We can’t all build a brick oven in the backyard, but you CAN make perfect light and airy pizza at home! It all comes down to the dough…
Making the perfect pizza dough is most certainly a creative act, and for me it has been an obsession. I have experimented for years with different ways of making pizza dough: different flours, yeasts, resting time, kneading techniques, no-knead dough… A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to publish a pizza dough that was easy to make and would yield the results you might expect from a top pizzeria. So I rolled up my sleeves, read as much as I could on the chemistry of yeast and flour, and made dough – lots of dough.
This pizza dough recipe is the result of all my research and experiments (failures too!), and I must say that I am extremely excited to finally publish it.
To make a restaurant-style thin-crust pizza, the dough needs to have the right consistency (that is, slightly sticky) and the oven needs to deliver tons of heat. In the step-by step video, I address both of these issues in depth. So be sure to watch.
Two great flour options: the old standby, Tipo “00”, or the “King” of bread flours!
And of course, let’s not forget about the flour! This recipe calls for either bread flour (I use King Arthur’s) or Caputo Tipo “00” Pizza Flour. Both flours yield superb crusts that are almost identical in texture and flavor, with the “00” flour delivering a slightly more refined pizza.
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves? I am… Let me show you how to make the perfect pizza dough, and then shape it into the most delicious thin-crust pizza!
makes 2 large pizzas
active time: 30 min
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm spring water (temperature between 105°F and 115°F) (41ºC and 46ºC)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/4 cups (11 oz) (310 g) unbleached bread flour or “00” flour for pizza
- Step 1: Place the yeast and sugar in a medium bowl. Pour the warm water over it and whisk until the yeast dissolves. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. When the yeast activates (it’ll start to bubble up to the surface), whisk in the salt and olive oil. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Turn dough over on your work surface and start kneading it. In the beginning, the dough will be sticky. If it sticks a little to the counter top, that’s fine. Try to knead a little faster to prevent it from sticking. If it sticks a lot, add as little flour as you can to prevent it from sticking to the counter top too much. A slightly sticky dough will yield a wonderfully light pizza crust, so this is a crucial step. Don’t add too much flour or the dough will be firmer and harder to shape, and the crust will be stiff. Continue kneading the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Roll dough in flour until well dusted and place in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place in a warm place (75°F to 80°F) (24ºC to 27ºC) and allow dough to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size. (If the ambient temperature is lower than 75°F (24ºC), it could take 15 to 30 minutes longer for the dough to double in size.)
- Step 2: Punch down dough and scrape it off the bowl. Cut dough in 2 equal parts and shape each into a ball. Roll each ball in bread flour and place each ball into a gallon-size plastic bag. Seal the bag, leaving plenty of room for the dough to expand, and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 36 hours, until ready to make your pizzas.
- Step 3: Place the pizza stone in the oven, on a rack located at the bottom third of the oven. (The stone should be about 9” from the roof of the oven.) Set the oven to 500°F (260°C) and preheat for 30 minutes. Then, without opening the oven, turn it off and turn on the broiler to high heat. Preheat broiler for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal or bread flour and set aside. Take one piece of dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle top and bottom with a little flour. Gently stretch the dough into an 8″ circle. Next, grabbing the edges of the dough, work your way around the outside edge, stretching it as you go. When the dough is stretched into a 16″ circle, place on the prepared pizza peel. Sprinkle dough with your toppings of choice. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone by giving it a quick jerking movement and then gently shaking the peel to loosen the pizza. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes until the crust is browned on the edges. Slide the pizza back onto the peel and serve immediately. Keep the broiler on and make the 2nd pizza.
- Don’t bring the dough to room temperature before shaping it. Only take it out of the refrigerator when you’re ready to make your pizza. A cooler dough will be easier to work with. And anyway, your hands will warm that dough up pretty fast!