Homemade Pizza Dough (basic homemade pizza series: lesson 1)
If you love pizza (and who doesn’t, really), making it at home is an essential skill. And I’m here to teach you a fool-proof homemade pizza dough recipe and how to cook it to get that perfect, crispy, charred, blistered crust that’ll rival any pizza you’ve paid big bucks for.
This is the first of a 3 part series I’m going to be doing to show you how we do Friday pizza night at our house.By Friday you’re going to be armed with my three essentials: dough, sauce, and homemade mozzarella. There are as many preferences on pizza as there are people, so many toppings, so many sauces, so many different shapes, textures, thickness of crust. And we do vary it occasionally. But we always longingly come back to our household staple of a thin, crisp, lean crust, tomato sauce, and drippy blistered fresh mozzarella. Oh, and in the Summer we load it with fresh basil from the garden. I need Summer right now!
But seriously, this crust is so crisp, it sticks straight out when you hold a slice. There’s no drooping or bending. But it’s also not dry and brittle like a cracker. And all you need are a few easy-to-achieve tricks.
The dough itself if quite simple. And honestly, you almost can’t mess it up. It takes 4 simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, & yeast. Yup, that’s it. You dump into a bowl, stir until it’s a cohesive mass, let it rise for 2 hours, and then stick it in the fridge for up to 5 days until you’re ready to use it. In fact, it’s a little easier to handle when it’s cold, so I recommend it for the first few tries.
I feel like there are 2 camps of pizza dough makers. The rolling pin people and the stretch and toss people. I personally prefer to dimple my little round ball of dough until I have a relatively even little disc of dough, then I start stretching the dough by holding it in the middle with one hand and pulling away from myself with the other. Once the dough is thin and the diameter is large enough, I start to pick it up and throw it in the air while spinning. This isn’t just to show off (though I do feel pretty awesome every time I do it successfully), there’s science to it. The centrifugal force actually stretches the dough evenly and creates a nice, thin crust with just enough of a rim around the edge for easy holding. But whichever camp you’re in, rolling or tossing, this crust is for you. It’s very forgiving, easy to work with, and makes really delicious pizza.
Are you ready for an epic pizza night?
- 3.25 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1.5 cups lukewarm water
- cornmeal and flour for dusting a pizza peel (or wood cutting board)
- 1~1.5 cups pizza sauce, preferably homemade
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella
- fresh basil
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a dough whisk or a sturdy wooden spoon, stir until no wet or dry streaks remain. You may need to add more water, one tablespoon at a time, if it's too dry. You can use a stand mixer for this but it's not necessary. Cover loosely and let rise on the counter for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. At this point you can use it immediately or refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- Place the oven rack with a baking stone on it to the highest position*. Preheat the oven to your hottest setting without turning on the broiler. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape each into a tight little ball. Take one ball and stretch and flatten it into a little disc.
- Place the disc flat on a clean work surface and hold it in the middle with one hand and gently pull the farthest edge of the dough away from you with the other hand. Rotate the disc about and eighth of a turn and keep repeating until the dough is about 8 inches in diameter.
- At this point you can either throw it in the air while spinning and carefully catching it underneath with fists, or use a rolling pin on your work surface to get it to about a 12 inch circle.
- Prepare a pizza peel with a light dusting of flour and or cornmeal**. Place your stretched dough onto the prepared pizza peel. Spread a generous 1/4 cup of sauce evenly on the surface of your dough. Get about 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella and tear medium sized pieces and place them evenly on your pizza. Open the oven door and slide your pizza off of the pizza peel directly onto the stone. Depending on how hot your oven gets, bake for anywhere from 8 to 17 minutes. Once the crust is a little charred and the cheese is browned and blistered, you can take it out by quickly sliding your pizza peel al the way under your pizza. Let cool slightly on a cooling rack. Top with torn pieces of fresh basil and serve.
- *If you don't have a baking stone, an upside down metal baking sheet will work as a substitute.
- **I prefer to use a little bit of both flour and cornmeal sort of as insurance that I don't get any sticking, but experiment with what works best for you. If you do get any sticking, gently pry the dough off of the peel with a pastry scraper or your fingers, and toss some cornmeal underneath.
- Homemade Pizza Sauce (basic homemade pizza series lesson:2) - Scratch Eats - […] that you know how to make the perfect pizza dough, it’s time to tackle the sauce. My homemade pizza…