Basic Pizza Dough

Making pizza at home is something that a lot of people enjoy doing. It’s fun for the whole family to get involved in, especially the kids. My kids love to form the dough into the pizza shape and add whatever toppings they want. It’s really a great way to get little ones interested in cooking. Most grocery stores now have fresh dough you can buy, but they don’t compare to the dough you can make at home. I’ve made this recipe quite a few times now and it’s never let me down. The recipe says it’ll make 3 medium pizzas. Sadly, my pizza stone got broke some time back and I have yet to replace it. I have been making the pizzas in a sheet pan. If you like a very thick crust use the whole dough in one sheet pan. If you like it on the regular/thinner side, cut the dough in half. The dough also freezes very well. You’ll want to wrap it to freeze it once the first rise is done. I would recommend wrapping it saran wrap then put it into a gallon size freezer bag. The dough will expand a little till it’s frozen all the way through. When ready to use, take out of freezer and place in the refrigerator till thawed. Allow to come to room temperature (30 minutes) and it’s ready to be shaped.

One of my favorite pizzas is this white pizza. Heat olive oil in a small saute pan with 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped finely. Once the dough is ready for the toppings I use a pastry brush and spread the garlic infused olive oil all over the dough. I top it with dollops of goat cheese, mozzarella and Italian fontina cheeses. Bake at 450 degrees and it’s amazing! Serve with a spring green salad tossed with a lemon vinaigrette. 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice, 4 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together and serve.

Basic Pizza Dough:

Yields: 2-3 medium pizzas

  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 envelope (about 2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface and hands
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Olive oil for oiling the bowl
  1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and 2tbs olive oil and stir to combine.
  2. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the  mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate. The dough is now ready to be used. *Note* if you are having problems with forming the dough, let it sit to rest for about 15 minutes and try again.

To make by hand:

  1. Follow the recipe through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate. The dough is now ready to be used.

Source: The New Best Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

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