There’s no denying that pizza is one of our favorite foods; in fact, the USDA reports that in America alone, one in eight people eats pizza on any given day. The reason we’re crazy for piping hot slices of pie should be clear — pizza is downright delicious.
Ask anyone about his or her favorite pizza and we’re willing to bet that, while many will mention the toppings and some people will mention the sauce, almost every single person polled with have something to say about the crust. In the words of Craig Whitson and Tore Gjesteland, authors of Passion for Pizza: A Journey Through Thick and Thin to Find the Pizza Elite, “good ingredients on a poorly made crust do not a great pizza make.” Luckily, excellent pizza dough is easy to make from scratch.
Click here to see the How to Make Pizza Dough From Scratch in 7 Easy Steps (Slideshow)
None of the steps in making pizza dough from scratch are inherently difficult, but mixing, kneading, shaping, and proofing the perfect pizza crust does take time and planning. Regardless of the style of pizza dough you’re making (deep-dish, Neapolitan, New York, Sicilian, etc.), you’ll want to plan ahead. Though pizza dough can be made and used the same day, it benefits from being made a day or two in advance; this gives the dough time to develop a more complex flavor and a better texture. Even if you’re making pizza dough and using it the same day, it can be several hours from the time you mix the dough until it’s ready to bake, so be sure to read your recipe in advance and plan accordingly.
Not only is fresh pizza dough simple to make from scratch, but the ingredients are easily accessible — all you need for a basic pizza dough is flour, salt, yeast, and water. Though you have a number of options when it comes to flour and salt, the most basic versions (all-purpose flour and either sea salt or table salt) make a really great pizza crust. Once you have the basic technique down, feel free to experiment with different types of flour and salt and create your own custom pizza crust.
Ready to mix up a batch of your own? Here are seven simple steps you’ll need to follow:
Whether you’re using fresh or dried yeast, it must be active before you add it to the dough. Recipes that call for dried yeast will have you mix the yeast into a warm (but not hot) liquid before adding it to the dough, while recipes that call for fresh yeast will typically instruct you to mix it with a small amount of flour and water before adding it.
Mix the Dough
Once your yeast is active, add it to the other dough ingredients. If you have a stand mixer, you can combine your ingredients with a dough hook. If not, make a well in the center of your dry ingredients (like flour) and pour the wet ingredients (water and yeast) into the well before mixing by hand.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
How To Make Pizza Dough In Advance (With Recipes)
As with most foods, it can be nice to be prepared ahead of time so the stress before serving is minimal. Pizza certainly has a few hoops to jump through before you get the dish on the table. Making it the night before or even a few days ahead can make the process much easier and enjoyable.
So can you prepare pizza dough in advance? Yes, pizza dough can be made in advance. After mixing, the yeast in the dough starts fermenting which starts the life span of the dough. By slowing down this fermentation it ensures it will last longer and not become over fermented. Temperature and yeast amount are the main two factors.
To slow down dough fermentation you can:
- Chill it
- Freeze it
- Use less yeast
- Use more salt
The most common practice is either reduce the yeast quantity in your recipe and allow to ferment at room temperature, or to use a moderate amount of yeast and ferment in cooler temperatures such as the fridge. Longer fermentation develops deeper flavor (a bit like sourdough), so making dough in advance is very common and highly recommended.
Here is a link to my best pizza dough recipe which has detailed step by step instructions, including how to make it in advance.
Alternatively I have added some recipes to this article which you can follow to suit different scenarios and times. Then the following sections go into detail about the different ways you can slow down yeast fermentation, and how long you can store it.
What kind of flour should I use?
When I make my homemade pizza dough, I use the same all purpose unbleached flour I use for most of my cooking and baking. It works just fine, and it&rsquos nice to not have to swap buy something special.
This works well with bread flour or whole wheat flour, too, though you may need to adjust how much water you add. I&rsquove had readers email me to tell me that they make it this way all the time, so go for it.
However, do not use cake flour, as it doesn&rsquot have enough protein in it to form the gluten strands you want. I have never experimented with gluten free flour alternatives, so I can&rsquot speak to how well they work, but I&rsquod love to hear your experience if you try it.
