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How to bake pizza in a wood fired oven

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How to make pizza dough
Pizza dough balls

Pizza dough balls, ready to be shaped into pizza

Kyle Phillips
To make pizza you have to do two things: Heat the oven and make the dough. We'll begin with the dough; making it the traditional way will take about 3 hours, most of which is rising time. If you instead use a bread machine it will take about 90 minutes. Neapolitans, the masters of pizza baking, say the dough should be made from brewer's yeast, flour, salt, and water. Many people also add a little olive oil.
  • 4 cups (1/2 kg) stone-milled flour (bread flour will work perfectly)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm water
  • 1 ounce (30 g) brewer's yeast or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, dissolved in the water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • A pinch of salt
If you are working by hand, make a mound of the flour, scoop a well in the middle, and add the salt and olive oil. Next, mix in the water-yeast mixture, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, and comes easily away from the work surface -- about 10 minutes, knead energetically. Shape the dough into a ball, put it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it, and put it into a warm place to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in volume. Punch the dough down, knead it briefly, and divide it into 4 balls. Put them on a floured surface, cover them, and let them rise for an hour.

Need more dough? For a dozen dough balls you'll need 4 1/2 pounds (2 k) of flour, a quart (1 liter) of water, more salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 8 teaspoons yeast.

If you are rushed, see James Biarey's notes on using a bread maker to speed things up.

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