In Naples, pizza is a way of life. The dough is key though – it must be soft, airy, and slightly chewy. This cold ferment pizza dough is classic to authentic Neopolitan pizza dough.
It's is easy to make and results in a light, crispy crust with bubbled edges every time.
Why You'll Love Cold Ferment Pizza Dough
This cold fermented dough recipe is a classic Neopolitan pizza dough style that will make you feel like you’re in Italy. Making fermented pizza dough from scratch is a fun and rewarding way to make your own pizzas at home.
Unlike some more complicated recipes, this one only requires a few simple ingredients that you probably have on hand. Cold ferment dough results in a crispy, chewy crust that will remind you of your favorite pizzeria.
- Authentic Flavor: Recreate the taste and texture of pizza perfected in Naples.
- Simple Ingredients: Requires just flour, water, yeast, and salt for a truly authentic experience.
- Slow Fermentation: Overnight rise unlocks the dough's full potential, resulting in a complex and flavorful crust.
- Perfectly Blistered: Achieve the iconic leopard-spotted crust with the right baking technique.
- Chewy & Flavorful: Savor the satisfyingly chewy texture and rich flavor of the dough.
So why not give it a try? Your family and friends are sure to be impressed.
Ingredients For Cold Ferment Dough
Whether you're a beginner or experienced baker, this recipe is sure to become a family favorite!
- Warm water
- Active dry yeast
- '00' flour (or bread flour)
Full ingredient amounts and preparation instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How To Make Fermented Pizza Dough
You want a low gluten flour for making this type of pizza dough. The dough is supposed to be really stretchy. When you stretch it out by hand it gets thin in areas and when baked is crusty in those areas. '00' flour is very low in gluten.
If you can't find it locally, Amazon has it, and at a fantastic price! It's Antimo Caputo '00' Pizzaria Flour. You can use a bread flour as a fair substitute, but the '00' is really key to the Neopolitan dough style.
Prepare The Yeast
- Any dry active yeast will work. Sprinkle it on warm water that has a tiny amount of sugar. The yeast uses the sugar as 'food' to bloom and grow.
- Here you see the bowl of yeast gobbling up the tiny bit of sugar in the water. The yeast bubbles up and gets a foamy or frothy head on the top of the water in the bowl.
Mix The Dough
- Put your flour and salt in the bowl. Note very little salt is used. Salt can retard yeast development, so we only use a little.
- Add the yeast water and stir until the mixture forms a soft ball.
Let The Dough Rise (Proof)
- You will knead that dough a bit on a floured surface, just enough to mix well. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic film. Let sit in a draft free location.
- The yeast will start using the flour for food and do their bubbling thing in the ball of dough. It will start expanding and doubling in size.
After this first dough rise, punch the dough down. Cover it in a bowl and let and it sit over night in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours.
The next day, knead it again on a lightly floured surface, shaping the pizza when the dough reaches that smooth, satiny texture.
Toppings vary, but an authentic Neopolitan pizza is very simple. A tomato based sauce, Mozzarella or Burrata cheese, slices of tomato, and fresh basil.
Sounds like a Margherita Pizza, right? Well, the Margherita pizza was one of the first Neopolitan pizzas!
- Kneaded dough stretched out to fit on a pan or a wooden pizza paddle.
- Dress your pizza dough with sauce, mozarella, and some fresh basil leaves.
While Neapolitan pizza is a culinary masterpiece in itself, the possibilities for the cold fermented pizza dough extend far beyond the classic Margherita wood fired pizza.
Here are some inspiring serving ideas to unleash your creativity and indulge in the versatility of this beloved dough:
- Margherita: The quintessential Neapolitan pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
- Calzones: Fold the dough over your favorite fillings like ricotta cheese, spinach, and prosciutto.
- Stromboli: Similar to a calzone, but rolled and twisted before baking.
- Focaccia: A flatbread with olive oil, herbs, and salt, perfect for dipping or topping.
