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Best Pizza Dough

This Homemade Traditional Italian Pizza Dough Recipe, is the only Pizza Recipe you will ever need. Make it by hand or in your stand mixer. No need for take out, it will make your pizza night even more special. Any topping goes!

3 pizza dough balls on parchment paper.


 

Authentic Italian Pizza never tasted so good. Everything you need to know to make this your family’s new favourite Pizza Recipe. In your house what day is pizza day? If you are like us it could mean any day. Some of our favorites are an Italian Sausage and Artichoke Cheese Pizza to one of the Italian’s Grilled Zucchini Pizza. But if you want to try something different why not give this Potato Pizza.

Why you will love this pizza dough recipe

  • Easy – the recipe can be made the same day or left to rise overnight in the fridge, the longer it is left to rise the more delicious it is. Perfect either way. Make a typical Pizza Margherita or a popular Pizza Bianca, and of course you can make your preferred thin or thick pizza crust!
  • Versaitile – the dough is perfect for making a traditional pizza, mini pizzas or calzone, some readers have even used it to make bread!
  • The Best – I can and so can everyone that has tried it say that it is the best pizza dough they have ever tried!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Water – Always use lukewarm water, make sure the temperature is between 98-105F (36-40C). Never use hot or you will kill the yeast and with cold water the yeast will take forever to rise.
  • Yeast – I like to use active dry yeast but you could also use instant yeast, for every teaspoon of active dry yeast substitute with 3/4 teaspoon of instant.
  • Sugar -It is considered food for the yeast, which converts it to carbon dioxide and alcohol. It also helps enhance the flavour of the pizza. 
  • Olive Oil – It helps to tenderize the dough and add a wonderful flavour. 
  • Flour – I usually use all purpose or bread flour, you will need a flour that has at least 12% protein. Bread flour will produce a chewier crust. 
  • Salt – Is necessary to add flavour to the dough.

Needless to say this pizza dough was one of those recipes that was passed down for I can’t tell you how many years. And trust me it is the best Pizza Dough. You can make it thin crust or thick crust whatever suits you, then you can top it with whatever fresh ingredients you want.

How to make the best Pizza Dough

In the bowl of your stand up mixer (or a large bowl if you knead by hand) add the water & sugar, sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit, then stir to combine.

Add the olive oil, flour and salt, with the hook attachment start to combine on low speed, scrape the hook and then raise to medium speed and knead until you have a smooth elastic dough.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a large clean kitchen towel, leave in a warm draft- free place until doubled in bulk.

how to make pizza dough 4 photos, yeast in warm water, flour and dough risen

Punch the dough down a few times and divide into 1 -3 balls, let the dough rest. Place the dough in the desired prepared pizza pan or baking sheets, shape the dough into the desired shapes (using your clean lightly wet or oiled hands).

Top with your favourite toppings, bake for approximately until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. Some Italians will cook the pizza for a bit first then sprinkle with the cheese and bake until the cheese has melted.

Different types of Pizza to make

With this Pizza Dough Recipe I made two large and one small pizza. Sometimes I will make an all veggie one, with fresh, halved, cherry tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Or I will sauté a couple of Italian sausage (casing removed) with sliced mushrooms, peppers and a small onion and place the mixture on a pureed tomato sauce (with just a few spices and a little olive oil). For the third pizza I top with chopped fresh tomatoes and sliced black olives and of course all the pizzas are topped with shredded firm mozzarella.

toppings for best pizza dough, stir fried veggies, fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce

Make sure your Yeast is active

  • To start make sure your yeast is active, 
  • In a small bowl add the water, make sure it is lukewarm (if it is too warm it will kill the yeast), then add a pinch of sugar to the water.
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the top, stir to combine, then let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  • If the yeast is active it will dissolve in the water and the mixture will bubble.

In Italy it is so easy to get a good pizza dough. Sometimes I would stop at my local bakery (forno) and pick up a pound or two of dough. But when I tasted a pizza made with this dough, I thought no matter how good the bakery dough was, it was now a thing of the past for me. That pizza made me determined to make my own pizza dough from then on.

When I tasted a pizza made with this dough, I thought no matter how good the bakery dough was, it was now a thing of the past for me. That pizza made me determined to make my own pizza dough from then on.

Needless to say this pizza dough was one of those recipes that was passed down for I can’t tell you how many years. And trust me it is the best Pizza Dough. You can make it thin crust or thick crust whatever suits you, then you can top it with whatever fresh ingredients you want.

What is the origin of Pizza?

