Two Types of Dough
There are two main types of dough that we recommend for use with Pizza Shelf. The first is Neapolitan dough. This high hydration dough combined with the high temperatures achieved using Pizza Shelf allow you to make Neapolitan pizza in your oven. This combination yields a tender airy internal structure with charred leopard spots on the outside, just like from a wood-fired oven. The second is Jersey dough (or New York style for those of you on the other side of the river). Jersey dough is used with the oven at a lower setting, baked more slowly, and results in a more dense and chewy crust that is made for the traditional "fold and scarf" eating technique. This is also the type of dough you should use for calzones and strombolis combined with lower temperatures and a slower bake. There are many other types of dough we won't get into here, but I'm sure some experimenters will discuss over in the forum if you're feeling more adventurous.
We lay out four options below: buying your dough from a wood-fired pizza place (beginners start here!), making your dough using our "Good" recipe, making your dough using our "Great" recipe, or buying regular pizza dough from a grocery store and cutting it down to Neapolitan size (not recommended, but if you take this route we want to at least give you some guidance).
Option 1. Buy your dough from a wood-fired pizza place
- We recommend that all new Pizza Shelf users start here to remove a variable when you're first starting out, learning how to use Pizza Shelf, and learning how to use it with your oven for Neapolitan Pizza.
- If you have a place nearby that pops up on a map when you search for "Neapolitan Pizza" or "wood-fired pizza" there's a good chance they will sell you their dough and it will be better than your first try at making it.
- Try to buy your dough the same day you will make pizza. If you need to buy it a day in advance, refrigerate it until two hours before you're ready to make pizza, then remove from fridge.
- Once you've bought your dough, do a gut check to make sure the dough ball is less than 300g (Neapolitan style) and not a more massive New York or Jersey style. No scale, no problem, take a look at the photos below to help you determine. If you've accidentally bought a large ball of New York or Jersey style dough, have no fears! For this first time, you can cut the dough ball down to size (<300g) and stretch thin. Results won't be perfect but you can still get a feel for using Pizza Shelf for Neapolitan pizza with this dough.
- Four Neapolitan Dough Balls (below)
- One Jersey or New York Style Dough Ball (below, image credit: Meghan Splawn)
- Once you have your dough and you are ready to proceed, move on to the recipes page
Option 2. Make your dough - the "Good" recipe
Knead ingredients together (with mixer dough hook, med. speed 30 min OR by hand until smooth and elastic, about 30 min)
Rest dough for 45 min @ room temp
Flour hands. Divide into 3 even pieces, ball each piece tightly
Place balls into lightly floured airtight containers, place in fridge
Rise 2-4 days in fridge (this dough is pretty forgiving)
Remove dough from fridge two hours before prepping Pizza Shelf
3. Make your dough - the "Great" recipe
Wet dough, hard to handle, superior results
- Knead ingredients together (with mixer dough hook, med. speed 30 min OR by hand until smooth and elastic, about 30 min)
- Rest dough for 45 min @ room temp
- Flour hands. Divide into 3 even pieces, ball each piece tightly
- Place balls into lightly floured airtight containers, place in fridge
- Rise 3 days in fridge
- Remove dough from fridge two hour before prepping Pizza Shelf
4. Buy dough from a grocery store (not recommended)
- If you do this, just make sure you use only 300g of dough or less and you use traditional dough (most whole wheat and gluten free doughs don't work well with the high-heat, Neapolitan method)
We really like this one and have been tweaking our own recipe off of it. Once we perfect ours, we'll upload it here in place of this one. Until then, this one will get your pretty darn close to that Jersey slice you know and love.
You can also buy your Jersey dough from your favorite local slice shop (ask for a small pie dough ball since you can only get a 13" pie to fit into Pizza Shelf).