Introduction: Perfect Pizza Dough Recipe

Pizza is one of the simplest dishes you can make as a home baker. After you learn how to make this SUPER tasty sourdough pizza crust you'll never get store-bought dough again. This pizza crust recipe uses type 00 flour, the finest grind of flour capable of being produced by the flour mill. Type 00 flour also yields a crispier pizza crust with a better ability to stand up to heavy working, you know, like being thrown around in the air!

This is a dough that yields two large pizzas, or four mini-doughs for personal pan pizzas. Making mini-doughs is great for beginners, so you can get a feel for working with the texture of the dough, and go big the next time you work with this recipe.

If you are completely new to bread making, check out my Bread Class.

Follow along for the tastiest bake of all, and enjoy dazzling your friends with this slightly sour and ever-so-slightly-salty homemade pizza crust.

Step 1: Tools & Ingredients

To follow along with this lesson, you will need the following.

Tools

Ingredients

  • 100 grams fully risen sourdough starter (prepare this a day ahead of time)
  • 375 grams water, divided into 325 and 50-gram amounts - 80-82 degrees
  • 450 grams white flour or type 00 pizza flour
  • 75 grams whole wheat flour
  • 10-12 grams salt
  • Pizza toppings! You choose!

If you don't want a sourdough pizza, or if you need to prepare doughs more quickly, you can use a half-packet of instant yeast instead - that's a slightly heaping teaspoon. You will have to make up for the water and flour of the starter as well by adding an additional 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water to the recipe. When mixing, add the instant yeast to your dry ingredients and add 425 grams of very warm water (115-125 degrees Farenheight) to activate.

Alternatively, you can prepare the same dough recipe from my Sourdough Instructable, and skip ahead to the dividing step in this Instructable. All very delicious options!

Step 2: Prepare Leaven

You can prepare starter leaven from a dormant starter in the fridge, or grow your current room temperature starter to 100 grams (plus a little extra to perpetuate your starter after you draw from it). If you have 100 grams of starter ready to be used, skip this step and head to the bulk ingredient mix.

Even if I am keeping my starter in the fridge, I feed it pretty regularly. Once I observe that it has doubled in size in the fridge, I will feed it again to keep it semi-active, and never at risk of getting too acidic even at cold temperatures.

With a mature sourdough starter at its maximum rise height, draw one tablespoon (about 15 grams) of your starter into a dish and mix with 50 grams of room temperature water. Add 50 grams of your half & half starter feed (25 grams whole wheat flour and 25 grams of white bread flour). Mix until you have a loose oatmealy looking consistency.

Cover the bowl and wait overnight. You know the starter is ready when it has a good network of bubbles developed, has reached it's max rise and is ever-so-slightly beginning to deflate. I like to make starters in clear bowls or jars so that we can see the fermentation development without having to poke or prod the starter.

Leaven is ready when it has doubled in size, bubbly and active in appearance. If you want a more sour dough, let this sit for a bit longer. This leaven is really where your flavor is developed so if you like a sweeter more buttery flavored dough 8 hours is the right amount of rise time, but you could probably extend as far as twelve hours to develop a tangier crust.

Step 3: Bulk Mix

In a bowl, measure out 325 grams of 75-78 degree water (115-125 degree water if using instant yeast), then add the pre-fermented sourdough starter, or leaven, and break it apart with your hands.

Weigh out your white flour or type 00 pizza flour as well as your whole wheat flour, whisk flours together before adding to your wet mix.

Incorporate flours into the leaven mixture and massage ingredients together in the bowl until you have a sloggy mix.The dough should stick to your hands, but slide off easily with the help of a dough scraper. Bench rest the leaven and flour for 30-45 minutes.

After the mixture has rested in the bowl, the flour has had time to fully hydrate, add additional 50 grams of water, as well as 10 grams of salt. Incorporate completely, squeezing the dough and soaking up the water, working the water into the dough by pressing the dough into your palms. Allow to bench rest in the bowl for 25 minutes.

Step 4: Bulk Ferment

For this dough, complete three stretch-and-fold turns, the same in-bowl kneading technique covered in the sourdough Instructable. Perform the turns every 20 minutes. We allow less time than we did for the sourdough bread in between these folds since the type 00 grind of the flour hydrates more quickly, and we have a narrower time frame to arrange a robust gluten network. If your kitchen is cooler than 72 degrees, put your dough on top of your fridge or in a cool oven with the light on to allow the dough to rise.


Before beginning first stretch-and-fold.


Taught dough after the first turn.


Before beginning second stretch-and-fold.


Taught dough after the second turn.

Fully doubled dough after all stretch and folds were completed.

Allow the dough to double in size, this will largely depend on the ambient temperature of your kitchen - ideally, the dough will have another 2 hours for its bulk ferment after you have completed the turns, but warmer kitchens will yield faster rise time. If ever my kitchen gets above 78 degrees, I move my rising dough into a cool cupboard.

