How to make pizza at home

My finished product - Italian sausage pizza

Anyone who has ever eaten one of Johnny Di Francesco’s pizzas at 400 Gradi knows how good they are.  After all Johnny was crowned the world’s best pizza maker a few years ago taking out the specialita traditionale garantita pizza prize for his margherita pizza. 

My finished product - Italian sausage pizza
My finished product – Italian sausage pizza

Johnny’s pizzas are made in the traditional Napoli style which meets a very strict set of criteria – he even imports the water to make his pizzas from Naples in the quest for perfection!  The finished product is a light pizza base, thin in the middle and with puffy edges and a smoky char from the wood firing.  

The ingredients for making pizza dough: OO flour, water, yeast and salt
The ingredients for making pizza dough: OO flour, water, yeast and salt

I was invited to attend a pizza making master class at 400 Gradi where Johnny shared the secrets behind his perfecto pizzas.  The master class is a hands on experience where you learn the science behind pizza making, the correct ratios to use and get your hands dirty making your own dough before finally getting to eat your finished product straight from the woodfired oven.  

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Kneading the dough by hand using the base of your palm – or you can cheat and use a Kitchenaid.

Johnny’s first tip is in the ingredients you need.  He recommends Tipo 00 flour with a W strength rating of between 280-330. The W strength rating is annoyingly not printed on the packet so you need to google the name of the flour to find out.

Dough ready to be made into dough balls
Dough ready to be made into dough balls

Johnny also recommends using wet yeast rather than dried and you only need 1-3 grams of yeast in order to allow the dough to rise slowly and mature.  You’ll need to leave the dough for 24 hours to make a true Napoli pizza.

Johnny shows us how it's done as he stretches the pizza dough. Not quite at this level of proficiency even post master class!
Johnny shows us how it’s done as he stretches the pizza dough. Not quite at this level of proficiency even post master class!

When it comes to putting toppings on Johnny’s advice is that less is more. His rule is four toppings maximum and that includes olive oil!  Don’t even think about putting pineapple on your pizza – Johnny says no.

The perfect temperature to cook pizza is of course 400c - hard to replicate in my home oven which goes to 300c
The perfect temperature to cook pizza is of course 400c – hard to replicate in my home oven which goes to 300c

 

Pizza Dough
Yields 8
All the tips and tricks Johnny Di Francesco uses to make his award winning pizza.
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Prep Time
24 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
24 hr 10 min
Prep Time
24 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
24 hr 10 min
776 calories
163 g
0 g
2 g
22 g
0 g
346 g
2432 g
1 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
346g
Yields
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 776
Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
3%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2432mg
101%
Total Carbohydrates 163g
54%
Dietary Fiber 6g
24%
Sugars 1g
Protein 22g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
4%
Iron
14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1.7kg Tipo 00 flour with a W280-330 (Google to find this information)
  2. 1 litre of water at 8 degrees
  3. 50g fine sea salt
  4. 1-3g fresh yeast
  5. Your choice of pizza toppings.
Instructions
  1. 1. Mix the water and salt by hand until the water dissolves.
  2. 2. Using a dough mixer (or by hand - but it's hard work) sprinkle in 20% of the flour to the salty water. Mix for 5 mins on the lowest setting.
  3. 3. Add the yeast and then gradually sprinkle in the rest of the flour while you are mixing allowing it to aerate. You will use most of the 1.7kg packet of flour. Mix for another 8 mins in total.
  4. 4. Once the dough has combined and springs back slightly when you touch it, stop the mixer, remove the dough and put aside to rest covering it with a wet cloth like a chux. Final dough temperature should be 23c-24c.
  5. 5. Allow the dough to rest for two hours then divide into about eight pieces. Make each piece into a round dough ball.
  6. 6. Place the dough balls into a sealed Tupperware container in the coolest part of the house and allow to rest for 24 hours. The balls should double in size.
  7. 7. Use your fingers to press out the dough into a circle leaving the edges puffy. Then use a flat hand to stretch out the dough gently.
  8. 8. Preheat your oven as hot as it can go. Top with pureed tomatoes and your choice of toppings. I added Italian sausage, cheese and olive oil. Bake for 8-10 mins in a standard oven. If you are lucky enough to have a woodfired oven bake for 90 seconds at 400c.
beta
calories
776
fat
2g
protein
22g
carbs
163g
more
Gourmet Chick http://www.gourmet-chick.com/
Digging in to pizza after all that work making it.
Digging in to pizza after all that work making it.

Gourmet Chick was a guest of 400 Gradi. More information on pizza master classes here.

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