It is thought that the Italian baker Raffaele Esposito from Naples was the first to make a “pizza pie”. Although it is also thought that street vendors in Naples would sell flatbreads with toppings for many years before Raffaele.

Apparently the Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples sometime in 1889. Esposito was asked to make a pizza for them. He proceeded to top the pizza with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. That pizza was named Pizza Margherita and of course is still extremely popular today.

Since there are very few ingredients in Pizza Dough it is important that all the ingredients are good quality and active.

Pizza in a skillet with a pizza knife.

Recipe FAQs

What is the best flour for making pizza dough?

To tell the truth some people will swear by bread flour, but I always use all purpose (11% protein or higher). It’s not necessarily the flour but how you go about making the pizza that counts! Although if you prefer bread flour then by all means use it! Lately I even started to combine leftover flour that I have in bags, from 00 to even a little pastry flour, because flours will absorb water differently sometimes more water is needed.

How to flavor the dough

If you like to give your dough a bit of extra flavour then you can certainly add a couple of dashes of garlic or onion powder, or even oregano, thyme, Italian seasoning or basil or if the Italian had is way a couple of good pinches of hot pepper flakes. Whisk them into the flour before adding to the yeast mixture.

How long should you knead the pizza dough?

Be sure to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, approximately 7 minutes by hand and 5 minute by machine. The dough can be kneaded by hand or by machine using the dough hook in your stand up mixer. Do not over-knead. It’s also best to stretch the dough gently with your finger tips rather than using a rolling pin. The air bubbles in the dough cause the crust to be light and airy, and that is exactly what you want. 

Why grease the dough before rising?

Always place it in a lightly oiled bowl and roll the dough to lightly cover it with oil first, the oil keeps from forming a crusty top on the dough and keeps is smooth and soft.

How do you know when the pizza dough has risen enough?

With your knuckles or a couple of fingers make an indentation in the dough, If the indentation disappears, the dough needs more time to rise. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake.

What does punching the dough down do?

When you punch the dough down you are removing some of the gas bubbles that has been formed by the yeast while it was rising, which will produce a finer grain. This  also helps to relax the gluten which makes the dough easier to shape.

Why let the dough rest before forming in the pan?

The dough needs to rest because it will spread and form easily in the pan without springing back into a ball.

What temperature should pizza be baked at?

Pizza should always be baked in a very hot oven 450F (250C). It’s best to top your pizza let it cook then add the shredded mozzarella cheese and bake until melted.

Does pizza dough need to rise twice?

It doesn’t need to rise twice and this recipe is delicious with just a first rise. But if you are looking for something amazing do as a lot of Italian Pizza places do and let the first rise happen in the fridge overnight, bring the dough to room temperature 30-45 minutes then punch it down and let rise a second time for about one hour. 

What is the difference between pizza dough and bread dough?

Both bread and pizza dough start with the same main ingredients of flour, water, salt, and yeast. The way you handle the dough is what will decide whether it becomes pizza or bread. They can both have the same ingredients but the formula for making them is different, in other words different amounts of salt, water and oil. Although both doughs are often used interchangeably.

What to serve with homemade pizza.

Besides making a regular pizza dough, I love to make a Homemade Calzone, or my Grandmother’s calzone, or why not some mini pizzas? One of my favorite meals is a Pizza topped Hamburger pie. I am sure you must have some of your own ideas!

Can I use fresh mozzarella instead of firm mozzarella?

Yes you can, although I do recommend place the fresh mozzarella in a sieve and letting it sit in at room temperature for about an hour to remove as much water as possible.

What can I yeast can I use instead of active dry yeast?

Instead of using 1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast you would use 31 1/2 grams of fresh yeast (or 1.1 ounces). Or you can use 3 teaspoons of instant yeast, rising time will be shorter with instant yeast.

What weight should the pizza dough weigh?

If you are looking for a pizza such as pizza Napoletana then I would go with 250-255 gram (9 ounces) dough ball if you want a thicker crust then 280-285 grams (10 ounces) would be the weight, this if for a pizza approximately 28-32 cm (12 inches).

Baked pizza on a wooden board.

Can the Dough be made in advance?

The dough can certainly be done in the fridge, overnight works perfectly. Prepare the dough, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator, leaving the dough to rise in the fridge from 12-24 hours is considered the best amount of time. Although the dough can remain in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

If the dough smells sour it has probably gone bad and should be discarded. Remove the dough from the fridge and bring it to room temperature, about 30-60 minutes, punch it down, then divide it into 2 or 3 parts, again let it rest for about 20 minutes, form into your preferred shape and top as desired.