Step 5: Divide and Preform

Turn the dough out onto the bench and divide it into two or four parts. Remember from our sourdough Instructable, a quick way to get the weight of your dough is to measure the weight of the dough in its bowl, tare the scale, turn out the dough, and weigh the bowl again. The negative integer displayed on the scale is the weight of the dough.

My dough ended up weighing 990 grams after bulk fermentation (20 grams of moisture escaped!), thusly broke it into sizes ranging from 245 to 255 grams.

Pre-form each dough into a ball. Do this by gently flouring a surface and pulling in your edges, gently squeezing the dough to get it to stick together. Let the dough rest on its seam atop a cutting board under a bowl or damp towel for 15 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes.

Step 6: Store for Later

Unless you are going to cook all four mini-doughs right now, you probably are going to want to save some for later. Pizza dough stands up well to refrigeration and freezing, and saving pizza dough for later consumption is a cinch.

First, spray a plastic food container with cooking spray, or olive oil works great so that the dough releases easily from the container later.

Using the bench scraper, flip a bench-rested dough into the food container seam side up. Spray the top of the dough seam with a little bit more oil.

Refrigerate for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 3 months! Before you use your dough from the freezer, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Before you shape your dough from the fridge, allow the dough to rest on the counter until the dough is at least 60 degrees. Working a colder dough is challenging, it is more likely to break and shrink.

Step 7: Form

Preheat your oven to as high as it goes with a pizza stone in it. My old-school Westwood oven goes to 550 degrees F, although it takes a while to get there. If you don't have a pizza stone or baking stone, you can use the bottom of the cast iron combination cooker.

Back on the countertop, dust a pizza peel with rice flour, then cornmeal. Flour the top of the dough ball, give it a quick but firm pat, then flip it flour side down onto the pizza peel.

Lightly flour the top and push a small circle around the edge with your fingers. By doing this, we create a gas barrier between the inside and the future outer crust of the pizza. The gluten network is being squished together trapping air in an outer ring of the crust, as well as the middle.

Allow to rest for just a minute or so, then begin to stretch your dough. I really like working the dough on my two fists gently stretching it wider and wider in diameter. The motion of shaping a pizza round can be easy to master if you can keep in mind that you have to let gravity do the work. When your fists are under the dough, don't move them around until you notice the center and edges of your dough beginning to slouch down.

Step 8: Add the Toppings and Cook

This is when you get to be super creative with your pizza. My favorite combination is to use vegan garlic dip as a sauce, lots of tomatoes, basil, and arugula! Careful not to overload your pizza or over do it with wet ingredients, it may be hard to get off your peel if it is too weighted down.

Using the pizza peel, slide the pizza into the oven onto the baking surface. If your pizza is sticking to the peel, carefully lift the dough up and put more cornmeal and rice flour on the wooden part, and jostle it around till it can slide free. If cooking on a cast iron pan, turn the pan over so you are using the bottom of the pan because it has a broader surface. Depending on your oven, the pizza will take anywhere from 6-12 minutes to cook, so keep an eye on it.

When the pizza is golden brown, slide it out of the oven with the pizza peel and transfer it onto a cooling rack for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is no longer the temperature of molten lava.

Step 9: Cut and Serve

Every time I make this dough for pizzas, I can barely get through dividing the pie before all the slices are gone! Be sure to stash a slice for yourself before your 'loved ones' leave you slice-less. But really, this pizza is delicious with any topping. You can stretch it thin for a crispy crust or leave it thick for a chewier crust, it's always fool-proof delicious.

Play around with sauce and topping combinations. We even tried a fruit pizza with maple syrup, thinly sliced apples, and ginger.

That's a wrap on pizzas!

For more delicious bread recipes, check out this collection, and if you're completely new to the world breadmaking and the wonder of gluten, be sure to enroll in my Bread Class!

Comments

author
HollyHarken (author)2017-06-12

I have found that pre-baking my pizza crusts helps keep it from getting soggy. I par bake my crusts at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and let them cool to room temperature. I use the bit 2.5 gallon zip bags to store my crusts in the freezer. when I want to make a homemade pizza, I simply pull out a frozen crust and add my ingredients. By the time I'm ready to bake it, the crust has thawed.

author

That's a really good idea! I never thought about doing it that way. Are you using a pizza stone?

author

Yes. I leave it in my oven all of the time. It helps keep my oven at an even temperature.

author
neddy1 (author)2017-06-13

Don't mean to nitpick, but that isn't really how baker's percentages work. Maybe it's a typo, but i couldn't validate them or source the error. Baker's percentages are based on the main ingredient by weight (almost always flour) being equivalent to 100%,and the quantity of every other ingredient expressed as a percentage of that weight.

In this case, 450g flour =100%, so the percentage of water would be 350g/450g=0.7777, or 78%.

