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.

They are…

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.

Grilled Sourdough Pizza

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
  • Toppings

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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Instructions:

  • 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!

{ 225 comments… read them below or add one }

breadtopia March 18, 2008 at 10:07 am

Hi John.

That’s so cool. Thanks for letting me know.

Eric

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breadtopia March 18, 2008 at 10:02 am

Hi Robert. The funny thing is, once I put up a video I often have to refer back to it to remember how I did something. Then I’ll just copy the ingredient list to a text editor and print that out for reference.

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Howie Cohen aka The Neon Guy March 17, 2008 at 9:32 am

Hi Gang,
Love the site. I just asked my buddy for some of his starter that he has been tending for decades. I can’t wait to try a sourdough.
In any event.. a couple of questions.
Can you use this starter to make a good old fashion rye bread? You know.. the type we use to get with corned beef and the pickle?
Thanks for the site.

Howie Cohen

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John March 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Hi Eric, I make your NK pizza dough for the first time the other day and the results were fantastic. Best pizza I have ever made, and the wife agreed! Previously I was making pizza from dough bought from my local pizzeria, but I like this better. I can’t wait for my starter (made from your recipe) to be ready so I can make sourdough pizza! Thanks…..

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Robert March 15, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Do you have written instructions for the pizza dough that I can Print?

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breadtopia March 11, 2008 at 7:34 pm

Hey Rick. I think they’re working OK. But you can also do a search on breadtopia over at youtube, I’ve uploaded them there too.

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Rick March 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Is anyone else having a problem seeing the video on pizza dough? I don’t get any video on the page…just an empty space where it seems to go. Is it my computer/browser or does it not show on others too?

Thanks very much for such a wonderful site!
Rick in CO

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breadtopia March 4, 2008 at 6:18 am

That’s really cool, Zak. Feedback like yours makes my day!

Eric

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Zak Marshall March 3, 2008 at 10:49 pm

After trying 50 different recipes, your Basic Pizza Dough Recipe was by far the BEST !!! Every recipe I tried before, had me mixing the yeast with sugar in warm water till frothy, then pouring it into a mixing bowl where I had the flour, olive oil and salt..I tried your Basic Pizza Dough Recipe where it calls NOT to do what I’ve been doing before (no sugar/yeast/water mixture) and WALLAH!!! FANTASTIC PIZZA !!!!
I can’t thank you enough !!! THANX THANX THANX !!!
Zak

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breadtopia February 26, 2008 at 6:19 am

Thanks for this great comment, Mary. I’ve added it to the main body of text above.

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Mary February 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm

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.

Reply

breadtopia February 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm

If I were making thin crust pizza, which is about all I ever make, I’d use about 3/4 cup of starter. But you could experiment around and see if you come up with something you like better.

Glad to hear your starter worked out well.

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Dennis Fenezia February 24, 2008 at 1:23 pm

I MADE MY STARTER JUST LIKE YOU SAID AND IT WAS A SUCCESS
THANK YOU I HAVE A QUESTION I MAKE PIZZA ALOT IN MY HOUSE
HOW MUCH STARTER WOULD I USE TO 1 POUND OF DOUGH OR IF YOU WERE MAKING 1 PIZZA HOW MUCH WOULD YOU USE

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Sean February 14, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Barefoot pizza cooking; good stuff :). Thanks for the video.

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breadtopia February 14, 2008 at 8:26 am

Good questions, Nick. I haven’t paid real close attention to how long it takes before the frozen dough is workable. I just take it out around breakfast time so it’s ready for lunch.

Don’t know about the whole wheat. Some people make 100% whole wheat crust and like it just fine. Peter Reinhart, in his newish whole grains book, has a great recipe for 100% whole grain pizza that I like a lot. But his recipe is more involved than just taking this one and adding more whole wheat. So it would just take some playing around to see what works for you.

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nick February 14, 2008 at 7:10 am

I have fixed you pizza dough on several occasions and find it to be wonderful and consistently full of flavor.
I have 2 questions pertain to the pizza.

1. When freezing pizza dough appox. how much time does it take from freezer to rise ready to stretch.

2. what is the max amount of whole wheat flour you believe can substituted and still maintain the integrity of the recipe.

Thanks again for your wonder site and have a great valentine day with your wife.

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fonseca February 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I’ve made a whole wheat version of your sourdough pizza at least a dozen times now. It’s supplanted the standard whole wheat yeast dough I spent years fine tuning, so that’s saying something. I simply replace the all purpose flour with freshly milled hard red winter wheat, add about 1/4c water instead of 1tbsp, and I’ll sometimes add 1tbsp vital wheat gluten as well, especially if I’m feeding people that don’t like whole grain. My starter is whole wheat fed and at 100% hydration.

I’ve also found that decreasing the olive oil to 1tbsp yields a crispier crust. 100% whole wheat is a little more work to get the dough just right, but it’s worth the effort for the health benefits, added flavor and texture.