Some Favorite Pizza Toppings

Some of my favorites are sliced Italian sausage, pepperoni slices, sliced or chopped peppers, sliced mushrooms, pancetta or bacon. Broccoli, arugula, wurstel and fries are believe it or not, favorites in Italy. So if you like pineapple then why not add it too?!

Or why not change up your cheese topping, instead of just mozzarella add some blue cheese, fontina or provolone or one of my favorites parmesan cheese. Freshly grated of course!

Baked potato pizza.

How to bake with a Pizza Stone?

Place the pizza stone in the cold oven. Preheat the oven to 450 – 475 F. Once the oven has preheated, the stone will be hot enough. Slide the pizza onto the stone using a pizza peel, and continue with the recipe. Once the pizza stone has cooled, brush it but don’t wash it.

How to freeze and store the pizza dough

Let the dough rise before freezing, then divide the dough into your desired pizza portions, place in airtight freezer bags and freeze. Dough will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

Thaw the frozen dough overnight (8 hours) in the refrigerator. When ready to use, remove it from the fridge and bring it to room temperature, approximately 30-60 minutes on the counter will do. Continue with the recipe from step 4. 

Or remove the frozen dough from the bag or container, then place it in a bowl with enough room to allow it to expand, cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit for a couple of hours, giving it time to thaw and rise. Then it is ready to use.

Any leftover pizza, as long as it hasn’t been left out for more than two hours, should be placed in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap or foil and placed in the refrigerator, it will last up to four days in the fridge. Cold pizza for breakfast anyone?!

So however you like your pizza, thick crust, thin crust, double cheese, vegetarian or with pepperoni, I hope you make it with this Pizza dough recipe! Buon appetito.

Pizza with olives in the pan.
pizza dough on a parchment paper.

Best Pizza Dough

Rosemary Molloy
Best Pizza Dough, an easy, homemade pizza dough recipe that will become your favorite go to for pizza night.  Thick or thin crust you decide.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 266 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cups all purpose flour or bread flour
  • teaspoons salt

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of your stand up mixer (or a large bowl if you knead by hand) add the warm water and sugar, sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then stir to combine. Continue with Machine or Hand.

MIXING BY MACHINE

  • Add the olive oil, flour and salt, with the hook attachment start to combine on low speed #1, scrape the hook and then raise to medium speed #2 and knead for approximately 5-7 minutes or until you have a smooth elastic dough (scrape the hook halfway through kneading).  

MIXING BY HAND

  • Add the olive oil, flour and salt, then with a fork mix until the dough starts to come together. On a lightly floured surface remove dough from the bowl and knead until dough is smooth and elastic approximately 10 minutes (if dough is really sticky add a little extra flour). 

NEXT STEPS

  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl, roll the dough to cover lightly with the oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a large clean kitchen towel, leave in a warm draft free area until doubled in bulk, approximately 2 hours.**
  • Pre heat oven to 450° (250° celsius). Punch dough down a few times and divide into 1-3 balls, let dough rest for 20 minutes.
  • Place the dough in the desired pizza or cookie sheets (lightly oiled) and shape the dough into the desired shapes (using your clean hands).  
  • Top with your favourite toppings, bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until crust is golden and cheese has melted. Enjoy!
  • **At this point, dough can also be refrigerated, place in plastic bag, remove air and tie securely up to 24 hours.

EASY PIZZA SAUCE

  • In a medium bowl add a can of diced or pureed tomatoes, add 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil, a sprinkle of salt, tablespoon or two of olive oil and stir to combine. Top pizza dough.

FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

  • Chop fresh tomatoes (15-20 grape or cherry or 3-4 roma tomatoes)if you use roma tomatoes then remove the seeds, toss with 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil (or even 5-6 fresh basil leaves chopped) 1-2 pinches salt and a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil.

STIRRED FRIED VEGGIES & ITALIAN SAUSAGE

  • In a medium frying pan add Italian sausage (casing removed and chopped) and fry until starting to brown, add thinly sliced, onion, pepper and mushrooms and a drizzle of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste, cook on medium for approximately 10 minutes. Use as topping for pizza (on the sauce and then bake).