This is useful because you can scale up or down to almost any conceivable constraint - the size of your mixing bowl, the ingredient you expect to run out first, how many pans you need filled - using a 4-function calculator. Checking the work is just as easy.

You probably know all this already, and I applaud you for listing the baker's percentages - I'm sure you just migrated the contents of a cell without changing the associated formula, or something. It's just so useful and so rarely included (and for such a great recipe, too!) that I didn't want someone being confused over it.

author
neddy1 (author)neddy12017-06-14

I just realized that the table says 375g water, not 350g, so that would be 83%.

I truly empathize. Great instructable!

author
audreyobscura (author)neddy12017-06-15

I explain Bakers Percentages in my Bread Class. Thanks for all the praise :D

author
jsollien (author)2017-06-11

Made me want to eat my computer! Do you find the dough to preform better if you let it rest overnight in the fridge?

author
spark master (author)jsollien2017-06-12

Proper Pizza dough , (I helped make in a NYC Pizzeria, by an actual Eyetalin, not me , I am "Americanna"), is flour water salt yeast and a touch of oil, mixed rested cut scaled and refrigerated a minimum of 8 hours better is over night for over 24 hours at 40 degrees, (the setting on our retarder, the kneecap fridge under the marble counter top where the magic was made). Any less then 8 hours you risk huge bubbles, which are not wanted as they skew the cheese and can get on the oven floor, a friggen mess! I will never take a piece with a bubble as all the sauce and cheese runs off the bubble.

The thinner you want it the more water is needed in the dough with lots of aging and glueten relaxation. And have cold work surface and work fast.A pizza screen is not a fail to be used by non pro's. It achieve a nice bottom crust for some.

I hope that helps. I do use bread flour or enrich it with glueten, but In Italy they do not have that and the pizza , I am told, is great. My Great Granny , born in Sicialy, used whatever she had, which was always AP not cake or bread flour.

And plain old yeast, did she use live yeast, sure because that is what was available. If you want an interesting experiment use plain yeast . Take half the water and flour and all the salt mix into a dough, mix the other half of ingrediants in bowl. Cover both loosely overnight warm room temperature. Next day make the dough like you are mixing a two part epoxy. I do this when I want a sourish dough w/o a sourdough source., which is always, and I am making a high percent whole wheat or rye/pump. You get 1 good rise with rye, (if high precentage), so by making 1/2 a saur (sour), you get taste, and rise. I also do it for Pain Di Mie a la Julia Child, (well that, and more butter then she asks for.OMG)

ciao

author

I've let this dough recipe go as long as 36 hours in the fridge! It had the best flavor but didn't stretch as well. It hadn't over proofed, but it perhaps almost did.

Experimentation is fun with this dough, and you always end up with pizza after :D

author
MillerI (author)2017-06-11

I think this recipe is pretty good, if you like a sourdough crust. I am a purist and like my dough simple. I also like my pizza Napolitano style; very thin and a little charred. The bitterness balances the sweetness of the sauces.

Also, when putting out your crust, use coarse semolina on the peel and your dough won't stick to the wooden peel and won't get over-floured and "powdery".

author
audreyobscura (author)MillerI2017-06-13

I figured out a mix of 60/40 rice flour/cornmeal is the best non-stick for the peel. The rice flour helps absorb excess moisture on the peel without bonding to the gluten of the wheat flour and the cornmeal acts as like a roller to help get the pizza on to the stone :D

You should post your pizza recipe to Instructables, I'm always looking to try new recipes. Any reason to eat pizza!

author
Wild-Bill made it! (author)2017-06-11

This is a master class in pizza making. This does not convey the idea that Pizza is dead easy to make. I do like pizza made with 00 flour as the texture is quit a bit different, then when it is made from bread flour, but it is hard to come by. When I find some in the big city, I will give your recipe/method a try.
I am a "thin cruster" myself. For me it is a quick and easy meal. I do it a lot for house guest - I host on Couchsurfing and WarmShowers. I cheat. I use bread flour. I use instant yeast. I use tap hot water. I add garlic powder (well it is not powder as it is kind of courser) to the mix to make the crust tasty. Flour to pizza less that 2 hours. I cook on field tiles (unglazed tile - they are super cheap as opposed to pizza stone and when not in use they don't take up any space in your cupboard). My pizza peel is made from a scrape of 1/4" plywood treated with bees wax which I made on a cool and snowy night so I could cook pizzas in my wood heater (it has a small oven on top) and my wooden cutting board (which I had been using as a peel up until then) was too big fit. The recipe that I started came from the Joy of Cooking recipe, but now I accurately measure nothing and do it by feel aiming for a soft dough that is easily shaped by hand.

haggis 3 cheese pizza.jpg
author
flattail made it! (author)2017-05-27

Thanks so much! I made it tonight and it was delicious!

image.jpeg

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