Help Me, Kenji — Can I Make Tasty Neapolitan-Style Pizza at Home?

February 25, 2016 | By | Comments (7)

1603p16-neapolitan-pizza

Q: Can I make tasty Neapolitan-style pizza at home?

A: If you ask any pizzaiolo what the most important element for great Neapolitan pizza is, it’s the 900° wood-fired oven that transforms simple ingredients into the poofy, blistered, charred, light, and crisp pizza that has taken over the world. Because of the high heat of a pizza oven, areas in the crust that protrude even a little above or areas that are just a bit thinner than their surroundings will brown much faster. This creates the pattern of dark and light spots you see on a good Neapolitan pizza crust. The intense heat cooks pizzas in just a minute or two, giving you that great contrast between crisp crust and moist, airy center.

1603p16-baking-steel-cast-ironA regular home oven simply doesn’t have the power to cook a crust this fast. But there are a few ways we can jack up the heat. The first is to swap out a standard baking stone for a baking steel. Steel can hold more heat energy than stone and, more important, can transfer that energy to a baking crust much faster. Baking on a preheated baking steel, as opposed to a baking stone, significantly improves the height and color of a crust.

For an even poofier, airier crust, ditch the baking mode on your oven and use its broiler function instead; it produces tons of radiant heat energy to rapidly char the top of a pizza.

Preheat the steel at 550° for at least 45 minutes. Then carefully transfer it to a rack just inches below the broiler. Switch the broiler to high; then stretch out and top the pizza dough (store-bought dough works great for this). Carefully slide the pizza onto the hot steel. With the metal below and the broiler above, a blistered, poofy, crisp pizza takes just a few minutes, so keep an eye on it.

More Helpful Hints from Kenji:

COMMENTS

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  3. Amy Muramatsu

    Where is the rest of this article???? Kenji tells how to use a skillet instead of a steel – works fantastic!

    April 3, 2016 at 1:05 am
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    […] How Can I Make Tasty Neapolitan-Style Pizza at Home? […]

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    […] at the Women Artists of the Armory Show 2016.” [W]PIZZA!Here are New York’s best art-world pizza joints. [Artspace]THOMAS JULIER Thomas Julier at RaebervonStenglin in Zurich. [Contemporary Art […]

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  6. 2A Supporter

    My biggest problem is after pre-heating my over to 500 degrees and turning on the broiler, the broiler shuts off in about 2 minutes

    March 1, 2016 at 11:27 am
    • Crab Rangoon

      Keep the oven door propped open just slightly with a metal spoon or spatula, this will keep the hot air moving and should stop the broiler from turning off.

      March 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

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