How to reproduce Big Mamma’s pizza dough?

Published on March 31, 2022 at 6:15 p.m.

A pizza like in Italy: this is the credo of Andrea de Michele, pizza maker of the Big Mamma group. In this new episode “EAT Practice”, the chef reveals his secrets for a perfect pizza dough. Dolce vita gustatory in perspective!

Eating a pizza in front of “The Voice” on Saturday evening is good. But eating a pizza you made yourself is so much better. And who else than Andrea de Michele, chef pizzaiolo for the Big Mamma group—to whom we owe, among others, the restaurants Popolare, Pink Mamma or Ober Mamma—to offer us the recipe? Because in Italy, pizza is not just a specialty, it’s a religion. So much so that the mastery of the Neapolitan pizzaiolo even entered the intangible heritage of UNESCO at the end of 2017. We all have in mind, in fact, these chefs spinning in the air and at their fingertips, an elastic dough in disk shape. An art that is transmitted in Italy from generation to generation, where each pizza maker has his own secret. As legendary as it is, pizza is not that complicated to make, provided you are meticulous and, above all, respect these five essential commandments for a pizza like in Italy. Bon appetite!

Also read: 10 creative recipes to bluff with mozzarella

The pizza dough in advance, you will prepare

We do not decide, on a whim, to make a pizza. It is a long ritual that is worth the effort. Once the dough is well kneaded, it is strongly recommended to let it rest for 24 hours in the refrigerator so that it can ferment and be light and digestible. For those in a hurry, the chef agrees to leave it in the fridge for less time, at least 6 hours. Results guaranteed!

Flour, you will sprinkle

You prepare your pizza dough while singing “Vivo per lei” at the top of your voice, but there is a problem: it sticks to your fingers (the dough, not the song). Worse, this incident can literally ruin your pizza. Only one solution: flour. During the kneading, flour it very regularly, until it is compact and no longer sticks. The nonna’s secret to find out? Form a ball with the dough, put it in your hand above the work surface, and let go. If it stays in your palm for a few seconds before falling, flour again. If it falls back all at once, it’s ready.

The scroll, you will banish

Using a rolling pin to roll out the dough is an even more terrible offense to Italians than Hawaiian pizza! Because in La Botte, everything is worked with the sheer force of the hand. This allows both to feel all its elasticity, but also its homogeneity. To roll out the dough – arguably the most important step in the recipe – start from the center of the dough and press down to flatten it with your fingertips. The goal ? Send air outward from the pizza dough, to have puffy and airy edges. When you have created a nice homogeneous border, you just have to spread it Neapolitan style, stretching the dough slightly, and turning it over. Ready to become a real pizza maker?

Cooking, you will master

If some sites let go of a quick “cooking for 20 min at 220° C”, the reality is more complex. For a real Italian pizza, Andrea de Michele recommends letting the oven preheat to maximum (240°C) and baking for 6 minutes with only the base of the pizza (tomato sauce or cream of peppers). The secret is then to take the pizza out of the oven, add the rest of the ingredients, especially the cheese, and bake again for 2 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the edges have nicely browned . We salivate in advance.

In a cooking stone you will invest

If we can obviously make do with a traditional oven, pizza purists will swoon more with refractory stone cooking. Possessing natural properties, the baking stone makes it possible to obtain crispy cooking on the outside and soft on the inside. The significant heat that it is able to store will sear the dough, without burning or drying it. Easy to use, the baking stone is placed in a cold oven, and does not require adding a sheet of parchment paper before baking. Enough to get a pizza worthy of that of the (Big) Mamma.

Homemade pizza dough recipe by Andrea de Michele

For 2 pizza dough

Ingredients
360 g flour (ideally T0, T00 or T45 flour)
23 cl of water
1.5 g fresh baker’s yeast
20g of salt

Preparation

Pour the flour on the work surface.
Draw a well in the center, then add the yeast.
Then add half of the water to the well. Mix.
When the mixture has absorbed all the water and begins to form a ball, add the 20g of salt.
Keep kneading.
Pour the remaining water to hydrate the dough well, knead for another 8 minutes.
When the ball is smooth and homogeneous, let it rest for 10 minutes, covering the dough with a plate to prevent it from drying out. This step makes shaping the dough easier.
Then divide it into two equal parts.
Roll the two pieces of dough into homogeneous balls.
Place these two balls, well away from each other in a dish covered with durum wheat semolina to facilitate the exit of the dough pieces at the time of preparation (it is also possible to use flour).
Cover with cling film.
Leave to rest and rise for 24 hours in the fridge.

24 hours later

Preheat the oven to maximum (220 or 240°C).
Take the dough pieces out of the fridge, which have doubled in size.
Cover them with a thin layer of flour.
Separate them from the dish and take them out, using a spatula.
Place a first ball on the work surface to begin the display.
Starting from the center of the dough, press down with your fingers to flatten it.
Turn the dough over to the other side and repeat the same movement.
The dough is ready when the dough forms a uniform circle of about 30 cm.
Spread with the base of your choice.
Place the pizza on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake 6 mins.
Remove from the oven and add the ingredients of your choice.
Bake again for 2-3 minutes.
Take out the pizza and add the last ingredients (onions, fresh herbs etc.)
Serve hot.

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