Basic Pizza Dough
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
You can knead this dough with a mixer (use the dough hook), or by hand, but I like the food processor best. The pizzas can be grilled or baked in an oven—the hotter the better (commercial pizza ovens I, are usually about 700°). This is the simplest, most basic pizza (and bread) dough you can make. Olive oil makes a smoother, more flavorful dough and a slightly cracklier crust—but You can omit it if you like—just add a little more water to the dough if you do.
NotesCrunchier Pizza Dough: This dough may be a little more difficult to handle but it has superior flavor and a pleasant crunch Substitute ½ cup cornmeal for ½ cup of the flour.
Six Quick Ideas for More Flavorful Pizza Dough
The options are infinite, but be careful; you want the dough to cook up crisp, and too many additions will make it soggy. You also want it to act as a flavor carrier not as the dominant flavor. But before adding the water to the dough, try the following, alone or in combination:
1. Add one-half to one teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper.
2. Add one tablespoon upureed cooked garlic (roasted is best) or one-half teaspoon minced raw garlic, on to taste.
3. Add one teaspoon to one tablespoon fresh herbs.
4. Substitute one-half cup to one cup whole wheat or semolina flour for the white flour.
5. Add one-fourth to one-half cup minced prosciutto, ham, or cooked bacon.
6. Use flavored olive oil, such as garlic or rosemary oil, in place of regular olive oil.
Makes1 large or 2 or more small pizzas
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Dietary Considerationegg-free, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturechewy
Type of Dishpizza
- 1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 3 cups (about 14 ounces) all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 to 1¼ cups water
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube.
2 Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.)
3 Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough, in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm; draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can, cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours.
4 Proceed with any recipe below, or wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
To make this dough by hand: Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add 1 cup water and: the 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time; when the mixture becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little flour as possible-just enough to keep the dough from being a sticky mess. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about 10 minutes. Proceed as above.
To make this dough with a standing mixer: The machine must be fairly powerful or it will stall. Combine half the flour with the salt, yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 cup water; blend with the machine’s paddle. With the machine on slow speed, add flour a little at a time, until the mixture has become a sticky ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (switch to die dough hook if necessary). Knead for a minute by hand, adding as little flour as possible, then proceed as above.
1998 Mark Bittman