Sometimes I’ll make the dough in the morning or even the night before and refrigerate it until two hours before I’ll make the pizza. This yields an incredibly sour crust. Too much for some people, but if you like sourdough, it’s heaven.

Thanks so much for the recipe!

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Yolanda February 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Thank you for this. I cook only with whole grains, and really appreciate the tips!

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Audrey February 6, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Information for Muffuletta Sandwiches;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muffuletta

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Audrey February 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Oops, I forgot to also ask if anyone has a recipe for the breads? and Olive Salad.

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Audrey February 6, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Has anyone tried using their La Cloche to make a deep dish pizza? Or muffuletta Sandwich Bread?

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breadtopia February 2, 2008 at 11:34 am

I’ve made the 100% whole wheat pizza recipe from Peter Reinhart’s new Whole Grain Breads book a few times, and been very happy with it. It doesn’t call for orange juice but you could certainly substitute some in place of some of the water and see what happens. Sounds like you’d have Swedish pizza crust.

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Ed January 31, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I made this pizza dough recipe using 1 cup all purpose and 1.25 cups whole wheat and no orange juice. It turned out very good.

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Wendy January 30, 2008 at 7:56 am

Anxious to try the whole wheat bread. As for the pizza dough…do you have a recipe using whole wheat (with orange juice?)

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Ed January 14, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Well I didn’t fair to well with the 100% whole wheat bread but this pizza dough worked out great!

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breadtopia January 9, 2008 at 5:00 am

Hi Pete,

I like my pizza crust very thin and find that about 6-7 oz of dough makes a pretty thin 12″ crust.

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pete January 8, 2008 at 4:07 pm

hi,how many ounces of frozen dough do i need for a 12 inch pie?

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Maggie December 31, 2007 at 11:49 am

HaHa…Hi Justin! Of COURSE I’ve been to Dion’s ! There’s one just about a mile down the road from me on 528 @ High Resort…………yummmmmmmm !

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justin December 30, 2007 at 11:40 pm

@ maggie. ever been to Dions? thats where i work! its a small world.

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breadtopia December 26, 2007 at 9:45 pm

I haven’t noticed any difference in flavor because of protein level. Lower protein flour is easier to work with for pizza dough because it spreads out easier and doesn’t tend to spring back like a stretched out rubber band when you’re forming the crust.

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Dusan kalivoda December 26, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Hello there. I enjoyed your pizza videos but have one question. Do you think that higher protein flour is better for pizza? I have managed to find some and made my pizza with iton someone else’s recomendation, and have to admit, it odes make pizza taste a little better. I am yet to try it with sourdough starter, I love sour dough in general. When I do, I will live my coments on it. Mean while, keep up the good work.
Dusan from Vancouver BC Canada,

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Maggie December 7, 2007 at 12:28 pm

I have a question about the use of parchment in such a hot oven. The silicone treated paper I have says it’s oven safe to only 400* and the paper I saw at the cooking store yesterday had a max temp of 450*. Is there another paper somewhere that can be heated safely at higher temps?? Maggie

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Daryl December 2, 2007 at 7:49 pm

This help allot, Maggie!… explains why things seem to take longer to bake/cook. Many thanks!

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Maggie December 2, 2007 at 5:38 pm

Daryl…I’m in Rio Rancho, NM at an altitude of about 5500′. The higher altitude gives a good rise. Because we don’t have humidity(to speak of),the flours tend to be much drier, and a bit more liquid is required. Also because of the altitude, things have to be baked for longer periods of time. Sorry I don’t have any exact times for you, but it’s a matter of trial and error. I hope this might help you a bit. Happy baking, Maggie

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breadtopia December 1, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Craiger, sounds like you’re more on top of this than I am. I’d be reluctant to reduce the oven temp but I see your dilemma.

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breadtopia December 1, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Sorry Daryl, I’m not familiar with the adjustments needed for high altitude baking. Maybe someone else reading this can offer some advise.

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CRAIGER December 1, 2007 at 10:06 am

BRAVO… THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS FOR THE BREAD ARTISIANS LIKE MYSELF WHO TRULY TREASURE THE ART OF FRESH BAKED PIZZA. I RATE THIS A PURE AND HONEST 100 AND AN A+. MY ONLY PROBLEM IS MATCHING THE “TOASTING” OF THE BOTTOM OF MY CRUST TO EQUAL THAT OF THE “RIM/ EDGE” OF MY PIZZA CRUSTS. DO I DARE REDUCE MY OVEN BELOW IT’S 500* TEPERATURE? I GUESS I COULD TRY? ALSO, I HAVE ALWAYS LET MY DOUGH SIT ON THE HOT STONE, IN THE OVEN FOR ABOUT 4 MINUTES ( SO AS TO SET AND ENSURE A GOOD CRUST ), AND THEN ADD THE SAUCE AND CHEESE. ANY SUGGESTIONS? I DO FEEL THAT A GOOD CRUST MAKES THE PIZZA.

