the pizza to cook properly.
3. The outdoor oven gives a different taste from the firewood effect that cannot be gotten when the pizza is baked using the modern oven. This traditional method will give you pizza that is simply good.
4. The pizza should stay for a period of 30 minutes. Check to confirm if it is done. It should have a crunchy look if it is fully cooked. This can vary, as the heat of your oven make not always be at the same level.
5. Your pizza is ready to be served hot just as you like it.
The Italians build their ovens in various shapes and forms. These ovens can be usually large enough to contain several pizzas at the same time and the oven also could be average sized.
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Other Things to Know About the Italian Pizza
There are essentially two types of pizza in Italy: Roman-style pizza and Neapolitan-style pizza. The Neapolitans usually prefer making the pizza to be a thicker fluffy crust.
Although various bread meals have been served made of spices and oil long ago, there is no meal that stands out to commonly represent the Italian dish as much as pizza.
The Italians have a good history of producing iconic dishes that are continually being accepted.
They have a good appreciation of their local dishes and have museums dedicated to show the history of most of their versatile dishes and the articles, showing processes for making them.
The Margaretta Pizza is named after Queen Margarita in the 18th century. This pizza became her favorite and it was given the name to honour her. Till this present day this method of pizza making is popular with the Italians.
Making a visit to Italy you most likely will be welcomed to one of their delicacies. An idea into some of the best dishes of the Italians can give you an insight to what to expect.
You can even demand for some of these delicacies. If you are a food lover Italy is home to make a vast selection of meals. Aside the regular Italian pizza, the Lasagna is a flat pasta noodle that is usually baked with lots of meat concentration.
Truffles is also one of the most expensive and versatile dishes in the world and it is also a versatile dish in Italy.
Enjoy some nice time with an Italian pizza delicacy.
How to Make Italian Pizza Dough- Related Frequently Asked Questions
How do I Make Pizza Dough from Scratch Without Yeast?
To make pizza dough without yeast, here are the ingredients you need:
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup fat-free milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl; stir in milk and olive oil until a soft dough forms. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times. Shape dough into a ball. Cover it with an inverted bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Roll dough into a 12-inch circle on a baking sheet.
What is the difference between Italian pizza and American pizza?
The differences between Italian pizza and American pizza are:
The crust: Most Italian pizzerias skillfully stretch out dough to the point where it resembles a cracker with tomato sauce and cheese on it. It’s so thin and light, while American pizza is thick, rectangular, and much heavier.
The sauce: Instead of slow-cooked tomato sauce, Italy uses olive oil, pureed fresh tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. Americans may not be used to that.
The toppings: American pizza has much more cheese than Italian pizza. This is because, in Italy, whole pies are often consumed on the go. This means they need to be very light and digestible. It’s also the reason why Italians order pizza with more than one topping.
What is the difference between a Roman pizza and a Neapolitan pizza?
The difference between the Roman pizza and the Neapolitan pizza is seen both in their preparation and outcome. Roman pizza is made with oil and it comes out thin and crunchy while Neapolitan pizza is not made with oil and it comes out soft and fluffy.
More so, there’s another difference in the way it is served. Although they are both perfect for street food, the Roman pizza is served by the slice. On the other hand, the Neapolitan pizza is folded in four with a special food paper and it is called a Portafoglio.
What if I do not have a pizza stone?
If you do not have a pizza stone to make great pizza at home, you can use an inverted baking sheet, cast iron pan, a hot grill, pizza pans, and baking steel. What a pizza stone does is to help your hot oven stay hot. It also produces a cracker-crisp pizza crust. However, if you do not have a pizza stone, you can use any of the alternatives to get similar results. These alternatives have their own advantages, and most are already in your kitchen.
What is the best flour to make my dough?
The best flour for dough is all-purpose flour. While all-purpose flour can be used for just about anything, it’s a great flour to use when trying to achieve a thin pizza crust. This is because it does not contain as much gluten as other types of flours.
Due to its lower gluten content, when it is used along with other pizza dough ingredients, the dough won’t rise as high as dough containing a lot of gluten. Also, when using all-purpose flour, it may be harder to stretch out compared to other flours because it tends to tear more easily.
Can I use fresh yeast for my pizza dough?
You can use fresh yeast for pizza dough. Making pizza dough with fresh yeast is definitely the most common technique in Italy, but the problem is choosing the right amount of yeast. In fact, you should not feel any aftertaste of yeast eating your pizza. This means that you have to use very little yeast and increase the time of pizza dough preparation by making 2 leavenings.
One of the advantages of using fresh yeast is the distinct flavor it impacts on the dough. This flavor is not present in pizzas made with dried yeast.
What happens when I put too much yeast in my dough?
When you add too much yeast to your dough, it leads to rapid fermentation. This results in uneven distribution of air pockets in the proving and baking stages. Too much yeast also leads to over proofing which weakens the gluten structure of the dough. This can lead to cracks, completely collapsing the dough in the oven. Slow and steady fermentation imparts flavor to the bread. This flavor is absent in bread which is done with rapid fermentation and extra yeast.
How do I make homemade pizza dough?
To make homemade pizza dough:
- Whisk warm water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl to blend. Wait until it foams, then stir to dissolve the yeast.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine. As the machine runs, pour them into your olive oil and yeast mixture, then process until dough forms a ball. Transfer your dough to a work table, then knead until it takes a smooth shape.
- Divide the dough into half and gently form each half into your preferred ball size. Place them on a flour rimmed baking sheet and dust the tops with flour. Cover with plastic wraps and allow to rise in a draft-free place till the dough doubles in size.
How do I revive or rescue an over-proofed dough?
To rescue an over-proofed dough, take the following steps:
Step 1: Do the fingertip test to make sure your dough is over-proofed. The test involves gently pressing your finger into the surface of the dough for at least 2 seconds, then see how quickly it springs back. The dent you make will be permanent if the dough is over-proofed.
Step 2: Remove the dough from the basket or any vessel in which you are proofing it.
Step 3: Degas the dough by pressing down firmly on it. The pressure applied is the same as when you are shaping the dough.
Step 4: Shape the dough and return it to the basket for proofing.