Introduction: Homemade Pizza & Calzone Dough - Leo's Kitchen

Hello Family & Friends!

Thank you for stopping by Leo's Kitchen at Casa Dei Cuccioli. Today we'll be making an excellent dough that you can make in your own kitchen for delicious pizza, calzone, stromboli or whatever your favorite pizza-like food is. It really is not difficult but your family and friends will think that you worked your fingers to the bone and they will beg you for more.

When I was growing up, my father would make a homemade pizza that was so tasty. My friends loved coming over and devouring his homemade pizza and my father loved it when they would as well. He just loved to see family and friends enjoy his cooking. I helped with dough preparation but, like with many things, I didn't get a recipe. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was 21 years old and his recipes went with him. So, I did a little research and had to come up with something that I liked.

The first good recipe that I came up with, my friends and family would say it was "the best I've ever eaten" to which I would always say "Uh huh! I'm sure that it isn't the BEST you've ever eaten!" But, even though it was a pretty tasty dough, it never did it for me. I'm originally from New York so that is my very favorite pizza. I tweaked here and there and kept researching.

Here is the dough that I make now. I hope you like it as much as we do. My wife and I enjoy cooking together so we thought it would be fun to create an Instructable. Let's get started!

Step 1: Ingredients & Tools


  • 5 cups Flour (Tipo 00 Flour, All Trumps Flour or Bread Flour)
  • 2 cups Warm Water
  • 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbls Sugar
  • 1 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp Salt


  • Stand Mixer with Dough Hook (or your strong hands)
  • Scale
  • Measuring Spoons & Cup
  • Large Bowl (if eating today)
  • Medium Bowls with Lids (if eating in the next few days)
  • Pizza Screen or Pizza Pan or Stone
  • Pizza Cutter

Step 2: Proofing the Yeast

This step many would say is not necessary but I like to do it. One, it shows you if your yeast is good and two, I believe you get a little more yeasty flavor from the dough.

Measure out 2 cups of water that is between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a little of your sugar and 2 teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast (or a packet of yeast if that is what you have. It is 2.5 teaspoons but that is fine.) Set this aside for a few minutes until the yeast is nice a foamy.

Step 3: Combine the Ingredients and Let It Rest

In the stand mixer's bowl, add all the ingredients and gently combine everything together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Never fear! You are going to look at it and say "This guy's crazy! It's way too dry to make dough." Well, I think the very same thing every time I make dough but trust me on this. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and just let it rest for about 20 minutes or so.

Step 4: Kneading the Dough

Now that you let it rest, here is somewhat what it will look like before you do the kneading.

Kneading With Stand Mixer:

If you are using a stand mixer, return the mixing bowl to the mixer and attach the dough hook. Run the mixer on a low to medium speed and allow it to knead the dough for 10 minutes or so. The dough will come together into a nice, smooth dough ball. If it seems to be too wet and is mushy, add a little more flour about a tablespoon at a time until you get at nice dough ball. If it appears dry and cracked, add a little more water about a tablespoon at a time. It usually comes out perfectly but today, it is very humid and it was just a bit too mushy so I had to add a little more flour to get it right.

Kneading By Hand:

If you are old school or you don't have a stand mixer, you can go at this with your bare hands. Dust a sturdy, clean surface with a little flour, remove the dough from the bowl onto your floured surface and proceed to knead the dough. Push down into the dough with the heel of your hands pushing away from you. Fold the dough in half, turn it a quarter turn and push down again. Continue to do this for 10 minutes or so until you get a nicely formed dough ball.

Once you have your nice dough ball, let it rest a few minutes.

Step 5: Dough Balls

Now you should have one dough ball that is approximately 48 ounces. If you are planning to use the dough today and just want to let the dough rise as one big ball, you can just skip the next couple of paragraphs and move on to the Rising section. However, I do personally like to make individual dough balls so that it is the size I want when I start shaping the dough into what I am planning to make so you might want to continue to read here to make individual dough balls.

What we need to do now is make separate dough balls the appropriate size depending upon what you plan to make and if you plan to eat it today or if you want to allow it so slow rise in the refrigerator to use within the next 5 days or so.

If you have a scale, measure you dough ball to figure out how many individual balls you can make. Usually we like to make large pizzas so with this recipe, you should be able to get three dough balls approximately 16 ounces each. When we want individual pizzas or calzones, we make the dough balls 6 to 8 ounces each. You decide what will work for you.