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Daryl November 21, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for all the great videos and priceless information. Would you be able to offer any tips for folks trying to reproduce your recipes at a high altitude? Say around 5000 ft?

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Nate November 14, 2007 at 8:37 am

This is a great recipe that I have enjoyed success with. I like thin crust, however, so for me, this recipe makes 4 12″ crusts. Mmm, yummy, esp with a 4 or 6 blend italian cheese mix and fresh basil.

Thanks for the great recipes!

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breadtopia November 9, 2007 at 11:54 am

Thanks a lot Justin, that’s great info, I really appreciate it.

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justin November 9, 2007 at 11:33 am

I work at a local pizza place, i love youre vids and so i thought id contribute a little. I think it should be noted that the more toppings you have, the longer it will take to cook them, but the crust will still cook at the same speed, so you may want to have the oven temp turned down to around 485 if you like the “supreme”. it will be easier to cut the pie the sooner you do it, but if the cheese is still to runny then it might go over the edge. I usually wait about 30 secs, rather than minutes, to ensure a good cut – especially if you have a lower quality cutter. Where i work, we use provolone cheese, i reccomend it over mozzarella for several reasons. Lastly, dont forget that if you are ambitious, or if you will be making enough pies that you are willing to practice, dont forget that you can try tossing the dough on your hands to get a nice circle, rather than rolling it out. use your hands to form a crust, leaving a thicker ball of dough still in the center. Then, “walk” the dough out on your hands until it is slightly above the size you want. place it on the block or the paddle you will use to get it on the block, and stretch out any imperfections. if there is any apparent bubbles, pop them to ensure a better cooked crust. Good luck, and thank you for these vids!

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цыганка(Israel) September 1, 2007 at 8:27 am

Today did a dough under your recipe “Making Pizza Dough”. Thanks, for a tasty pizza.

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breadtopia August 23, 2007 at 10:53 am

Hi Connie. That’s a very nice technique for moving the pizza. I’ve added it to the Notes above. Thanks much!

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Connie Dove August 23, 2007 at 10:21 am

Hi, Eric. Was thrilled to see your pizza videos – we’ve been doing alot of pizzas with “your” happy starter here this summer and have sampled a dozen sourdough pizza recipes. Mine is similar to yours – I also add a tbsp of honey. I also learned the hard way that moving a loose dough and it’s toppings to the stone can be difficult if one (like me) makes several ahead of time to cook when company arrives. Since I do not have a handydandy peel, I 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!

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Ann Timms August 22, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Hi Eric, thanks for the new videos which are great, and amusing – love the ending. Of course I HAD to try the pizza immediately so I invited the family for dinner tonight. This was a bit nervy of me as they make pizza all the time. I made the dough yesterday and put it in the frig as you suggested. I have my own frig back and it seems to be running very cold and I thought I had ruined the dough – it looked as though it had developed a skin despite the oil and plastic bags. I let it warm up this afternoon and kneaded it again until it was smooth and soft, then let it proof again. Have to say it was the best pizza I have ever made – and there wasn’t a single slice left from two 14″ pizzas. I don’t have a peel so I proofed each one on parchment with cornmeal and used the back of a cookie sheet to slide them onto the hot stone. Now I am hoping to persuade my son to make me a peel – maybe I will trade some batches of the good dough for one. Thanks again, Ann

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breadtopia August 22, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Thanks, Rod. That’s a good idea when the dough takes longer to bake than the toppings take to get just right. And that’s more likely to be the case when the dough is thick and/or wet.

The dough in the above recipe is a bit dry and I roll the crust pretty thin so they finish at about the same time. At least that’s the idea. But it’s good to know about this option as a way to adjust when necessary. If there’s other reasons they do it that way, I’m not aware of them.

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rod August 22, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Love the new video’s, esp the ending. Do you have any thoughts on the Cooking Light method , where they actually bake the pizza bread for a few minutes before placing the toppings on & in the oven?

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breadtopia August 22, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Good call on the semolina flour. I added your suggestion to the “Notes” above. Thanks.

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Ed August 22, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Eric,
Text looks great. Tried the video with MSFT Explorer and it hung up in the same spot. Then tried with Mozilla and it ran perfectly. Next ran the video on my wifes machine using Explorer and it worked fine.
So, it’s some combination of my computer and Explorer.
Thanks
Ed
PS – Try a little semolina flour in your pizza next time. It makes the crust a bit chewy and gives it a nutty flavor.

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breadtopia August 22, 2007 at 6:02 am

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the heads up on the jibberish. Fixed that.

As for the video freezing, I’m not having that problem. Could it just be buffering and you need to give it more time to download? If that’s not it, could you try again today and let me know if it’s still happening?

Eric

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Ed Pillitteri August 21, 2007 at 10:41 pm

Hi Eric,
I’m looking forward to viewing your new Pizza video but I get about 1 minute into it and it freezes. Also, the text in the middle of the page is jibberish.
Thanks
Ed

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