Simple pizza dough from scratch
Making pizza dough from scratch is much easier than it sounds and, with a bit of effort and practice, you’ll soon be getting great results.
The first step to making awesome pizza is getting the dough just right. It does not take a lot of preparation or time to get good results, but it could take a few tries until you perfect your technique. The good news is that you’ll be enjoying lots of delicious pizza along the way!
The one thing you should know about making proper pizza dough is that it is much wetter and more delicate than other kinds of dough you are may have made before, and it will require an extra step or two during preparation.
If you have a kitchen scale available, it is much better to measure your dough ingredients by weight rather than by volume because this is the quickest and easiest way to get the exact combination of water and flour. Accuracy matters when making pizza dough and nothing works better than a digital scale.
Try out the following pizza dough recipes for a start, pretty soon you will be making your own. This is really fun and rewarding.
Basic Pizza Dough Recipe / Mixing
Fast Rise Pizza Dough Recipe:
- By Volume:
- King Arthur Bread Flour: 3 1/2 cup
- Water: 1 1/3 cup
- Salt: 1 Tsp
- Olive Oil: 2 Tbs
- Active Dry Yeast (ADY): 1/2 Tsp
- By Weight:
- King Arthur Bread Flour: 500g
- Water: 314g
- Salt: 17g
- Olive Oil: 15g
- ADY: 4 g
For Cold Rise Pizza Dough Recipe: Same amount as above except use 1/4 tsp – 2 g ADY:
Start by adding just the flour, salt(ideally fine grain sea salt), and 1 ¼ cup of water to your mixing bowl and blend them together using a stand mixer or a wooden spoon. Keep on mixing until the dough is properly mixed and looks like a stiff batter. If you are using a mixer, run it on the slowest setting for two minutes.
Then let the dough sit for 20 minutes for proper water absorption to take place. This step, called autolyse, is a vital part of the pizza dough making process so be sure not to skip it.
Next, take 1/4 cup of water and rehydrate the ADY in it for about 10 minutes.
Then, add the rehydrated yeast to the dough, and continue mixing it. Use a low to middle speed on your stand mixer for 5 minutes or knead the dough by hand for 6 to 8 minutes until the dough barely forms a ball.
Spread some flour on your work surface and pour out the pizza dough. Use just enough flour on your work surface to keep the outside of your dough ball from sticking to it and your hands, but don’t add too much. You don’t really want to add any more flour into your dough.
Lightly hand-knead the dough for a few seconds, and then shape it into a ball using the three-fold letter technique described here: Using both hands, gently stretch the top part of the ball down and around the rest of the ball, until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Gently push out any large air holes that develop. Next, use the heels of your hands to stretch the outer layer of the dough to create tension, after which pinch the two ends of the dough together to close the seam and to make a smooth ball with a tight outer skin. Rotate the pizza ball and repeat the procedure.
When you’re done place the dough in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil or Pam spray. Use just enough oil to prevent the dough from sticking to the sides of the proofing bowl. Seal the bowl with an air-tight lid or cling-film wrap to keep the dough from drying out and set it aside until the dough has risen and doubled in size.
For Cold Rise Dough, store in the fridge for 12 to 18 hours
For Fast Rise Dough, store for 60 minute inside your home oven under or next to you oven light turned on with your oven door closed.
This process is called proofing the dough.
Dough Cutting Simple Instruction
Once your dough ball has doubled in size, place it gently on your lightly floured work surface and use a dough cutter to divide it into to the desired size for the pizzas you plan to make.
Your pizza balls should be left to rest for about an hour before you shape your pizza base. This gives the dough’s gluten time to become soft and elastic, allowing you to easily stretch the dough ball into a thin crust pizza. If you won’t be using your pizza dough for more than an hour, pit it in the refrigerator until needed.
One good idea is to make your pizza dough balls the day before and keep them in a proofing tray over night. This gives the yeast and enzymes time to work and fully use up all the available sugars, resulting in a dough with better flavor and character, and pizzas with that characteristic brown (not burned) color.
Storing Your Dough Balls
If you are going to store the dough balls overnight in the refrigerator, use a large Tupperware container or a proper dough proofing tray. Don’t use a Ziplock bag because your dough will stick to the sides, making it difficult to remove it without deflating it.
Shaping Your Pizza Base
Dust some flour onto your hands, then pick up a dough ball and turn it over so that the soft bottom side faces up. Gently shape the dough ball into a flat disk, slowly pulling, stretching and turning the disk in your hands to make it thinner and thinner.
Work your way around the disc of dough, trying to get a consistent thickness without any spots that are too thick or too thin. When you cannot make the dough any thinner without making a hole, put it on a floured work surface, and use your fingertips to gently flatten out the thick spots by pushing the dough to the outside. For a thin crust pizza, you will want to get your dough about 1/8″ thick.
Avoid handling the dough more than necessary and shape it as quickly as you can to avoid it becoming tough and dry – you will get better with practice!. It is also best not to use a rolling pin, which is hard on the dough and will give you a thin, but tough pizza.
NOTE: You DO NOT need to leave a thicker rim around the outside of the pizza base. If your pizza dough turned out correctly, the part of the pizza where you have no sauce or topping should puff up nicely on its own. Making the outside of your base thicker, could leave you with a pizza that is too thick, chewy or puffy at the edges.