With a knife, cut a piece of the dough and place it on the scale. Continue to add or remove dough until you get the amount of dough that you want. Remove the dough from the scale and create the dough ball by kneading it in your hands. See the pictures for forming the dough ball.

Step 6: Rising (For Today Vs. Later Date)

Depending upon whether you are planning to eat it today or a later date, we still need to let the dough rise. If you are eating today, let it rise for about 4 hours covered in a warm place. It will be delicious! But if you want to let it slow rise and eat it within the next 5 days or so, we will let it rise in individual bowls in the refrigerator. One of the beautiful things about the slow rise is that you end up with a lot more flavor from the yeast. It is wonderful!!

Rising For Today

Simply take a large bowl for each dough ball you will use today, add about a tablespoon of Olive Oil, spread the oil all around the inside of the bowl, place the dough into the bowl turning it around to coat it with the oil, cover it with a towel and place it in a warm, draft free place.

Eat Another Day

If you are preparing ahead for another day, it is essentially the same except use plastic bowls with lids and place them in the refrigerator. Add about a tablespoon of oil and coat the bowl and the lid. Place each dough ball into a bowl and turn it to coat it with the oil. Secure the lid and place the bowls into the refrigerator for at least a day or two.

Step 7: Shaping Your Desired Crust and Dressing It

If you refrigerated the dough balls, remove them from the refrigerator 2 to 3 hours before you are ready to start making your pizzas. The dough needs to be warm and workable.

When you are ready start preparing your pizzas, calzones or whatever, preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dust the surface where you will prepare your pizzas or whatever you choose to make with a little bit of flour to keep it from sticking. Since I have not mastered the art of tossing the dough (I can't seem to get myself to do it because I only have 3 dough balls and if I drop one, that would be a sad state of affairs), I do something like it on my table where I am shaping my crust. To do it, I simply use both hands and push in opposite directions while turning the dough. This is similar to tossing it. Then I like to pick it up, drape it over my knuckles and gently stretch the dough to get the size crust that I want.

Note: I NEVER use a rolling pin!! You do not want to completely eliminate the air bubbles so just do it with your hands like the pictures.

If you don't have a pizza stone or a fancy wood burning stone oven, you will likely use either a pizza screen or a pan. If that is the case, give your pan a very light spray of cooking spray and place your newly stretched dough onto it.

If you happen to have pizza stone or some sort of stone oven, you will want to prepare your pizza on a pizza peel which is a large wooden or metal spatula, if you will. Before placing the stretched dough on the peel, dust it with the bread flour, semolina flour or corn meal. This will allow you to prepare your pizza without it sticking to the peel. Place the dough onto the peel and give the peel a quick shake back and forth to make sure it moves freely.

Now you are ready to dress your pizza with your favorite toppings. There are unlimited possibilities and it is totally up to you. Add your sauce and your toppings and place it in the oven. If you prepared the pizza on the peel, be sure that you give peel a shake every topping or so just to be sure that the dough still moves freely or you will learn the meaning of frustration when you try to get your beautifully dressed dough off of the peel. When you are ready to put it onto your stone, give the peel one last shake, put the peel close to the back of the stone and give it a small, quick jerk just to get the dough's edge to stone. Once it is moving and you feel you have it moving in the correct direction, just angle the peel more and pull it out from the dough. Voila!! You did it!

Step 8: Baking Your Masterpiece

You want to bake your item on a high heat. In a good stone oven, it might be upwards of a thousand degrees Fahrenheit but we certainly can't get anywhere near that hot in our home ovens so close to 500 degrees will do a nice job. The hotter the oven, the more often you should check it. Let it cook for about 4 minutes or so and check it. When the crust starts to brown and looks like it is not doughy, slide the peel under the crust and turn it a quarter turn so that it can cook evenly. Continue to do this until the dough is a golden brown and your toppings are cooked to your liking.

Remove the pizza from the oven and place it on a pizza serving pan. Elevate the pan on a cooling rack or some vegetable cans and let it cool for a few minutes.

Step 9: Mangia!!

Now for the moment we have all been waiting for. Take out your favorite pizza cutter, knife, scissors or whatever you want to use to cut your masterpiece, serve it up and, as my dad would say, Mangia!!

I hope that this recipe turns out to be one of your favorites. If not, I hope you learned a few tricks and tips for pizza making. Either way, take care and thank you for joining us in Leo's Kitchen at Casa Dei Cuccioli.


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