Making homemade pizza dough doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are all the things you need to know to make pizza dough from scratch.
We love to make homemade pizza dough. It is super easy and inexpensive to make. Growing up my family used a pizza dough recipe from a favorite cookbook and I eventually memorized it. Well, you know how memories go.
I didn’t own the cookbook and I was tired of bugging my family again and again after I lost the recipe I wrote out so I started winging it. It turned out even better than following the original recipe had so we stuck with our new recipe. Today I thought I would share our favorite homemade pizza dough recipe.
Here are my tips for making the best pizza dough.
Homemade pizza dough is a yeast bread and can be a little intimidating to make. Follow these tips and you’ll be making pizza dough like a pro in no time. No guarantees you’ll be flipping it through the air to stretch it. I’m not coordinated enough for that one.
What ingredients do I need for pizza dough?
You only need some simple pantry ingredients to make pizza dough. In fact, the only one you might not have is yeast.
What kind of flour should I use?
This recipe turns out the best if you use all-purpose or unbleached flour. You can also use bread flour with good results. I prefer using unbleached flour as it’s the one I use most often and is more cost-efficient than bread flour. From my expereince, you will need just a bit less flour when you use unbleached flour. I’ve also used whole wheat flour in the past. However, you will need less flour than this recipe calls for and it won’t rise quite as beautifully.
What kind of oil should I use?
You can use vegetable oil or olive oil. If you use olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is the best option as it has less flavor.
Can I skip the sugar?
If you’d like to skip the sugar you can. The yeast will feed on the sugars in the flour and grow that way. However, adding sugar to the yeast helps the yeast activate and grow faster.
What kind of yeast should I use?
Here’s a crash course in yeast. There are four kinds of yeast – dry yeast, instant yeast, rapid rise yeast, and fresh yeast.
Active Dry Yeast
Active dry yeast is the type of yeast this recipe calls for. It needs to be dissolved in water before you use it.
Instant yeast is milled into smaller granules and dissolves faster. This yeast can be mixed right into the dry ingredients. If this is the only yeast you have on hand, you can skip the step of dissolving it in waram water and mix it in with the flour. Make sure you mix it in with just a couple cups of flour rather than the full amount the recipe calls for in case you don’t need the full amount.
This yeast has additional enzymes and additives so you can skip the first rise when you are making yeast breads. Since pizza dough only needs one rise, I don’t recommend using it in this recipe.
Unless you bake all the time and are experienced with using yeast, skip this one for now. It doesn’t have a long shelf life like active dry yeast and needs to be dissolved in warm water like active dry yeast does.
How warm should the water be?
Activating the dry yeast in water is called proofing the yeast. The ideal temperature for the water to activate the yeast is between 105°F – 110°F degrees. You can use an instant read thermometer if you are worried about getting it close enough to the right temperature.
How do I know I used enough flour?
When mixing flour into the dough, you’ll want to add about a cup at a time until you get to 5 cups. After that point, start adding it about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. You want to stop adding flour when the dough is just slightly sticky. After this, you will knead the dough.
How do I know the dough has been kneaded enough?
You’ll know the dough has been kneaded enough when you poke it and it springs back immediately. This tutorial from King Arthur Flour shows you how to properly knead dough and know when it is fully kneaded.
What pizza pan should I use?
You can use a stainless steel cookie sheet or round pizza pan. If you use one of these, oil the pan before adding the pizza dough. However, I prefer using a pizza stone. For best results, preheat the stone in the oven. Until your pizza stone is nicely seasoned, you can add a little cornmeal to the pan before adding the pizza dough so it doesn’t stick badly.
Tips for the best baked pizza
For best results, once the pizza dough is shaped onto the pizza stone or sheet, brush it lightly with oil to help the crust brown nicely and let sit a minute before adding toppings.
Bake in an extra-hot oven between 400°F-450°F to more closely mimic pizza from a restaurant.
Can I make pizza dough ahead of time?
You totally can make the dough ahead of time. Here are directions to premake pizza crust, wrap, and freeze for future meals. When you want to use it, simply pull it out a day or two ahead of time to thaw then let rise before topping and baking.Print
- 2 and 1/4 cups warm water (approx. 105-110°F)
- 2 TBS. active dry yeast
- 1 TBS. sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6–7 cups flour
- Mix warm water, sugar, and yeast in mixing bowl.
- Let set 5 minutes or until it has a nice bubbly look to the top.
- Add oil.
- Mix in 1 cup of flour and the salt.
- Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have added 5 cups total, mixing after each addition. At this point add flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is just slightly sticky.
- Set your mixer to 2 and let it knead the dough for 3 minutes or by hand until it is nice and elastic. Add a little flour as need be so your hands don’t stick.
- Dough will be slightly sticky.
- Cover dough with a paper towel or light weight towel and set on back of stove until dough doubles – 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Coat hands in oil, punch down dough and divide in 2 for 2 large pizzas.
- Oil a pan or use a baking stone without oil.
- Spread dough across pan, patching holes if they appear.
- Lightly brush crust with oil.
- Add favorite toppings.
- Bake at 450 until top is golden brown. Usually around 15 minutes.
- Pull the pizza out of the oven and let sit a few minutes. I know it is tempting to bite right in but the burnt tongue always ruins it for me. Plus, the toppings stay on better if it sets a few minutes.
Now that you know how to make pizza dough you’re going to want some tasty pizza recipes.
- Fig, Caramelized Onion, and Goat’s Cheese Pizza
- Steak and Mushroom Melt Pizza
- Roast Beef and Cheddar Pizza
- Jalapeño Pop ‘n Lock Pizza