The history of Pizza is long, complex and uncertain. The Pizza Marinara (topped only with tomato sauce, garlic and oregano) dates back to 1734, while the Pizza Margherita dates back to 1796-1810 years. In June 1889, to pay homage to Queen of Italy Margherita di Savoia, chef Raffaele Esposito prepared the “Pizza Margherita”, a pizza topped with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, to represent the colors of the Italian flag. If you ask Neapolitans which is the original pizza they will tell you that is only one, the Margherita, and there are no other types of toppings.
How to recognize the true Neapolitan Pizza? It must be round, made of soft yet elastic dough, thin in the center and with thick and soft edge, which represent what the Neapolitans call cornicione.
How to prepare the authentic Neapolitan Pizza? Simply follow this recipe.
To prepare the dough proceed by combining flour, salt and malt (or sugar) and mix a little bit the dry ingredients. On the side, heat the water to get it lukewarm (if you heat it too much, you have to cool it, otherwise you risk to kill the yeast), then melt the yeast in the water. Add to the flour the water in which you have melted the yeast and start working the dough. Finally add the oil and keep working.
The processing of the dough is the first salient point during the preparation of Neapolitan pizza. The dough must in fact be worked vigorously, if you have doubts about the efficiency of the hand processing it is preferable to resort to the use of a pasta maker. You must obtain a smooth and elastic dough, if it is too hard it means that the flour has absorbed too much and you need to add a little bit of water, if it’s not very elastic you need to add a little bit of oil, or if it is too sticky it’s ok to add a pinch of flour. If you add ingredients, proceed with caution, to avoid exaggeration and have the opposite problem.
Another important phase is rising: once the dough is ready, place it in a greased glass bowl and cover it with a damp cloth (to prevent it from drying on the surface). The dough must leaven away from drafts, in a warm place, but not too much, for about 4-5 hours, or until the dough volume is doubled. At the end of this first leavening resume the dough, transfer it on a floured surface and divide it into four loaves, cover with a cloth and let it rise again for half an hour at room temperature.
Only at this point you can take the loaves and roll them out with your hands (never flatten grind the pizza dough using the rolling pin), until you get a thickness of about 1/2 cm. With each loaf you can line a 36 cm baking pan. The best way to enlarge the pizza is to initially crush the loaf with your hands, giving it a circular shape, and then finish passing from one palm to the other. If you are not very experienced, you can enlarge it completely by hand, but avoid using the rolling pin, thin it more in the middle, leaving the edges thicker, for the formation of the edge (cornicione).
Although the pizza toppings could be really countless, the most traditional condiments for the real Neapolitan pizza are the typical ones with tomato sauce. The most traditional and renowned pizzas are: marinara pizza and margherita pizza; the first seasoned with tomatoes, garlic, oil and oregano, the second with tomatoes, mozzarella, oil and basil.
For a perfect Neapolitan pizza it would be necessary to have a wood oven well heated. But if you do not have it you can just bake your pizza in the electric oven at home, taking care to bring it to the maximum temperature, so to bake the pizza for a few minutes at maximum temperature. Consider that the real Neapolitan pizza is cooked in a wood oven at a temperature of 485 ° C for about 90 seconds!