Neapolitan pizza, with its bubbly, elastic crust, is one of the world’s culinary treasures. So much so, that the art of making pizza napoletana has been given UNESCO intangible cultural heritage status.

If you’re just getting started with your pizza oven, we know it can be intimidating. People feel strongly about making pizza ‘correctly’, and recipes for Neapolitan-style dough can get VERY technical.

Here to cut through the noise is Alfa Forni, who make some of the world’s best pizza ovens - you guessed it - in Italy. Their semi-simplified recipe will allow you to fire great pizza straight away, without getting into the woods with gluten or baker’s percentages.

This recipe for Neapolitan-style pizza is fairly precise, but the steps are straightforward. Follow this method, and you’ll be slinging out hot pies like a pro before you know it.

What exactly is a Neapolitan pizza?

Neapolitan pizza


First up, let’s talk a bit about what ‘Neapolitan-style’ actually is, so we know what we’re aiming for. Officially, this style of pizza has strict rules. Firstly, the dough must be made of just four ingredients - wheat flour, yeast, salt and water - without additions like oil or sugar.

As for toppings, only a pizza Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basil) or marinara (tomato, garlic, oregano) will do. You should only use San Marzano tomatoes, and either buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte. We’ve gone for a Margherita here.

And finally, a Neapolitan-style pizza must be cooked very quickly - in about 90 seconds. The result should be a soft, tender and elastic pizza. Controlling the dough’s moisture content is key to this.

Alfa Forni’s recipe for Neapolitan-style pizza

Neapolitan pizza recipe


Serves: 4 x 30cm pizzas

Cooking temp in your pizza oven: 450°C

Cooking time: 6-7 hours proving, 90 seconds cooking per pizza

Equipment: A pizza oven (gas or wood-fired), pizza peel and weighing scale


For the dough:

  • 1kg ‘00’ flour
  • 2g fresh baker’s yeast (or 1g dry brewer’s yeast)
  • 620ml tepid water
  • 30g table salt 

For the topping:

  • 2 x 400g tins of San Marzano PDO tomatoes
  • A generous pinch of fine sea salt
  • 800g buffalo mozzarella
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves


Making the dough:

1. Tip the flour onto a clean work surface. Pour the salt onto one side of the flour and the yeast onto the other side - don’t let the salt and yeast touch.

2. Gradually pour half the water over the yeasty area, whilst mixing it into half the flour pile with your hands. Once the yeast has dissolved and you’ve thoroughly mixed in that half of the flour, gradually mix in the other half with the salt, whilst adding the rest of the water.

3. Once it’s all combined, start to knead the dough vigorously. Anchor the dough with one hand, and use the heel of the other hand to stretch it out and roll it back up. After about 10 minutes of this, the dough should feel tight, smooth and elastic.

Kneading pizza dough


4. Cover the dough with a damp cloth to stop it from losing moisture, and leave it alone for about 10 minutes. Then, divide it into balls of about 230-300 g each. Place the balls on a tray about 3 cm apart.

5. Cover the tray and leave at room temperature for around 6-7 hours, during which time the balls should double in size. If you want to make the dough a day in advance, leave it to prove for 6 hours and then refrigerate it overnight. Then, take it out an hour or two before you cook.
    Alfa Forni pizza oven

    Creating the pizza:

    1. Before you start assembling your pizza, light your pizza oven so that it has plenty of time to get to a temperature of 450°C. 

    2. Drain your mozzarella and leave it to dry out a little. Drain the juice from your tomatoes, then place them into a large bowl. Crush into a chunky puree using your hands, then season with a pinch of salt.

    3. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Take one ball of dough, and use your fingertips to firmly press out from the centre of the ball, causing it to stretch out - but leave a 1cm rim untouched. Flip the dough over and repeat. To avoid sticking, try to work quickly and dust with flour if needed.

    4. Then, lift up the disc using the backs of both your hands, distributing the weight across your knuckles. Don’t poke holes with your fingertips! Stretch the dough out as far as you can without tearing it. Then, turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. Do this a few times until you have a 25-30cm disc, with an evenly thin base and slightly thicker edge. Transfer to a well-floured pizza peel.

    5. For the toppings, simply spread a tomato layer on top, tear over some mozzarella and add a few basil leaves. Avoid overloading your pizza - less is more!

    Alfa Forni Italian pizza ovens


      1. In one quick movement, slide the pizza off the peel into the centre of the oven. After 45 seconds, use the peel to rotate the pizza 180 degrees to ensure even cooking. After another 45 seconds, remove your pizza.

      2. If you like, you can drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil and grated parmesan. Slice and eat immediately!

      Do you like the sound of hot, fresh Neapolitan pizza in your back garden? Choose Italy’s best with an Alfa Forni pizza oven. Built for maximum efficiency, with quality that lasts a lifetime.
      April 02, 2024 — Jasmine Vorley
      Tags: recipe