Aug 17, 2010

My New Best Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

As you must have noticed by now, we love pizza here! It’s okay to be a pizza fiend. No, really, it is. It’s by far our favorite junk food Friday meal. Since I usually top ours with not all too much cheese, my own pizza sauce and add loads of fresh veggies, I’m not quite sure just how junky it still is. Or maybe I have a different perspective on what really constitutes junk food.

I’ve tried lots of recipes over the years. Most recipes called for 3 cups of flour—sometimes even 3 1/2—on 1 cup of water, making the dough very tough to work with while it’s supposed to be incredibly supple. Maybe I just messed up but either way, it wasn’t working for me and the crust came out tasting like card-board. It was depressing.

What was even more depressing were all those times I couldn’t get the dough to rise no matter what I tried. A lot of crusts tasted kinda bland, so I upped the salt and think it really tastes better like this. Plus, I replaced the sugar with honey and that definitely worked to my advantage. Oh boy, I’ve tried and ate so many pizzas over the past few weeks trying to get the exact right recipe for us. After lots of tweaking I think I have the perfect crust for my family. This one is light, fluffy and exactly right.

Now, if you need me… I’ll be on the Stairmaster.


1 cup warm water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil 
1 1/2 tsp salt (2 tsp also works well)


We’ll be needing yeast—I opted for instant yeast but feel free to use active dry yeast—salt and olive oil. Good pizza dough needs oil. Sorry, there’s just no work around or I would’ve found it.
Pizza Dough

You can either use your stand-mixer, food processor or hands for this. Combine the yeast and salt.
Pizza Dough

Add 2 tbsp honey. I really like the addition of honey. It adds something to the crust that I can’t really define but that I miss when it’s not there.
Pizza Dough

And add 1 cup warm water to it. Warm but still very comfortable to touch.
Pizza Dough

I let the machine spin to combine it all. Of course you can also just let it sit in a bowl for 5 minutes to activate it. Not really necessary with instant yeast but it can’t hurt either.
Pizza Dough

Add the oil and 1 cup of flour. Wait for the flour to be fully incorporated before adding the next cup. Then add the last 1/4 cup. I let the machine run until it was a supple dough.
Pizza Dough

The best pizza flour is, by far, Molino Caputo. In Holland that’s very hard to come by so I just use all-purpose flour. Gotta make do with what I have.

I took it out of the machine and kneaded it with my hands for a few minutes as well. What can I say? It works as an anti-stress formula.
Pizza Dough

Lightly oil a big bowl. Check out the timing on this shot! It’s harder than you might think!
Pizza Dough

Place the dough in the oiled bowl and spray a little oil on top of the dough as well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a draft-free place—I usually store it in my oven or microwave. I did forget about it once and turned on the oven. It was bad. Really bad.
Pizza Dough

If you’re using active dry yeast let your dough rise twice. If you’re using fresh yeast I assume you know what you’re doing and you don’t need my advice anyway! I’ll just shut up then. At least I’ll try.

Fast forward to 2 hours later.

My dough had risen beautifully. This makes for 2 medium or one really large pizza.
Pizza Dough

Punch it down and transfer it to a floured board. Make sure there’s flour on both sides of the dough and then only use more flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands.

Use the sides of your hands to create the border, push it down in the center and use your hand or finger tips to gently stretch the dough while turning it around.
Pizza Dough

Of course I had to get all carried away and stretch it on my knuckles as well. This does work, though, because you get to check the dough for really thin spots this way. I haven’t quite mastered the art of tossing the dough high up in the air. Well, I got the tossing part down but still have some work to do on the catching.
Pizza Dough

And there’s your pizza dough. Wasn’t too hard, was it?

The best part? It magically transforms itself into this during baking.
Pizza Dough

I’ve tried this dough several times now with fantastic results and rave comments every single time. I’m sold!

My New Best Pizza Dough
    1 cup warm water
    2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tsp instant yeast
    2 tbsp honey
    3 tbsp olive oil
    1 1/2 tsp salt (2 tsp also works well)
    Combine the yest, salt and honey with 1 cup warm water. Warm but still very comfortable to touch. Let he machine spin for a while or let the yest sit in a bowl for 5 minutes to activate it. Add the oil and 1 cup of flour. Wait for the flour to be fully incorporated before adding the next cup. Then add the last 1/4 cup. Let the machine run or knead until it’s a supple dough.

    Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the oiled bowl and spray a little oil on top of the dough as well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a draft-free place. I usually store it in my oven or microwave. If you’re using active dry yeast let your dough rise twice. Let the dough rise for a few hours, until it has doubled in size.

    Punch it down and transfer it to a floured board. Make sure there’s flour on both sides of the dough and then only use more flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands. Use the sides of your hands to create the border, push it down in the center and use your hand or finger tips to stretch the dough while. If you can, stretch it on your knuckles as well so you can check the dough for thin spots.
Meal type: pizza
Servings: 2 medium or 1 large pizza
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    1. 1

      Never thought of putting honey in the dough! I gotta try this :D

      Richard on Aug 17, 2010 @ 2:14 pm Reply
    2. 2

      And the same again in real measurements, please.