- Garlic knots: Bite-sized pieces of dough seasoned with garlic and herbs.
- Breadsticks: Long and thin breadsticks dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
This Neopolitan pizza dough is perfect for flatbreads also, because it stretches nice and thin. It bakes up crispy. Below is the photo of our Caramelized Onion Flatbread.
- You can substitute All Purpose flour, but the pizza dough will be tighter and less stretchy and chewy.
- The '00' flour will allow you to stretch the dough with less recoil, or dough bounce back.
A pizza stone helps compensate with it's direct bottom heat that mimics the Neopolitan pizza oven.
Authentic pizza ovens get up to 800 degrees, and the modern oven reaches a maximum of about 550 degrees. Pizza ovens in Naples are large tiled 'igloo' looking domes. They have a small opening and a flat space for pushing the pizzas to crisp directly on the stone oven table.
The pizza stone gets preheated so that our kitchen oven gets a heat bump, helping to replicate the Neopolitan style pizza oven. Which is utterly impossible in our modern kitchens.
The '00' will make the very best Neopolitan style pizza crust, and the price for two bags and the yeast is an excellent price, without having to shop all over town for it.
How To Store Fresh Pizza Dough
This pizza dough can be divided and frozen in portions best suited for your family. The recipe is enough to make a large family size pizza, two smaller pizzas, or three 10" pizzas.
Just punch the dough down, divide in portions. I use a food scale to make sure the dough is evenly distributed. Pop in a freezer and store up to three months.
If you decide to store the pizza dough in the refrigerator, use a heavy plastic zip lock type bag. Otherwise, the dough will push the lid off and crawl out on to your refrigerator shelf. Ask me how I know... lol!
- Use a pizza stone.
- The number one tip is to not be in a rush, let the dough ferment overnight in the refrigerator. The fermenting process helps develop that delicious dough flavor.
- Use '00' flour if possible, bread flour if you can't, and all purpose only as a last alternative.
- Let the dough rest overnight, as it will let the dough develop more elasticity.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don't plan to use it in 36 hours, freeze the dough. Otherwise it may start to ferment and that will change the dough taste and texture.
No, but you need that extra lower heat for that most authentic crispy crust on the bottom with the bubbled up edges. The stone give you that. But a pizza pan is still going to make a tasty pizza.
More Delish Ideas
Cold Fermented Pizza Dough
- ¾ cup warm water
- 1 ½ tablespoon dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ cups '00' Flour (Antimo Caputo 00)
- In a medium bowl whisk together the warm water, sugar, and sprinkle the top with the yeast. Stir and let sit for about 15 minutes until the top is bubbly or frothy.¾ cup warm water, 1 ½ tablespoon dry active yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast and water mixture. Using your hands or a spatula, mix the flour and yeast water until a dough forms into a ball. Scrape the sides to pull it all together.salt, 1 ½ cups '00' Flour
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the surface becomes smooth.
- Cover the dough with plastic film and set in a draft free location to rise for 2 hours. You can also do this part a day ahead and just let it rest in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Punch down the risen dough and shape into portions to store or make into pizza or flatbreads.
Pizza Cooking Directions
- If not freezing the dough preheat the oven to 500 to 550° F and put the stone in the middle rack of the oven so it can preheat also.
- Using both hands shape the dough into a disc or a rectangle. Lay out on a wooden paddle (to later transfer to a heated stone) or on a pizza pan (if not using a stone).
- Dress the dough with a light layer of pizza sauce, cheese, herbs, etc.
- Slide the pizza from the wooden paddle or cutting board onto the preheated pizza stone in your hot oven. If using a pizza pan pop the pan of pizza into your preheated oven.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes, checking at 12 minutes. Remove when the edges are bubbled up and browned or even crisped.
- To defrost frozen pizza dough, put in your refrigerator that day before. It will be ready for pizza the next day.
- You can freeze this dough for up to 3 months.
- For stretchier dough, let rest in the refrigerator after punching down the risen dough.