Making Pizza Dough
See Also: Grilled Sourdough Pizza Recipe (below)
Pizza critics often contend that it’s the quality of the crust that makes the pizza. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to make an excellent pizza crust at home with a simple pizza dough recipe as long as you follow a couple of easy, yet critical, instructions to get that great crust.
1. Crank up the temperature of your oven to the highest heat it will reach. Most home ovens will not exceed 500 to 550 degrees, but that is plenty sufficient as long as you also…
2. Use a quality baking stone and give it time to reach full heat saturation. By “a quality baking stone”, I mean a thick stone with good heat retention and heat transfer qualities. If yours doesn’t fit this description, any baking stone is better than none. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Many people even find quarry tiles purchased at their local building supply store for a few dollars quite satisfactory.
The rest comes with a little practice. Once you’ve made a few pizzas, you’ll develop a good feel for the dough and for the baking characteristics of your oven and baking stone. I’m reluctant to claim that the pizza I make in my kitchen oven or outdoor grill is as good as or better than the award winning wood fired pizza available in town. So I won’t . But it’s close enough that I haven’t felt the usual compulsion to buy theirs in a long time.
If you want everyone at your house to be happy, make one of these crusts, put on your favorite toppings and follow the simple baking instructions. Making exceptionally good pizza is easily within reach. I hope these videos inspire you to give it a try.
The pizza dough I make in this video could hardly have been faster or easier. The “appreciation-to-effort ratio” on this one is excellent. In other words, you’ll chalk up some serious points with your spouse, kids and guests without knocking yourself out.
This recipe makes two 12-14″ thin crust pizzas and calls for:
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose or bread flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 3/4 cup luke warm water
- Your choice of toppings
Before making this pizza, you may also want to watch the following sourdough pizza video.
Given my obsession with sourdough starter, doesn’t it figure that I would include a sourdough pizza crust recipe here as well? You bet! And predictably I think it’s fit for the Gods.
This recipe is more involved and may take a little getting used to because of the addition of the sourdough starter. If you haven’t worked with sourdough before, you’re facing a bit of a learning curve. But if you’re already baking bread with it, then you’ll find this recipe almost as easy as the one above.
This recipe also makes two 12-14″ thin crust pizzas and calls for:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
- 1-3 Tbs water (see video)
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. salt
More elaborate recipes may coax more flavor from the grains and possibly improve on the texture and consistency of the crust. But as with the no knead bread recipes, I think these pizza recipes and methods strike the right balance of time, effort and quality that’s suited to the typical harried lifestyle we tend to live.
Breadtopia reader comment:
The “sour dough workout” shouldn’t be a joke. I found that when “air kneading” I got the same exercise for my arthritic hands as I do with my little ball of soft “clay stuff.” Thanks for a great new recipe. Pizza dough has always been a failure for me, but I love my sour dough and this worked great; both eating and exercising.
- If you don’t have a pizza peel, prepare your pizza on the back of a cookie sheet spinkled with corn meal.
- From the comments below, Ed suggests: “Try a little semolina flour in your pizza next time. It makes the crust a bit chewy and gives it a nutty flavor”. Thanks Ed!
- Another great tip from Connie Dove’s comments below: Prepare the crusts on top of upside down cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment (works better than semolina or bread crumbs). Slide paper & pizza into oven/grill and once the pizza has been on the stone for a half minute, the parchment paper slips right out from beneath!
- Scroll down (or click here) to the Feb. 12, 2008 post by Fonseca for some great info on converting this recipe to all whole wheat.
- News Flash (8 Nov, 2009). Thanks to Mike Gallaher for scoring this great looking pizza dough recipe, and to “hipkip” for sharing his pizza sauce recipe just below Mike’s posting. (Clicking links will take you directly to their posts below.)
For a super thin & crispy crust:
Marty (a Breadtopia reader) has developed a method for making a cracker thin pizza crust. So if you like a thin and very crispy crust, give this a try…
Special equipment needed:
- Dough Docker (a fork could be used but the docker really puts a lot of holes in the dough quickly)
- Pizza screen (I use a screen, it has the advantage of being very light weight, and no peel is needed).
- Or a Pizza stone
- Pizza peel, if using a pizza stone.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out your favorite pizza dough, very thin.
- Place dough on pizza screen(or a pizza peel if using a pizza stone).
- Using the dough docker (or forks), pierce the dough, make sure there are a lot of holes! This will keep the crust from puffing up.
- When oven is heated up thoroughly, quickly place the dough in oven (or on stone, if using)
- cook for 3 minutes.
- Take crust out of the oven, and flip upside down, and return to oven, cook for 3 minutes more.
- Take crust out of oven, the crust should be light brown and crispy.
- Top with your favorite toppings and return to oven.
- Continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes.
The crust will be thin and cracker-like and very crispy!