Notes

My MIL would bake the pizza for about 12-13 minutes then add the shredded mozzarella and bake again for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted. If you prefer your cheese baked less then this is the way for you. 
If using instant yeast instead of active dry use 3 teaspoons of instant yeast. In the bowl of the mixer add the flour, yeast and sugar and combine, then add the water and oil, start to mix with the dough hook and add the salt, continue to knead for about 8-10 and continue with the recipe. When using active dry yeast your dough may rise a little quicker so keep your eye on it.
Depending on the type of flour you use, flours absorb water differently, therefore in order to reach a compact dough more flour may be needed. 
If you have a fan-assisted oven, then you can lower the oven temperature by 50 degrees F (or 20 degrees C).
The dough can rise in the fridge, overnight works perfectly. Prepare the dough, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator, leaving the dough to rise in the fridge from 12-24 hours is considered the best amount of time. Although the dough can remain in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Let the dough rise before freezing, then divide the dough into your desired pizza portions, place in airtight freezer bags and freeze. Dough will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Thaw the frozen dough overnight (8 hours) in the refrigerator. When ready to use, remove it from the fridge and bring it to room temperature, approximately 30-60 minutes on the counter will do. Continue with the recipe from step 4. 
Or remove the frozen dough from the bag or container, then place it in a bowl with enough room to allow it to expand, cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit for a couple of hours, giving it time to thaw and rise. Then it is ready to use.
Any leftover pizza, as long as it hasn’t been left out for more than two hours, should be placed in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap or foil and placed in the refrigerator, it will last up to four days in the fridge. Cold pizza for breakfast anyone?!

Nutrition

Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin C: 0.002mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 3mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Republished from January 6, 2016.

874 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved the simplicity of this recipe. If a recipe has too many ingredients or too many steps, I toss my hands up and walk away. This was very easy for me and all ingredients were on hand. Tasted like a good solid pizza dough, allowing my toppings to shine. I can confidently toss out all other pizza dough recipes as I have found the one! An added bonus; Rosemary not only explains how & what to do, but shares the “why” a step should be done as well as a brief history of the recipe.

  2. Just a question, is 1 1/2 tbsp a typo and should be 1 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast?

    I’m hoping that your recipe is correct since my dough is rising in the refer.

  3. 5 stars
    Just love this recipe! I tried many , and this is so far my go to recipe for pizza crust I added some herbs for extra flavor, and the crust was just delicious . Thank you for sharing.

  4. 5 stars
    Just found this recipe. Hand mixed it, let it rise in the oven with the light on. It was perfectly delicious. The dough was soft but not sticky. Pressed out with fingers and cooked in our new pizza oven. Definitely a repeat! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Carol, yes it can, let the dough rise before freezing, then divide the dough into your desired pizza portions, place in airtight freezer bags and freeze. Dough will last up to 3 months in the freezer. Hope that helps. Take care.

    1. Hi Pat, I would probably half the recipe, because I don’t know what size you make or if you make a thin or thick crust. Hope that helps. The extra dough can always be frozen if you don’t use it. Take care.

  5. I am new to your site. I just saw your receipe for best pizza dough. Can you tell what size pan you use for one of the three balls of dough

    1. Hi Carol, it really all depends on how thick you want the crust. I usually make more on the thick then thin side and I use 3 x 10-12 inch pan. Hope that helps. Take care.

  6. Hi,
    This is my second time sending this message in. I recently made the pizza dough crust and followed the basic recipe to the T. I did knead the dough by hand but, I am no stranger as to how to knead dough. I was very disappointed in the outcome. The dough was flat/bland tasting, it actually tasted like flour. The texture was flat. I’m not sure if the elevation of 5,360′ that I am living in has any bearing on this. I have gone through the checklist of possibilites but, I I’m not coming up with an answer. I would truly like a response and a suggestion as to why this has occurred. I have used some of your other recipes and never had a problem.
    Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. Hi Lorraine, sorry I didn’t back to you, I have been away and I am trying to get caught up. Yes high altitude does make a difference when making pizza dough, flour wants to absorb more water which makes for a drier tougher crust, which means adding a little extra water should help. Also you want the dough to rise slower so I recommend letting it rise overnight in the fridge. I make this pizza dough often and I have never had a problem with the crust. Also check the yeast to make sure it hasn’t expired. Hope this helps. Let me know. Take care.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi I made this pizza dough today. It was absolutely the best I have made The texture was perfect thank you for sharing this recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    Hi just read your recipe for the pizza dough Your weights for the flour and water are wrong. They don’t change when u use double or triple button ?? X

  9. 5 stars
    This is so easy to make and best home made pizza I have made in a long time everyone enjoyed it
    Will be making this again real soon ..I put my pizza stone on the BBQ and cooked it that way Amazing

  10. Seeing your recipe I did at home and succeeded. Your recipe is shown in a very simple way. The style of making your pizza is shown very simply otherwise.

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