Everyone has their own pizza dough recipe and everyone will claim their recipe is best. All the pizza recipes are generally the same. Flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water and oil. That is the basic recipe people have used for years, factoring in different measurements for those ingredients. Some people add other ingredients like cornmeal, milk powder, yogurt etc. If you are reading this I assume you are looking to learn about pizza doughs and are in search of your own secret recipe for a pizza dough. So what is the secret to a good homemade pizza dough?
What is the secret to a good pizza dough ?
Before we can answer the question you have to ask yourself, what kind of pizza dough am I looking to cook? Do you like a thin crust, crispy crust, chewy crust etc. I think as long as you know what kind of pizza dough you are looking for you are half way to perfecting your recipe. Secondarily understanding what ingredients contribute to the different characteristics in a pizza dough is crucial. Different types of flours contribute to texture of the dough. The amount of protein in the flour affects the way gluten is formed when making your pizza dough. So more protein equals more gluten. Bread flour has 11-13% protein and all purpose flour has 9-12% protein and 00 flour has 8-11% protein.
According to Jeff Varasano protein and type of mill are the most important factors in picking a flour. He also states kneading is one of the most important steps. Suggesting autolyse which is a technique where the flour and water in a pizza dough recipe are combined and mixed to the point of no dry flour remaining. This step starts the gluten development process and adds to a smoother and more elastic dough. Bakery bits has an in depth explanation of autlyse. I think taking a basic pizza dough recipe and experimenting with different flour and techniques is a good way to start in achieving pizza dough mastery.
How do you make pizza dough from scratch ?
Basic Pizza Dough Recipe
This is a basic recipe for pizza dough. Use it as a starting point to experiment with different flours and techniques.
Servings: 2 Pizza Dough
- 3-4 cups flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1-1.5 cup water
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
Put all the ingredients in a mixer like the Kitchen Aid mixer and mix until dough is formed. The dough should be too dry and not too wet. You can adjust by adding more water or flour to achieve the right feel. Take out of the mixer and knead by hand for 10 minutes.
Oil a bowl and place dough in the bowl covered with a damp towel or cling wrap. Let rise in bowl for 2 hours.
After 2 hours the dough is ready to use. Take out and split dough into 2. Shape the dough into a round and press down with fingers to make desired thickness.
Add your desired toppings and bake at 500°F. Should be around 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. Enjoy!
Jack's Pizza Dough Recipe
My version is a little different. Its a little more puffy. I also used a blender to mix my ingredients.
- 3-3.5 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting and kneading if needed
- .5 tbsp kosher salt
- .5 tbsp sugar
- .5 tbsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 cup warm water
Add all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until incorporated
Remove from blender and knead for 10 minutes.
Oil a pan and place dough inside covered for 10 hours. After 10 hours dough will have risen and your ready to use.
Split dough. Shape and press down to achieve desired thickness of dough. Add toppings and cook in a 500°F heated oven. Enjoy!
How do you make crispy pizza dough ?
Everyone loves a crispy pizza dough. So how do you do it? One way to ensure a crispy dough is to precook your dough in a hot oven for 3-4 minutes and then add your toppings. This way the dough will have some time to cook and wont absorb the pizza sauce as much and make the dough soggy.
Using a pizza stone is a good way to make the dough crispy on the bottom. Just make sure you heat up your pizza stone for a good amount of time to ensure you get maximum heat from the stone when cooking your dough. If you don’t have a dough you can use a preheated pizza pan instead.
Cooking the dough in a pan or a cast iron skillet in a little bit of oil can start the crisping process of the dough underneath it. You can just finish the dough in the oven afterwards.
In a home oven the less wet the dough is the crispier and crunchier the dough will be. The home oven only goes to 550°F which is fine but for a drier dough to achieve crunchy and crispy. The hotter the oven, the wetter the dough is acceptable.
Many homemade pizza dough recipes are constructed with bread flour. Bread flour has more protein which equals more gluten. You can use this flour to achieve crispy and chewy for your pizza dough. This is usually a desired characteristic in the homemade pizza world.
Using oil to achieve crispness is also an alternative whether you brush the dough or oil the pizza pan before cooking it.
10 Ideas for pizza toppings
- Cooked meats such as chicken, steak, pork, sausage, meatballs etc.
- Sliced cold cuts such as salami, prosciutto, ham, pepperoni etc.
- Slow braised onions
- Vegetables such as sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, roasted brussel sprouts, grilled eggplant etc.
- Pickled vegetables, pickled hot peppers (try mine)
- Confit vegetables such as garlic confit etc.
- Alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, pesto, BBQ sauce, hot pepper spread, chimichurri, salsa verde etc.
- Marinated artichokes
- Sundried tomatoes
- Cheese such as feta, goat, brie, mozzarella, cheddar, swiss, provolone, gruyere, parmesan etc.
The list can go on as far as your imagination can. Egg on a pizza is a thing these days as well as dessert pizza. So whatever is food or edible for that matter has potential to find a home on top of a pizza.