The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza Margherita (Naturally Leavened)

JoeVa's picture

Pizza Margherita (Naturally Leavened)

Pizza is bread, bread crust.


I think a good pizza should have:

  • good dough: naturally leavened or proofed with indirect method like poolish or biga (that is: small amount of fresh yeast and a lot, a lot of time). I said "pizza is bread" because the actor in pizza is dough first, then the topping.
  • no more than 2 topping ingredients: mozzarella, pomodoro (tomato). I never eat and I do not agree with super topped pizza with "strange and exotic" topping. The biggest hazard I can do is mozzarella, pomodoro ciliegino and rucola (?garden rocket?) ... sorry I forgot olive oil and origano or basilico.
  • fast baking: the best pizza is baked in a wood fired oven at about 460°C in 00:01:30 / 00:02:00. In no more than 2 minutes the thin dough should cry, springing and browning.

There are a lot of pizza experts all over the world but the best pizza I ate was in Napoli. Is there a secret? I don't know! So my pizza is simple and good, not as good as true Pizza Napoletana, but I can't do better ...

Overall formula

Bread Flour 100%
Malted Flour 1.5%
Water* 65%
Salt 2.5%

*water should be adjusted with the absorption rate of **your** flour.

Preferment: 15%-20% of the total flour (bread flour) is prefermented at 100% hydration. Remember to subtract the flour and water from the final dough ingredients. I usually do a 1:2:2 feeding in the morning (08:00) so that my starter is ready after lunch (14:00) and I can mix the dough for pizza dinner.

Dough consistency: soft dough


  • Mix all ingredients except salt (desired dough temperature 26/27°C)
  • Autolyse 00:30, then add salt on top
  • Mix at medium gluten development
  • [Puntata]Rest for about 01:00.
  • [Staglio] Divide and shape small ball (220-250g)
  • [Appretto] Proof 04:00 at 25°C
  • Bake on stone at the high temperature as fast as you can.
When pizza is removed from the oven I add a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt on top.
I use a small electric pizza oven with baking stone and 400°C temperature (G3 Ferrari) - this is my baking trick. With this oven I can bake in about 5 minutes! Not fast as a wood fired oven ...                                                





Bottom (blistered crust and brown spots):




xaipete's picture

Wow, what an interesting pizza oven! I don't know if those exist in the US. Your pizza and crust looks terrific.


JoeVa's picture

I checked the distributors list but I cannot see US. I know this is cloned by other companies, maybe they export the product in US. Here in Italy it's very cheap, about €59 (I bought it at €49).

It's easy to use: 20 minutes to be ready, you can move it, easy to clean, small power absorption compared with a standard electric oven.

The things that could be improved are: a little bigger stone (just 2 cm in diameter), a more intensive top element (maybe a turbo grill function). I use a standard dough weight of 200-250g and I have to stop my stretch at 27-28 cm (the stone is 29 cm); with more space a could stretch a 29-30 cm thinner pizza. Using a wood fired oven, when pizza is ready to be remove, you can put it for a few seconds near the the oven dome so that it will have a optimal browned and caramelized crust: a "turbo grill" function could help with this.



xaipete's picture

Thanks for the information, Giovanni. I'll look around for a clone!


JoeVa's picture

Choose one with baking stone! The stone is the key for a fast and perfect baking. And check also the max temperature: 400°C is a good temperature.


mattie405's picture

I just got a delivery of one of the clones of this oven from EBAY..........cost all of $21 with shipping. Some of them were originally sold on QVC (the home shopping channel) under the name of Pizza Bella. The Deni one in the link above is one of the newer models that have a metal pan on the bottom, the crust doesn't come out as good with the metal instead of the stone bottom the older models had, I don't think you will see any of the new ones still being made with the stone bottom anymore. You can find them pretty regularly listed on EBAY if you do a search for "pizza oven". We have the Festivo pizza oven that was originally sold by Hammacher Schlemmer, it has 2 decks is counter top sized and goes up to 800 degrees and turns out pizza in under 3 minutes once it is fully heated. My sister loved mine so much she also bought one and is really happy with it. I do beleive that the manufacturer of it went out of business so again the only option to get one is to look on EBAY.


Jeremy's picture


I often use 00 flour I can get from my salumero here in NY, but it seems like my sourdough effects the dough in a strange way. Once I make the dough I retard it and it looks as if the dough has no life, it's airy but it's weak in structure almost to acid? Also should you allow it to proof a bit when it's shaped into a pizza?


Here is my Napoletana dough in levain version I use amongst other doughs <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Times;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} -->

376 g flour

201g Water

247g Levain

20g salt



JoeVa's picture

Be patient Jeremy, I hope to post a **new** version of my pizza dough. I'm working on a more traditional (I should say verace) pizza napoletana.

I will give you more informations, tips and answer to you questions. I will reply again to this post so that you will receive a feedback.


rjerden's picture

I know this is an old thread, but Amazon and Costco are now selling an exact clone of the Ferrari G3 Delizia called Forno Magnifico. I got it on sale at for $75. I modded it like a lot of the Italians did to get higher temps to achieve the classic leopard spotting charring. I check the temp with an infrared thermometer until the stone reaches about 800F, then cook for 3 minutes with 2 turns, protecting the center of the pizza with foil for the first two minutes. If necessary, I hold a small aluminum peel underneath to protect the bottom from getting too burned while the top finishes cooking. Do some searches on Youtube for Ferrari G3 to see the results that some folks are getting. Cheers, Roy