Make Your Own Mini Pizzas + Homemade Pizza Dough
Mini pizzas on homemade thin crust dough + tons of topping ideas! These little bites are perfect for parties and fun for weeknights!
One of the best things about knowing how to cook is that you turn whatever’s in your fridge into a fabulous, delicious appetizer for friends and family!
With a batch of freshly made pizza dough, mozzarella, sauce, and a few of my favorite toppings, these little two-bite pizzas were easy to make and a total hit. Well… I didn’t have a chance to taste more than one of them, but if there weren’t guests to feed you could bet I’d have gone back for more!
I like to make my pizza dough at home – There’s something that knocks my socks off about watching a bunch of simple ingredients turn into a puffy, cloudlike ball of bready goodness! Plus, you can add in dried herbs or grated cheese and give it a little extra flavor than the store bought stuff.
Read up on how to get these perfect mini pizza circles in the recipe below.
Now onto the good stuff! Sometimes you just gotta use what you got. This time, it was roasted red peppers, spinach, ham, and a thoroughly loved block of Asiago cheese. Oh, Asiago I love you.
Onto the pizza they went, along with freshly grated ribbons of shredded mozzarella and a swirl of my favorite pasta sauce. You can use pizza sauce, too, or do it up homemade with your bad self!
After baking for about ten minutes, these bubbling hot beauties were ready for munching – and boy, did they go fast!
Get inspired with plenty of creative topping ideas below, including different meats, vegetables, cheeses and more than you may not have tried before. I love to get funky with different flavors, and pizza is a great canvas for experimenting!
Basic Pizza Dough
A nice slice of pizza is one of life's greatest pleasures. Just ask Ree Drummond, who loves pizza so much that she and her husband, Ladd, started their own pizza restaurant, P-Town Pizza, in their hometown of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. P-Town serves dozens of pies with unique toppings, but they all have one thing in common: the perfect basic pizza dough.
You've probably been going to your favorite pizza place for years and maybe you've even wondered how you can recreate their dough. Well, here's some good news: The team at P-Town Pizza shared a version of their basic pizza dough recipe so you can make your own similar pies at home! According to the team, it took about 73 tries to perfect this recipe&mdashso you can trust that it's delicious! Read on for how to make it yourself.
How do you make easy pizza dough from scratch?
Pizza dough is actually a lot easier to make than you'd think. You just need flour, water and yeast, plus a little olive oil and salt. You also need time and patience! Check out the recipe below for specific steps.
Is yeast necessary for pizza dough?
The short answer here is yes. Yeast is the most important ingredient in this basic pizza dough because it is the leavening agent. Without it, the dough would be flat and not rise, and it wouldn't have any of those bubbles that make the crust chewy and crispy. You can find yeast-free pizza dough recipes out there (some people mix yogurt with self-rising flour), but that will give you a very different texture. For the true pizza parlor experience, a basic pizza dough that calls for yeast is recommended.
What is the secret to good pizza dough?
Making great pizza dough is an art, but it all starts with a solid dough recipe, like the one below. Some helpful things to remember when making this recipe: Be sure the temperature of your water isn't too cold (or the yeast won't bloom) or too hot (which will kill the yeast). The sweet spot for the water is about 110˚and you should use a thermometer to check. Also, don't skimp on rising time&mdashthis is key for developing both flavor and texture.
Can I use regular flour for pizza dough?
Yes! The recipe below calls for regular all-purpose flour. Some recipes call for bread flour or self-rising flour, which have different protein levels that contribute to the texture of the dough. It is best to use the type of flour that your recipe calls for to get the best results.
Storing Leftover Dough
When we only make one pizza, I store the extra crust in the refrigerator and we get to have pizza again tomorrow night too! When pulling the crust out the next day, just make sure to bring it to room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes before you start working with it.
I haven’t personally frozen this pizza dough recipe (we eat it too fast!), but several readers have at the “divide into two dough balls” stage and have had great results.