      Karohemd on Aug 17, 2010 @ 3:07 pm Reply
      1. @Karohemd:

        These are real measurements. Get yourself a few cups and spoons or do the math, baby :)

        Kay on Aug 17, 2010 @ 3:10 pm Reply
    3. 3

      Is your audience in the US really that large that you can ignore the rest of the world? Even in the UK, most recipes are given in imperial and metric measurements.  Stand up for your European roots.

      Karohemd on Aug 17, 2010 @ 4:25 pm Reply
      1. Aside from the fact I don’t care for your rather belittling remarks regarding US readers, you’re also making a classic mistake thinking this has anything to do with audience. Or even being European.

        Like I state in my About Me page, I do the cups and measuringspoons thing because I have no desire whatsoever having to weigh every little thing I use. It’s annoying and way too time consuming. Volume cooking is my preferred method. This doesn’t have to be your preferred method but well, it’s my blog. I’m not in the US and not in the UK.

        There are numerous conversion websites out there, in case you should need them. There are also numerous food blogs out there that use a metric system in case you prefer that. I’m not one of them. Take your pick.

        Kay on Aug 17, 2010 @ 4:42 pm Reply
      2. Wow, you must not really like the U.S. Gotta love foreigners talking trash over a pizza dough recipe. How about those born in the U.S. are simply that regardless of culture and are proud to be such. I’m tired of people sporting flags from other Nations they’ve never been and talking done on the U.S.

        Justin on Apr 21, 2013 @ 10:41 pm Reply
        1. down***

          Justin on Apr 21, 2013 @ 10:44 pm Reply
    4. 4

      The crust looks fantastic and I’m in awe of the photography!

      Maria on Aug 17, 2010 @ 5:00 pm Reply
    5. 5

      I’m sorry if I totally missed this, but how long (and what temperature) do you bake it for? I’m hoping to try this out tonight, as the pizza dough I usually make isn’t that great.

      Oana on Aug 17, 2010 @ 5:33 pm Reply
      1. @ Oana:

        No worries, you didn’t miss it. I didn’t write it down yet! I still have to write the actual pizza posting with baking temps etc. It depends on whether you use a pizza stone or just your regular oven. General guide line would be to bake it for 12 to 15 minutes (keep an eye on it) at 450F (225C).

        Kay on Aug 17, 2010 @ 5:38 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Thank you so much for this post! We have been buying the pre-made crust from the store and I was very interested in trying to make it on my own. This post is perfect.

      Not There Yet on Aug 17, 2010 @ 6:39 pm Reply
    7. 7

      oh my! a good pizza dough recipe is worth all the trouble. LOVE the first pic of your knuckles stretching the dough – just beautiful.

      Veggie Belly on Aug 17, 2010 @ 6:49 pm Reply
    8. 8

      I’m usually too lazy to make pizza from scratch, but I will definitely try this at home over the weekend.

      Judy on Aug 17, 2010 @ 6:52 pm Reply
    9. 9

      Beautiful photography!

      Allison on Aug 17, 2010 @ 7:56 pm Reply
    10. 10

      UM – that is the crust I strive for!  Wow.  Even with a few more flour choices around me, I still opt for the King Arthur AP – unbleached.
      I brought a digital scale (aldi special) back from the NL – and now weigh my flour, and love that — but agree that volume baking/cooking is much easier, as I diligently used metric measures when in the NL.
      I love that you are so eclectic in your cooking/baking – interests.  I am sad that someone make such mis-statements to you…I know you respect your European roots,  yet you have taught me more about embracing so many different cultures of cooking then any other other blog.
      Universally yours – and awaiting w/baited breath for the continuation of this pizza series. :D

      elizabethk on Aug 17, 2010 @ 7:58 pm Reply
    11. 11

      Looks great Kay, seems like you’re on your way to mastering “the toss” soon! ;D

      Jaime de Vos on Aug 17, 2010 @ 9:23 pm Reply
    12. 12

      It’s very similar to a recipe I have been making but a little less yeast.  I agree that the honey really adds something special to the pizza.  I can’t wait to try it.

      Valerie on Aug 17, 2010 @ 10:39 pm Reply
    13. 13

      Hi Ms. Kay, I have never commented before but I have to after seeing someone complain about your volume measurements.  I just wanted to personally thank you for everything that you put into this blog. I found you through Tastespotting before I knew how to cook, and have learned almost everything from you over the past year.  Now I cook almost every day, which is a huge shock to my family!

      I recommend your blog to everyone who expresses interest in learning how to cook because your steps are so clear, your ingredients are so accessible, you aren’t strict about measurements and best of all, everything you post tastes great. 

      I’m from Seattle, WA in the USA and didn’t realize weight vs. volume was such a controversial topic that determines your patriotism.  From the standpoint of a beginning cook, using volume measurements has simplified so many processes for me and has really helped me learn.  I am able to make fabulous food through your work, without breaking the bank for a good scale or stressing out  that I have one too many grams of this vs. that.

