Kitchn Love Letters

This Foolproof Pizza Dough Has Never Let Me Down

published Jun 29, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
pizza dough being rolled out on a pizza spoon
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

This piece is part of our Outdoor Pizza Party series. Read all of the stories — including a test drive and plenty of recipes — here.

Like many people, pizza has a special place in my heart. There’s the Chef Boyardee pizza kit days of my childhood, and the Book-It personal pan pizzas that I earned in elementary school. And, more recently, I knew the guy I was on a first date with might be something special when he revealed that he built his own wood-fired pizza oven in his backyard. Seven years of marriage and one kiddo later, I’m still impressed by that fact.

And while I’m of the opinion that pretty much any pizza is good pizza because it’s pizza, I will admit that a truly superior pie starts with a delicious crust. I’ve used my share of the refrigerated dough balls from the grocery store, which are tasty and super convenient, but when I want to level up my ‘za, I go for homemade dough.

During quarantine, my husband and I started really dialing in our pizza program, much to our 6-year-old son’s delight. For a while, Friday night was homemade pizza night, which meant that we had to get our dough going on Thursday. I wasn’t always organized enough to pull that off, which led to me looking around for more procrastinator-friendly options. And that’s when I stumbled upon the I Want Pizza Tonight Dough recipe.

This gem of a recipe comes from the team at Baking Steel, that metal slab that you stick in your oven and use as you would a pizza stone. We’ve had one for years and have had great luck cooking on it, so I trusted that they knew their way around a pizza dough recipe.

Credit: Nina Elder

Just a Little Extra Time Gives You a Great Pizza Dough

And did they ever! This dough has just the right amount of salt to bump up the flavor without tasting overly salty, and it cooks up like a dream: big, puffy bubbles, with those lovely black spots on the sides and bottom of the pie (Pizza People call that leoparding, which has always charmed me). I’ve also found this recipe to be quite forgiving. I’ve made it in all seasons in multiple kitchens and in the regular oven and an outdoor pizza oven, and have had good results every time.

The total rise time for the dough is about three-and-a-half hours (the exact time depends on how warm you kitchen is), so there is some planning involved here. I find if I get my act together between noon and 1, I can have the dough ready by dinnertime. The majority of that time is hands-off, though. You just mix the dough together, let it rest for 30 minutes, knead it a bit, let it rise for two hours, portion it, then let it rise for about an hour.

During the last rise, get your toppings ready to go and heat up your oven, or your portable pizza oven, which is what I use this dough for all summer long.

If You Make the “I Want Pizza Tonight Dough,” a Few Tips

  • Consider using a kitchen scale. For the best results, and to make it easy to replicate those results, weighing your ingredients on a kitchen scale is the way to go. Can you measure out the flour, salt, yeast, and water with measuring cups and spoons? Sure thing! I will say that once you do it on a kitchen scale, though, you may be forever changed.
  • It’s going to seem like too much salt. The recipe is pretty generous with the salt, but I’ve never found the dough to be too salty — just well-seasoned.
  • Don’t be shy with the flour. The finished dough is pliable and slightly sticky, so don’t be shy about using a little more flour than you think you should when shaping the pies. You can always brush off any excess.
  • Use whatever flour you have on hand. The recipe calls for bread flour, but says that you can use any combo of flour. I’ve used both all-purpose flour and bread flour, and both work well.
Credit: Nina Elder

Have you tried this dough before? What’s your go-to pizza dough recipe? Let us know in the comments!