It Only Takes Four Ingredients to Make the Perfect Dough

pizzerialocale Neighborhood Neapolitan

How many ingredients should there be in pizza crust?

If you answered five, or seven, or nine… you’d be in company with a lot of people, particularly those used to eating pizza from the big national pizza chains. 

And that means maybe you haven’t tried our Neighborhood Neapolitan pizza made with traditional four-ingredient pizza dough! We don’t follow all the rules for making traditional Neapolitan-style pizza, but we think making dough the traditional way is non-negotiable. 

What goes into the dough makes a tremendous difference in the crust—and the taste—of your pizza. That’s why at Pizzeria Locale, we’re purists about everything that goes into our pizzas. We don’t cut corners and we dedicate the time needed to make dough the old way. 

Our dough is made with only Italian-type 00 flour, water, yeast and salt. 

That’s it. Four ingredients. Just four. 

Too much addition is bad for you

Believe it or not, some pizza chains add up to 27 different ingredients and additives to their dough. It’s helpful to understand why they add so much, so we thought we’d start with a rundown of the most common additives:

  • Ascorbic acid (claim: it strengthens the gluten)
  • Buttermilk (claim: it strengthens the dough)  
  • Diastatic malt (claim: converts starch to sugar; helps feed yeast)
  • Egg whites (claim: gives a lighter texture)
  • Ascorbic acid (claim: keeps dough from tearing) 
  • Lecithin (claim: extends shelf life, preserves flavor)
  • Pectin (claim: adds moisture, replaces fat)
  • Sugar (claim: feeds yeast, holds in moisture) 

Can you imagine eating any of that? All these ingredients are ways to speed up the dough-making process and make it easier to have a more consistent dough—but adding them also makes the finished pizza crust less airy and crisp… and harder to digest! That speed also means mass manufacturers can sell more—that’s their primary driving force.

But it isn’t ours. We made a commitment when we opened in 2011 to use nothing but the freshest ingredients and create nothing but the best-tasting Neapolitan pizzas. We don’t prepare our pizzas for shipping or for the freezer, and we know you can taste the difference.

It starts with the flour

True Neapolitan pizza has a very thin center with a crust that puffs up around the sides and providing a very airy crust with crunch and chew. Because that crust is so light (even though quite large), certain areas become charred very quickly, which gives Neapolitan pizza it’s distinctive flavor. It’s crisp on the bottom and features small, dime-sized black char, often called “leopard spots.” They don’t taste burned; the spots just add flavor and character to the overall taste experience. The outer rim, or cornicione, is thick and airy. 

Just those four ingredients – ‘00’ flour, water, yeast and salt. Our chef, Jordan Wallace, spent four months in Italy training with renowned pizza-maker Enzo Coccia at his world-famous pizzeria La Noticia. There Jordan learned the pillars of Neapolitan pizza, including how to make Neapolitan pizza dough with those same four ingredients: ‘00’ flour, water, salt and yeast. 

In America and a lot of other countries, wheat flours are categorized based on how much protein they contain. In Italy and a few other European countries, the classification is based on how finely ground the flour is, and how much of the germ and bran has been removed. The Italian grading system includes 2, 1, 0, and 00. Type 2 is the coarsest grind (it has the most germ and bran), and the grain gets finer the further down you go. Double zero, also referred to as doppio zero or 00 flour, is the most refined. 

Our ‘00’ flour is milled in Colorado and it’s even available for sale in the Pizzeria Locale shop.

Neighborhood Neapolitan pizza isn’t meant to sit in boxes; enjoy yours right away, perhaps with a nice bottle of our Italian red wine or one of our local craft beers,  and you’ll understand why people have been relishing Neapolitan pizza for centuries—and why that pizza’s crust only ever contains four ingredients!