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Pizza Dough

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

You can make four pizzas, as described below, or you can divide the dough in half and make two large 12-inch pizzas. The baking time will be the same. Chopped fresh basil, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes can be added to the dough with the flour, if desired, for additional flavor. Be creative with your pizzas! For the best results, see "Pizza Tips" in the Notes section.

Pizza Tips

1. In step 4, if you wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate, make certain that you wrap each ball of dough loosely but completely. Since you are working with a yeast dough, the dough will expand as it stays in the refrigerator. If it is not wrapped well, the dough will ooze out of its wrapping and harden. You may want to enclose the dough in a resealable plastic bag.

2. Make certain that you stretch or rollout the dough on a floured surface, preferably on a baker's peel, a rimless flat baking tray, or a very wide spatula that you are using to transfer the pizza to the oven.

3. Have all the ingredients ready so that you can arrange them on the pizza dough at serving time. At the restaurants we place the ingredients in separate bowls so that they are easily available when we need them.

4. In order to make the very best pizza possible, you'll need to have a mixer with dough hook (or food processor), a pizza stone, a baker's peel, a rimless baking tray or very wide spatula, and a pizza cutter or Large sharp knife.

5. Make certain that the ingredients that have been sautéed are not hot when you arrange them on the pizza. This will soften the dough, and if the dough gets too soft it will be difficult to release it from the peel to the oven. Put the toppings on the pizza dough just before transferring it to the oven.

6. My recipes recommend an oven temperature of 500°F. If your oven thermostat does not reach 500°F., preheat it to the highest possible temperature.

7. Check the pizza after 10 minutes, since every oven bakes differently, and if it is not browned enough, continue to bake 1 or 2 minutes longer.

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Cooking for a date, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer, food processor

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturechewy, crisp

Type of Dishpizza

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry or fresh yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup warm water (105°F. to 115°F.)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or Chili and Garlic Oil, plus more for brushing
  • Topping of your choice

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in ¼ cup of the warm water.

  2. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, your mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. (The pizza dough can also be made in a food processor. Dissolve the yeast as above. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball.)

  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled.)

  4. Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

  5. Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F.

  6. To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough. Lightly brush the inner circle of the dough with oil and arrange the topping of your choice over the inner circle.

  7. Using a lightly floured baker's peel or a rimless flat baking tray, slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife. Serve immediately.

  8. To Prepare Ahead: Through step 4. When ready to serve, remove the balls of dough from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then continue with the recipe. Through step 7, bake 5 or 6 minutes, until the cheese melts and the pizza dough is lightly golden brown. (At this point, the pizza can be cooled, wrapped well, and frozen for up to 1 month.) When needed, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and bake in a preheated oven until the crust has browned and the topping is heated through.

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