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.


Ingredients:

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)


Directions:

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
Ingredients
    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)
Directions
    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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    182 Comments »

    1. 1

      I have been recently getting into baking bread and making dough, after spending the past year mostly baking sweets, so this is right up my alley. My MIL recently gave me her old bread maker, so that is only fueling my interest!
      At any rate, I love your blog and appreciate you giving measurements in volume. We have a kitchen scale which I do utilize occasionally, but I really prefer not to.  I am pretty shocked that someone would be so bold and rude about how you choose to measure ingredients on your personal weblog. I apologize on their behalf and sincerely hope that that individual’s comment hasn’t dampened your spirit!

      Beth on Aug 20, 2010 @ 5:28 pm Reply
    2. 2

      I have been looking for a good pizza dough recipe for awhile now.  What I  really wanted one that I can make both pizza and calzones with.  I completely agree that most recipes the dough tends to be just a little to tough.  This though looks as though it will be perfect pliable, yet strong.  I’m excited to try it out soon!   P.S.  I am also a first time commenter and semi-new “cook”  and  just want to add that I love your blog, the recipes are delicious and simple and the photos are amazing.

      Ashley on Aug 20, 2010 @ 5:44 pm Reply
    3. 3

      And again a great recipe, however I never try the recipes including yeast. One way or another it just spooks me a bit, it looks like its difficult dealing with yeast… Please convince me that it’s easy ;-)

      Btw, me as a dutchy can handle your measurement perfectly, I find it very easy and time-saving to work like this.

      Keep up the good work!!

      Annemarie Jorna on Aug 20, 2010 @ 11:32 pm Reply
    4. 4

      I made your dough recipe yesterday, and it was awesome! I usually prefer a thin crust but I fell in love with this one. My boyfriend declared this his favourite dough and THE recipe for making pizza for company (I’m known for always having several recipes on hand – or in my head- for different situations, like a no-knead version of a pizza crust for lack of time/no fancy situation and best recipes for when I have more time). The honey does make it into something special (I’ve seen this before too), but I think next time I will cut back on the salt a bit. I don’t eat much salt so the veggie pizza I made was a bit too salty for my taste.
       
      The dough  came out of the mixer quite sticky so I added a bit more flour while kneading (maybe 3/4 cup for a double recipe). Volumes are easier than weights and work great as long as you always work the same way – do you use 2 1/4 cup sifted flour, or 2 1/4 cup of flour scooped into your measuring cup with a spoon (loosely filled), or scooped with the measuring cup itself (flour almost packed)? All of those will give different amounts of flour. But I think the fun in cooking is experimenting anyway! Too sticky, add a bit more flour; to dry, add a bit of water.
       
      Thanks for the grat recipe! This is going into my weekly rotation :)

      Nath on Aug 21, 2010 @ 1:41 pm Reply
    5. 5

      @ Nath:

      We love it, too. Though we kinda like the dough a little saltier! I stopped sifting my flour some time ago.

      I always scoop up the flour with my measuring cup and use the bare minimum because it’s easier to add extra flour with your hands later on. It also depends on what flour you use, but dough should almost always be sticky to the touch.

      Adding some dried herbs to the dough is pretty tasty as well.

      Kay on Aug 21, 2010 @ 2:11 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Your dough just past the second test – great taste and texture in a cold slice of pizza the next day :) None of my other recipes passed this test with flying colours. Herbs are always a great idea. Next Friday I will make a cheese-stuffed crust for my boyfriend’s pizza (we make each our own and have enough for leftovers or friends over). He’s been asking for it for a while and your crust has the perfect pliable texture to do so. Just stretch to a larger circle, lay the grated cheese near the edge and fold back over.
       
      I don’t sift my flour either, but I usually use a spoon to scoop the flour into my measuring cup -I store my flour in a tall jar a bit too narrow to easily use my 1 cup measuring cup as a scoop- so I guess I had a little less flour in the beginning.  I agree that it’s much easier to use a minimum of flour and add more later.
       
      What kind of salt do you use? I hear table salt is much more saltier than kosher salt (and kosher salts are not all the same too). I used plain old table salt. Not all groceries in my area carries kosher salt, so I haven’t tried that yet. I don’t eat much salt, so most people might prefer a higher level of salt than me. Growing up my mom didn’t use much because my father had to watch his sodium intake, and recently I found that too much salt is yet another trigger for my migraines -one that I can usually avoid easily if I’m mindful about it. With the cheese and other topping that can add salt, I cut back a little a little here and there so I can still have enough cheese :)

      Nath on Aug 21, 2010 @ 7:14 pm Reply
    7. 7

      Made your pizza dough yesterday.
      YES, it was good! Froze half, we’ll see what happens when I defrost.
      Thanks for the recipe.

      ricky on Aug 22, 2010 @ 10:24 am Reply
    8. 8

      @ Nath:

      I tried working with coarse sea salt for a while—we don’t have kosher salt here—but there’s a such a difference in grain size that my recipes came out tasting different every time. For me it’s not a very dependable way to cook. So I only use table salt or fine sea salt if I run out of table salt.

