Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza

I found my favourite pizza recipe a long time ago, you have enjoyed it too - it's the "Classic Pizza Dough" recipe, it's been on the website for many years and it's absolutely perfect. But, naturally, we never stop in one place and we improve constantly, and this happens with the recipes as well. I wanted to improvise an Italian style pizza, just the way they do it - baked in a wood fired oven, thin and a bit crispy. I've tested many pizza recipes, but Gennaro Cotaldo's pizza (Jamie Oliver's mentor) was the most successful of all, so I'd like to show it to you.

It's not just a regular recipe because it's not only about the making of the pizza dough or a combination of various toppings. I also want you to see how I improvised a wood fired oven inside the classic kitchen oven, I don't use a pizza pan and I handle it the way Italians do - only, with a twist :)

You can use the same method with any other dough you like, including my "Classic Pizza Dough" I mentioned earlier. The secret lies in the fact that the wood fired oven rushes the dough to bake and so it becomes a bit crunchy, thin and simply delicious.


White flour
500 g
preferably, 12% protein flour
1 tsp
Active dry yeast
7 g
or 15g fresh yeast
Warm water
325 ml
Extravirgin olive oil
50 g
Tomatoes sauce
200 g
any sauce you like for pizza
Toppings for pizza
500 g
anything you like to put on top of pizza - ham, salami, olives, corn, mushrooms etc.
500 g
or any other yellow cheese you have
50 g

Step by step

Step 1

In a glass or a bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm (not hot!) water. 

Leave it to prove for 5 minutes.

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 1
Step 2

In a bigger bowl transfer the flour and the salt. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 2
Step 3

Then add here the yeast mixture. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 3
Step 4

Stir well, first, using a spatula or a spoon, until they blend. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 4
Step 5

Then transfer this dough on the table and continue to knead it with your hands - stretch it on the table, then pull it towards you and so on. 

Preferably, don't use more flour when kneading. Even though it's sticky in the beginning, the dough will get more and more elastic and firm, that's how gluten develops.

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 5
Step 6

This is what it should look like when you've finished - I find this process very relaxing and I prefer to knead it with my hands. You can as well use a stand mixer. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 6
Step 7

Now divide it in 4 equal parts. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 7
Step 8

Make 4 balls and set them on a plate or even on the table after you've dusted it with some flour (or with some semolina, which will make the pizza base more crunchy).

Grease them with some olive oil, cover them in plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave them to rest. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 8
Step 9

After 2 hours, the dough will look like this. It's time to stretch and bake the pizza.

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 9
Step 10

Inside the oven set the oven tray upside down and pre-heat it to 250 degrees C.

This is going to be an improvised wood fired oven, the tray will heat up and so the pizza will cook much faster on it. 

Maybe I will get a pizza stone in the future, I just need to take care of this.

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 10
Step 11

While the oven is heating, we stretch the pizza dough. 

Carefully take each ball of dough, one at a time, dust the table with flour and use your hands to press the ball until it flattens. You don't have to knead it anymore, you just need to press it gently with your fingers and stretch it as evenly as possible. 

Make sure you don't incorporate the semolina in the dough, so try to keep it on the outside, this will be the pizza base. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 11
Step 12

Then stretch the dough softly with your hands and shape it in a thin pizza base - there are plenty of Youtube tutorials showing you how to do it best, but you will notice that each one is doing it in its particular way. 

Carefully move the thin pizza base on some parchment paper and adjust its shape. If you dust enough flour underneath, you will be able to work it well without much effort. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 12
Step 13

Put the tomato sauce on the pizza - I use canned homemade "Sosul Marinara". 


Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 13
Step 14

Sprinkle Mozzarella or yellow cheese. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 14
Step 15

Top the pizza however you like - here I used ham, olives and mushrooms - Pizza Capriciosa. 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 15
Step 16

Oven is heated and pizza is set. 

Take a different baking pan and turn it upside down (or you can use a big pizza spatula, if you have). Carefully pull the parchment paper to move the pizza on it.

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 16
Step 17

Now in the same way, pull the paper to move the pizza on the upside down baking pan inside the oven. 

The moving of the paper is just a trick to substitute the skills of a real pizzaiolo :) 

Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 17
Step 18

Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes at 250 degrees C (no ventilation). 

Even if it doesn't turn to brown on the edges, it is ready. Keeping it in the oven for more would mean drying it too much.

Remove it from the oven by pulling the paper and let it cool on a pizza plate. 

It's absolutely delicious, we enjoy it every single time - crispy, thin and flexible, just like an authentic Italian pizza. 


Gennaro's Pizza or Italian Pizza  - Step 18
Quantity: 4 pieces
Prep time: 200 min
Difficulty: intermediate
Ready in: 30 min
Publish date:

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