      Thank you so much for standing up for your preferences and for being an inspiring role model to so many.   I am lucky that your preference for volume cooking has catalyzed my interest and experience in cooking, so thank you for that.  I know I’m not the only one you’ve inspired like this so thank you on behalf of all of us new kids :)

      Lisa on Aug 18, 2010 @ 12:06 am Reply
    14. 14

      I lovee pizza too!!!!!!….
      You say that this is for like 2 medium pizzas…. it is possible to freeze the half? or this afect the pizza?
      thank  you

      Rocio on Aug 18, 2010 @ 12:45 am Reply
    15. 15

      @ Rocio:

      You can absolutely freeze pizza dough (after the rise). Just make sure you defrost it at room temperature!

      Kay on Aug 18, 2010 @ 7:53 am Reply
    16. 16

      @ Lisa:

      Thanks for your sweet comment! Like you I was slightly surprised that patriotism is apparently linked to the wau you prefer to cook. Kinda makes me wonder why they sell cups and measuring spoons here in the first place :)

      Kay on Aug 18, 2010 @ 7:54 am Reply
    17. 17

      In response to some of the comments about volume vs. weight measurements, I also greatly appreciate your volume measurements. In the US, finding a good food scale can be difficult and expensive. As a college student, I’m going to have to go with $2.00 measuring cups over a $75.00 scale. Having used friends’ parents’ cooking scales, I also agree that volume measurements are faster and simpler. Some recipes are especially delicate (macarons come to mind) and I think there may be a scientific article for using weight instead of volume to measure ingredients for these recipes, but I think for most things people cook on a day-to-day basics, the small differences in volume due to temperature, moisture, etc, won’t affect that much. I really appreciate everything you put into this blog!
      Also, I was surprised to see you added the yeast and salt straight to each other (unless I read this wrong). I’ve always heard you should mix yeast into water or flour before adding salt, because direct salt-yeast contact can kill the yeast. Have you never noticed problems doing this?
      Thanks again Kay!

      Nicole on Aug 18, 2010 @ 8:32 am Reply
    18. 18

      Hmm… and by “scientific article” I mean, “scientific reason.” I guess I’ve been working too much.

      Nicole on Aug 18, 2010 @ 8:33 am Reply
    19. 19

      @ Nicole:

      I’ve heard that, too, but I’ve always just combined everything (I put my yeast in the water first, though) and then proceed with kneading and my dough somehow always comes out right within the right time frame. So, no problems for me, no.

      But it’s a good thing you mention it here because if someone has a problem getting their dough to rise, they can try adding the salt during the kneading.

      Kay on Aug 18, 2010 @ 9:40 am Reply
    20. 20

      Was planning on making pizza this week… now I’m not going to buy frozen/mix I’ll make yours!  Just have to see what I’ll be using for the sauce????

      ricky on Aug 18, 2010 @ 1:06 pm Reply
    21. 21

      This reminds me that I haven’t made pizza in a long long time!  Hmmm….  Love the thought of honey in it!

      Oh in case you haven’t tried this, one of my friends had a pizza on teh grill party.  She rolled out personal size thin-ish pizza (I like thin crust) for everyone.  Fist the dough on the grill,  then on the browned side pile the topping the place the “white” (hopefully the non topping side now) side on the grill and once the cheese melts the pizza is done too.  Seriously yummy!

      Bah can’t belive you got harrased over measurements.  Sheesh!  Happy you stood up for yourself and YOUR blog!  I use both and for cakes and such prefer the weights, in some ways seems easier.  But then hey that’s my choice and I am certainly not going to harass someone who a. highlights amazing recipes   b. kind of to take the time to put up step by step photographs!   Bring on the volume!

      Yosha on Aug 18, 2010 @ 8:52 pm Reply
    22. 22

      Hi! This is my first comment but I’ve been reading you for a while (found you on TasteSpotting and imediatly added your blog to my RSS reader).
      I’m really loving your pizza week! We love homemade pizza and we do pizza Fridays too. I’m happy you found a recipe with a flour:water ratio different from 3:1 that works. My current favourite has that ratio and tastes good, but it does take a lot of elbow grease to make it work! I’ll be trying your recipe tomorrow, as well as the spice mix.
      Also I agree that while weight cooking is better for fickle recipes (like some baking and pastry recipes), volume cooking is much better for everyday recipes. I usually eyeball it most of the time :) I’m in Canada, but I can’t believe the country makes a difference! lol

      Nath on Aug 19, 2010 @ 11:51 pm Reply
    23. 23

      Good to see you use honey.  When I first started making pizza dough a friend gave me a copy of Scarpetta’s Table, a cookbook by Patricia Cornwell who is a mystery writer with a lead character Kay Scarpetts who cooks for recreation.   Ms Cornwell wrote that when she was in college sh had a job where she had to make the pizza dough and discovered that using honey in the dough made it a lot better.   I tried it and she was absolutely right.   Now I see you are doing the same thing.   It does indeed make a difference.  Don’t know why but I don’t argue with success.

      dick on Aug 20, 2010 @ 4:53 am Reply
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