The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Peter Reinhart's Napoletana pizza recipe

titus's picture

Peter Reinhart's Napoletana pizza recipe

Dumb question, but I've gotta ask:

In Reinhart's Napoletana pizza recipe in "American Pie",(p.108), are you supposed to take the refrigerated dough out 2 hours before using it, make the dough balls and then let them sit out another 2 hours before making the pizzas -- making it a total of 4 hours that the dough needs to be at room temperature? Or do you take the dough out, let it sit for 2 hours, form the dough into the balls and then make the individual pizzas immediately?

Valerio's picture

Not a stupid question, indeed one I asked myself. Given my experience with pizza, I went with the 2 hours total interpretation.

The dough is a little too soft in my opinion and I do not add the oil as the recipe indicates (it does give you the option not too as well), however the pizza taste is excellent.

Just remember to keep it simple (few ingredients, just to lightly dress the pizza) and thin for a true Napolitan style pizza.

titus's picture

Thanks, Valerio! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who found those instructions ambiguous!

I made the first pizza right away. After the dough had been out for only 2 hours, I rounded it into a ball and baked it.

Like you, I didn't add any oil, but I put too much flour either on the counter when I was forming the ball or else on the pizza peel, because the crust was tough and the pizza had a floury taste. Not exactly pleasant!

I formed another ball of dough and let that one sit out for another 2 hours and then baked that one. This one tasted better. For this one, instead of baking it directly on the stone, I put a bit of olive oil in a pizza pan, and baked the pizza in that, on the stone, for the first five minutes. Then, I slid the pie onto the stone to finish baking.

Very minimalist toppings -- just a bit of sauce, cheese and basil.

I'll try again with this recipe, but my first impression is that I like the one from RLB's "The Bread Bible" a bit better.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

And the first 2 times I followed the directions in the recipe I found the dough much too wet. The third time I went for a slightly stiffer consistency ( like soft French bread dough ) and it was perfect.

All 3 times, the flavor was outstanding. I believe I took the dough balls out of the fridge 2 hours before baking.


noyeast's picture

I tried this once with high expectations after many trials with pizza doughs over the last two years. 

I took the balls out of the fridge 2 hours before baking pizza, flatenned them as suggested and let them warm up at room temp for two hours.  Right before topping them for cooking, I slapped each one ( Indian chef Naan style) between my two hands back and forth, rotating them at the same time.  This is a bit of a learned skill which I picked up from several Indian friends who are chefs.

The disks of pizza dough quickly grow in diameter and will naturally leave a slightly thicker edge around the outside.   A firmer, less wet dough will not so easily "grow' in diameter as this recipe does.  But what ever floats your boat.

I found just the exact crust I have been looking for with this recipe and I have learned something about cold retardation and not to use too much yeast etc.    I especially love the idea that I can now prepare my dough the day (or even two days) before making pizza, this definately helps when I have lots to do, preparing everything else and also getting the wood oven up to speed ready for the evenings' dining.


xaipete's picture

I remove the dough somewhere between 1 and 2 hours before I plan to use it--ideally two hours, but sometimes it's getting late and I can't wait 2 hours--, shape it into a ball, spray a plastic produce bag with PAM, put the ball in the bag, spray the ball with PAM again, and let it sit there until I'm ready to shape and bake.