      I have to watch my salt intake as well, so usually don’t use a whole lot of it either, but when it comes to pizza… I indulge :)

      Kay on Aug 22, 2010 @ 10:33 am Reply
    9. 9

      Okay so it was pizza night again tonight!
      The first time I used your recipe it was good but this time it was better!
      I think we’ll be making our own pizza more often. Better than frozen and a lot less salt.
      Thanks

      ricky on Sep 3, 2010 @ 8:41 pm Reply
    10. 10

      I, too , have tried a lot of pizza dough recipes. I can’t wait to try this one! Have you ever used any whole-wheat flour with success?

      Suzie on Sep 3, 2010 @ 10:54 pm Reply
    11. 11

      @Suzie:

      Never tried it. Here we only eat whole wheat bread, we don’t even like white bread, but for pizzas I wouldn’t really use it.

      Kay on Sep 3, 2010 @ 11:01 pm Reply
    12. 12

      I made it with all purpose flour and with half all purpose half whole wheat, both with great results and similar texture. I haven’t tried all whole wheat yet since the boyfriend is still learning to like it :)

      Nath on Sep 4, 2010 @ 11:41 pm Reply
    13. 13

      wow! looks really great!

      Paula on Sep 7, 2010 @ 10:25 am Reply
    14. 14

      Hello!
      The honey is a good component reactor! but let me give you another hint…
      I applied some of my chemistry knowledge to the pizza dough development and I have to say it also worked. Try to mix the yeast with the lukewarm water and the honey in a different recipient. Let them interact for about 10 minutes, and them mix with the flour, olive oil and salt.
      Why is this? Well… yeast and salt do not get along very well, so, if you let the yeast react by itself for a while, you’ll get a more spongy dough!
      Good luck!

      D2.0 on Sep 7, 2010 @ 10:33 am Reply
    15. 15

       I cannot wait to try this. I also have been on a search for the perfect crust recipe. I love the treasure hunt of it all. Do you do the same with sugar cookie recipes by chance?
       I use cups and spoons as well. Sometimes finger pinches and palmfuls! Bottom line… I attempt to translate measurement or language
      for the love of a recipe or product. Born and raised in the USA. 
      Thank You

      Penny Wolf on Sep 7, 2010 @ 1:25 pm Reply
    16. 16

      I’m definitely giving this a try. Right now, I’m partial to the A16 dough recipe, though, I sometimes wish it had a tad more yeast in it. The developed flavor (takes 2 1/2 days to make the dough) is great, though.

      Carolyn Jung on Sep 7, 2010 @ 6:40 pm Reply
    17. 17

      Looks great! I like adding a little beer to the crust too. Maybe it gives it more bubbles? I don’t know. Who cares. Yours looks more than sufficiently light and airy.

      Angela on Sep 7, 2010 @ 7:25 pm Reply
    18. 18

      We are huge pizza fiends around here. It’s amazing how such a simple recipe can produce such astounding results. Thanks for sharing!

      Jessica on Sep 7, 2010 @ 9:56 pm Reply
    19. 19

      I will definitely be making this at the end of the week. Thanks for sharing!

      Ariel on Sep 7, 2010 @ 11:40 pm Reply
    20. 20

      Your pizza dough looks great! I am definitely trying your perfected dough recipe soon. Thanks for the step by step photos!

      Eva on Sep 8, 2010 @ 1:46 am Reply
    21. 21

      Chiming in on the rude comments above! I’m very glad you use cups and I’ve never seen anyone complain about that sort of thing before! I actually find it annoying when someone doesn’t use cups and spoons but it’s not usually a big deal as you can just type it into google and you’ll get a conversion in mere seconds!
      Back to the recipe: I’m definitely going to try this out tonight! I assume though if you halve the recipe it will need half the time to rise, or am I wrong? I usually use a recipe for Our Best Bites but it’s always so bland :/

      Samantha on Sep 8, 2010 @ 10:52 pm Reply
    22. 22

      What a wonderful, super easy recipe!!! I’ve made it three times already!! Only thing I do different, when a recipe calls for yeast, I only use bottled water as sometimes the chemicals they add will effect the yeast.
      Thank you for sharing!!!

      Krazy Kook on Sep 9, 2010 @ 2:42 am Reply
    23. 23

      I’ll have to try the honey and also mixing it in the food processor – I always have a mess on my hands, but this looks like a good way to avoid that! My mom adds honey to her pizza bread, so it’s now a part of my recipe, which is very similar to this! Thanks so much for sharing, I just found your site via foodgawker and will now be hanging around here more often!
      (I also know how it feels to “make do” – it’s the story of my life here! another reason I’ll be following you : )))

      emily s on Sep 17, 2010 @ 9:42 pm Reply
    24. 24

      I just made this on the weekend and it turned out A-MAZING! Mind you, I only had durum flour on hand, but it still turned out great. I’ve never made pizza dough before, (actually, this was only the second time I’ve ever even made dough!) but this recipe is simply perfect. Thank you so much!! We used our own barbeque ranch for the sauce, cheese, onions, green peppers, pepperoni, smokies and topped it all off with cold tomatoes. :) We will definitely be using this recipe again :)

      H on Sep 27, 2010 @ 6:56 pm Reply

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