Wanna know what makes for a straight-outta-Naples Italian pizza?
At its core, the ingredient list to pull together a simple pizza dough is shockingly tiny.
But when you’re in the kitchen –– it’s not always so easy-peasy when you’re scouring the interwebs for The Recipe that will work like a charm every single time.
In fact, Italian cooks themselves –– like Giulia Scarpaleggia, who we adore –– have always been on a personal quest to knead Italian pizza dough to absolute perfection.
This post is your godsend to hosting your next phenomenal Italian pizza party with crispy-warm confidence.
Don’t look anywhere else for the perfect recipe!
We’ve got two incredible Italian pizza recipes from Italians who know their woodfired ovens better than anyone.
A Primer On Excellent Italian Pizza
Before we give away these kitchen secrets, you should know that there’s no single “Italian” pizza to rule them all.
In fact, the specifics of pizza changes from region to region in Italy –– but these key things remain the same across every Italian kitchen counter when making pizza from scratch:
- You have to nail the crust. It doesn’t matter how delicious the toppings are, the finished crust is the marker of a stupendo pizza.
- Your best kitchen accessory is your hands. No rolling pins or machines. Just good ol’ hands gently massaging dough with patience is generally understood to be the best way to work your way through the process.
- You need to allow time for rest. Pour yourself a glass of vino (or ice water) and let your dough relax after you’ve kneaded it through. There’s tons of enzymes getting a workout, and they need a hot minute to calm down before they slide into an oven.
- You gotta DOP. Look for ingredients with the red n’ yellow starburst label with the letters “DOP” when making a grocery run for your Italian pizza –– it’ll keep your meal authentic through and through
The Best Italian Pizza Recipes, By Italians
Our two trusted recipes agree on this –– there are five core ingredients that need to be kneaded together to whip up the perfect pizza dough. The lineup includes:
- Stone-ground flour
- Warm water
- Sea salt
- Fresh brewer’s yeast
- Extra virgin olive oil
If you wanna make these recipes on the regular, keep these key ingredients on hand.
Italian Pizza Recipe #1: Jul’s Kitchen
Giulia had been searching for the *perfect* Italian pizza dough recipe for years –– and her good friend generously shared this one that basically changed the game for her!
She can’t say enough good things about why this recipe will knock your sandals off. And we can’t say enough good things about her –– we’ve been lucky to knead dough side-by-side with her in her gorgeous kitchen, squeezed into the countryside between Siena and Florence.
Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 15 minutes
Ingredients for the pizza dough
- 1kg of organic stone-ground wheat flour
- 500ml of warm water + about 300 ml
- 1 generous pinch of sea salt
- 7g of fresh brewer’s yeast
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for seasoning two pizzas (this is optional –– dependent on the produce you want to use)
- 4 young zucchini with their flowers
- Anchovies in oil
- 300g of buffalo mozzarella
- Extra virgin olive oil
- With your hands: Place the flour in a large bowl and add the salt and the first 500ml of warm water. Mix roughly in a bowl with your hands, and when the ingredients start forming a consolidated mass, dust your counter with flour and knead on your workspace for 10 minutes. When it seems that it requires more flour, add slowly more water, until you get a very soft dough. It must be elastic so that when you gently pull it, it won’t tear. At the end add the yeast dissolved in a little bit of water and the extra virgin olive oil and knead again until they are completely incorporated.
- With a machine: Pour the flour into the stand mixer bowl, add the salt and pour the first 500 ml of warm water. Knead for about 15 minutes with the hook, gradually adding water. When it seems that it requires more flour, add slowly more water, until you get a very soft dough. It must be elastic so that when you gently pull it, it won’t tear. At the end add the yeast dissolved in a little bit of water and the extra virgin olive oil and knead again until they are completely incorporated.
- Grease the surface lightly with some olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and stash in the fridge until the next day, or at least for twenty hours.
- The next day, take the dough out of the fridge about 3 hours in advance.
- Heat the oven to 250°C, fan assisted.
- Grease a round pizza pan with extra virgin olive oil.
- Grease your hands with extra virgin olive oil and stretch out a portion of the dough into the pan with a thickness of about 5 mm.
- Sprinkle the surface of the pizza with thinly sliced zucchini, the zucchini flowers cut into strips, some anchovies in oil, the chopped chives and the mozzarella coarsely torn with your hands. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
- Eat it immediately until hot, and enjoy it!
P.S. Want to experience Italian pizza, the Florence way?
Check out our private Florence tours –– where we’ve got great sights and eats lined up for a perfect day on your next trip to Italy!
Italian Pizza Recipe #2: Giallo Zafferano
Giallo Zafferano is one of the top go-to’s for Italians to source authentic recipes –– and this one is the all-time favorite for all their top chefs. It’s basic, homemade pizza dough that even the best chefs turn to on repeat.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours
Ingredients for two pizzas
- 200g Regular white Flour
- 300g Farina “00” flour (you can find this “00” at Italian grocery stores — it’s a finer flour.)
- 300ml of room temperature water (ideally, 25°C)
- 35g extra virgin olive oil
- 5g of fresh brewer’s yeast
- 10g salt
- Start by pouring the yeast into the water at room temperature and dissolve it well. Alternatively, you can also crumble the yeast into the flour. If you prefer, you can use 2 g of dehydrated brewer’s yeast.
- Continue by mixing the regular flour and the “00” flour into a separate container.
- Then, pour in the water slowly, while kneading the mixture with your hands. When you’ve poured half of the water, add the salt and continue to knead, pouring the water a little at a time, until you get a doughy mixture.
- Now, add the olive oil slowly, while you continue to knead the dough.
- Transfer the dough to the flat surface and work it with your hands until it is smooth. Let it rest for about ten minutes, covering it with the bowl.
- Once rested, give it a small fold. Imagine that the dough is divided into 4 parts –– take the end of each one, pull it gently and fold it towards the center, then give it the shape of a sphere.
- Transfer the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise. You’ll need the dough to reach a temperature of 26-28°C, which can be achieved by leaving the bowl inside your oven (don’t switch it on) with your oven light on. Alternatively, keep the bowl in a slightly warmer spot.
- On average, the dough should take 2 hours to double in volume. Once the rising time is over, the dough will be nice and swollen. After it’s risen, lightly flour a countertop and transfer it over.
- Divide it in half with a knife and fold the dough like you did before, so you’ve got two rolls of pizza dough. Flip one piece upside down, and turn it with your hands –– bring it towards you and then move it away the whole time, until you’ve got a smooth and even circular shape. Repeat this with the second dough.
- Transfer both doughs onto a tray and let them rest for another 30 minutes, always covered with plastic wrap or a cloth.
- Now, you can start to season it to your liking with your ingredients of choice.
Check out the original recipe from Giallo Zafferano for more details here. (It’s in Italian, so we’ve translated it above for you!)
Wanna skip the cooking and go straight to the eating?
If you’re heading to Italy soon, join us for a day tour! You can travel with our amazing team, and we can show you where to eat the best pizza (and pasta, and cheese, and everything else) in the city you come visit.
You’ll be able to choose from a handful of our curated experiences and experience these cities (and the restaurants) the way you would with a friend.
Because pizza is definitely better when you can eat it in a piazza…
With our team showing you the tasty way!
Images 2, 7 by Leela Cyd