How To Make Pizza Dough

How To Make Pizza Dough

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Emma Christensen
Jul 8, 2015
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

We here at The Kitchn are pretty passionate about our pizza. This recipe for everyday pizza dough is one we’ve all worked on together over the years, tweaking something here and adding something there, until finally coming to a consensus. That makes it sound like this recipe might be tricky — it’s not. In fact, keeping it simple was one of our biggest requirements.

This is the dough for your weeknight pizza, and it's the one that went into The Kitchn Cookbook. It’s easy to make, either over a lazy afternoon at home or to stash in your fridge for later, and it’s super easy to roll out. Top it with sauce and cheese, bake until bubbly, and awesome homemade pizza is yours.

Watch the video!

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Water, Yeast, Flour, Salt

We stuck to the true basics with this dough: just water, yeast, flour, and salt. We played with water-to-flour ratios, with adding some olive oil, with the type of flour — all of which were delicious experiments, I assure you — but when it came to just your basic, dependable, everyday dough, this was it. Our recipe here makes about one pound of dough (the same as most store-bought doughs), and this will make you one large pizza or two smaller 10-inch pizzas.

If you’re feeding a larger crowd or just want extra dough for future pizza dinners, you can double or triple the basic ingredients — the recipe scales up just fine.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Make Now, Eat Later

You have a few choices with this pizza dough: You can make the dough and let it rise for an hour or so, then proceed with making your pizzas right away, or you can make the dough whenever you have a spare 10 minutes and keep it in the fridge until you need it (up to three days or so). You can even freeze balls of dough for pizza emergencies.

We actually like this dough best if you have time to let it chill in the fridge for a day or two. The slow, cool rising time helps to develop the flavors in the dough and gives the crust a better texture.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Bake Your Pizza

When it comes time to actually bake your pizza, our advice is a hot oven and keep the toppings basic. Get your oven as hot as it will go — at least 500°F, although preferably hotter. This cooks the pizza quickly, giving it a beautiful golden crust that's super crispy on the outside but still chewy in the middle. The more toppings you add, the more it slows the cooking down, making the pizza limp and soggy, so try to limit your pizza enthusiasm to just a few scattered toppings and some good cheese.

Some basic pizza-baking instructions are below. For the full-length instructions, check out this post:

Get the full pizza-baking tutorial!

How To Make Really Good Pizza at Home

Any other pizza tips to offer? Feelings that need expressing? Questions that need asking? Let's jump into it in the comments!

Water, yeast, flour, and salt to make pizza dough.

How To Make Pizza Dough

Makes 1 pound of dough (enough for 2 10-inch pizzas)

What You Need

Ingredients
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water (not hot)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Equipment
Stand mixer with dough hook attachment, or medium mixing bowl and muscle power
Stiff spatula
Plastic wrap or other covering for the bowl

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water: Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium-sized mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let stand until the yeast has dissolved.
  2. Stir in the flour and salt to form a shaggy dough: Add all of the flour and salt to the bowl with the water and yeast. Stir with a stiff spatula until you’ve formed a floury, shaggy dough.
  3. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes: Using the dough hook on a stand mixer, or kneading by hand against the counter, knead the dough until it forms a smooth, slightly tacky ball that springs back when you poke it, 5 to 8 minutes. If the dough sticks to the bowl or your hands like bubblegum, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it’s easier to work with; avoid adding too much flour if possible.
  4. Option 1 — Use the dough right away: If you're in a hurry, skip the rise and make the pizza right now. It will make a thin-crusted pizza with a cracker-like flavor.
  5. Option 2 — Let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours: If you're planning to make pizza today, then give the dough a rise. Clean out the mixing bowl, film it with a little oil, and transfer the dough back inside. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Option 3 — Store the dough in the fridge: If you're planning to make pizza in the next few days, cover the bowl and store it in the fridge. If you have time, let it rise for about a half an hour before you put it in the fridge to get things going, but it will also be find if you need to store it right away.
  7. Prepare the oven for baking: If your dough has been in the fridge, take it out and let it warm on the counter while the oven heats. Heat the oven as hot as it will go, or at least 500°F; put a baking stone or upside-down, heavy sheet pan in the bottom third of the oven.
  8. Prepare the pizzas: Divide the dough in half, and pat or roll one of the pieces into a 10-inch round. Transfer the round of dough to a floured baking peel, the back of a sheet pan, or a piece of parchment paper. Top with about 1/4 cup of sauce, some cheese and any other toppings.
  9. Bake the pizza for 5 to 10 minutes: Slide the pizza into the oven on top of the baking stone or upside-down sheet pan. Bake until the cheese is melted, the crust golden, and you see a some charred bits on the top and edges. Baking time will vary depending on the heat of your oven and how thick or thin you rolled your pizza.
  10. Cool (briefly!) and eat: Let your pizza cool just enough so it won't burn your mouth when you take a bite. Meanwhile, top your other round of dough and get it baking.

Recipe Notes

  • Freezing pizza dough: Your pizza dough can also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw it in the fridge for at least 12 hours before you plan to bake it. Get the full instructions here: How To Freeze Pizza Dough.
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