- 2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting
Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a large bowl sprinkle with yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk sugar, oil, and salt into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and brush top with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 1 or 2 times before using.
Dough can be stored in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic, in refrigerator up to 2 hours. To freeze, wrap dough in plastic and freeze in a resealable freezer bag up to 3 months. If you plan to use it in a recipe that calls for half a batch, divide it before freezing.
Take a break from pizza night and use store-bought pizza dough to make calzones. This recipe is for cheesy spinach, ricotta and mozzarella calzones, but feel free to customize the ingredients to your taste and add pepperoni, veggies or your other favorite toppings to the mix. This is a great recipe for the kids to get involved in, too.
If you’re not sure how to work with yeast or you’re nervous about making your own pizza dough, I can assure you, you’ve got this handled. I’ll walk you through step by step and give you all the tips and tricks to master this simple and perfect pizza dough.
The Best Italian Pizza Dough
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So, let’s just start right at the beginning with everything that you’ll need to make perfect pizza dough.
Pizza Dough Ingredients
- 4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 packet instant yeast
- a teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup “OO” Italian flour (optional)
The Best Italian Pizza Dough Step By Step
- Measure all your ingredients out before you start so that it’s easier and quicker once you get mixing.
- Add the yeast to the warm water and olive oil. Add the honey (or sugar) and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to help it activate. You’ll see a thick foamy froth appear on the top of the liquid. This is the yeast. Stir back into the liquid.
- Pour the yeast and olive oil mixture into the flour while it’s on the mixer fitted with the dough hook, or mix it by hand using a wooden spoon. If using a mixer, let it mix, on low, for about 5 minutes, until a shaggy but not sticky dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring it together with your hands until it forms a soft smooth dough. This should only take about 2 minutes of kneading.
- Once the dough is smooth and elastic, then you can leave it covered to rise for 30 minutes. Once it’s risen, roll it out, or press it out into a disc and make your pizza.
SO, WHAT MAKES THIS THE BEST ITALIAN PIZZA DOUGH
- It’s easy and quick.
- It’s made with active dry yeast.
- You can make it in a Kitchenaid mixer or by hand
- And you can freeze the dough!
- As a bonus, this pizza dough also doubles as a focaccia dough. Simple drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary and it’s perfect.
WHAT’S THE BEST FLOUR FOR MAKING PIZZA DOUGH?
This recipe uses a combination of all-purpose (bread) flour and type “00” flour. Using a mix of the two flours is the classic Neopolitan way. Type “00” is finely milled in Italy and adding it to the recipe helps to give the crust a very light texture. This article in Saveur explains it all in more detail if you’re interested.
It’s made with traditional Italian “00” flour and semolina and it has a touch of blossom honey to help activate the yeast and add just a kiss of sweetness to the dough. Not enough that it tastes sweet, just enough that you’re left trying to figure out why this pizza is better than any other that you’ve ever had. Something you just can’t quite put your finger on.
This is pizza dough made to be eaten al fresco with simple tumblers of wine and lots of olives and olive oil. It’s not merely a vehicle to get the pizza toppings to your mouth, but it’s an integral part of the pizza itself. Lending the whole affair a sense of substance and nourishment.
WHY DO YOU USE HONEY?
In order to get the yeast to do its job, especially in 30 minutes, it needs a little help. Yeast feeds on sugar. Whether that be the natural ones present in the air, or sugar that you add to the yeast to help it along. Sugar gets added to the yeast to encourage it to activate. I use honey because it lends a depth of flavour that sugar just doesn’t have. If you’re in a pinch and you don’t have honey then, by all means, you can use some sugar. But, I strongly recommend that you try it with honey.
You can use either yeast in this recipe. Instant yeast can be added with all ingredients and doesn’t require any activation or proofing time. If you choose to use active dry yeast, you’ll want to let that proof in a small bowl by mixing it with the amount of water called for in this recipe. Your water needs to be warm, and should be between 100-105 degrees F to properly proof the yeast.
For leftover baked pizza, put remaining slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in either a toaster oven or microwave until warmed through.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious easy dinner recipes: