On a recent girlfriend getaway trip in Kansas City, Kansas, I had the lovely opportunity to build my own authentic Napoletana pizza with 1889 Pizza owners Kelli and Jason Kolich. While we didn’t make our own pizza dough, I sure gathered plenty of tips on how to take a single pizza dough ball and turn it into a gourmet meal.
If anyone know how to make a great pizza, the Kolich family sure does! They have some of the best pizza I’ve every had the pleasure of enjoying. Fired in a 1,000-degree wood-burning oven and served to you in a beautiful, relaxing restaurant, every bite is a treasure!
It all begins with the dough
According to Kelli Kolich, the key to achieving the perfect pizza crust begins with the flour for the dough. 1889 Pizza Napoletana imports flour direct from Italy to ensure their pizzas taste authentically like what you would expect to find in an Italian pizzeria.
If authenticity is something you wish to achieve at home, you can order flours produced in Italy from companies like Antimo Caputo or Le 5 Stagioni via your local gourmet retailers or online shops.
Once you’ve selected your ingredients and formed your dough ball, it will need a warm area to rise, then a cool area to rest. Allowing the dough to rest overnight is a good practice.
When you are ready to toss the dough, there’s no need to be able to toss and spin like professional. Kelli Kolich showed us that we could simply begin by pressing the dough flat with our hands. Once it’s flattened, pinch around the edge to form a nice ridge for the edge of your crust. The rest of the stretching we did by lifting the dough up by one edge and letting it naturally letting it stretch as we slowly moved the dough in a circle.
You can also stretch the dough on a floured surface, gently pulling the opposite edges away from each other and using your fingers to flatten and coax the dough outward. Experiment to see what works best for you. If you rip the dough, you can generally repair it by allowing the dough to relax and kneading it back together with your fingertips. If you rip it too much, just re-form the dough ball and start again.
Make your own pizza dough at home
Want to make pizza dough at home? This is a basic easy-to-make pizza dough recipe with baking instructions.
If you just want to make a basic pizza from scratch, this recipe is for you. For the best taste, consider baking your pizza on a pizza stone. Your results won’t be quite the same as enjoying 1889 Pizza Napoletana as you won’t be using a brick oven, but you can achieve a quality pizza crust with an oven and a pizza stone.
3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of fast-acting yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 cup of warm water
Directions for making dough:
Add yeast and olive oil to water and stir. The water should not be too warm as it will kill the yeast.
Combine your flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour your yeast mixture into the well.
Mix with your hands. Within seconds, the mixture should congeal into dough. Sprinkle surface with flour and knead the dough for approximately five minutes.
Place dough ball into a bowl, cover it, and leave in a warm area to rise for 45 minutes to an hour. At the end, your dough ball should have risen to roughly twice its original size.
When dough is ready, Pre-heat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread cornmeal or flour over a clean counter top. Knead your dough ball some more and place on top of the flour. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough ball. Use your hands to flatten and stretch or roll with a rolling pin to flatten. Pinch the sides to create a crust. (See tips above for more on creating your crust!)
Once dough is desired size, add pizza sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
With a basic pizza, your options are wide open. Therefore, you can add whatever toppings you want and as many as you please. Sometimes pizza is even better the next day. Traditional pizza includes fresh mozzarella cheese but you can also use other cheeses like provolone cheese for enjoyable results.
If you are looking for a great pizza sauce base, Kelli Kolich suggests using San Marzano tomatoes. Sold by the can at local grocers and online food retailers, this is a brand I personally use for a lot of my personal Italian dishes, too.
You can just squish the tomatoes up a bit by hand and use them as you would any other pizza sauce. If you want to doctor things up a bit, add in some Italian spices and (or) a little minced garlic.
Toppings are totally up to you. From fresh basil and spinach to sausage and artichokes, use your creativity to put together your preferred taste combos. Again, the better the ingredients, the better the taste so always opt for fresh or gourmet when possible.
For an extra kick, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar or pesto on top. Or sprinkle some fresh grated Parmesan.
When you are in the Kansas City, Kansas area, don’t miss the chance to dine at 1889 Pizza Napoletana and your taste-buds will truly thank you! The next time you get a hankering for good pizza at home, try our recipe and tips!