This homemade pizza dough is the best! Hands down. Making pizza at home is super easy but you need an amazing pizza crust to start. Learn what flour is the best to use, how to bloom yeast, what equipment you need to make pizza from scratch, and my secret garlic hack that keeps people coming back for more! This is the only pizza dough recipe you’ll ever need.
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As most of you know, I love when my readers/ followers ask me a question concerning something that they’ve been struggling within the kitchen. Even if I don’t know the answer, I know people who do (read this awesome baking interview I did to help answer some of your questions). I got another question a while back and I was waiting for the stars to align just right before I answered it. The question you ask “How do I make pizza at home?”
Now, this reader had some issues with the crust but for the sake of covering all of my bases, I’m going to touch on everything I know to make pizza making at your home a success.
How Do You Make Pizza Dough
Pizza dough is very similar bread dough and in order to make a successful pizza dough, you need a few essential ingredients:
First things first. We need to talk about yeast; yeast is a wonderful and temperamental thing. I talked about dealing with yeast back in my roll post (you really should read it, it’s fantastic!) but one thing that I failed to mention is that yeast has an expiration date.
We may not really think about it but yeast is a living and breathing thing and eventually fades away. Now, to my knowledge, I don’t think it rots… that might be where alcohol comes into play… but after the expiration date, yeast loses its ability to rise and do its job significantly.
Lesson 1: check your yeast best by date
Also, while on the topic of yeast, we need to treat it with care. Store it in a cool place, bloom it in warm water and let it hang out at room temperature to rise. Think of yourself and treat your yeast likewise.
If for whatever reason, you don’t want to use yeast to leaven your pizza dough, you can still get some leavening action by adding baking soda and lemon juice to the dough. For every 1 part yeast in the recipe, you would use 1:1 od baking soda and lemon juice.
Secondly and what might be one of the most important things for a good pizza crust is the amount of gluten built up in the dough. The dough is going to get beat up in order to become the shape it needs to be AND literally be the foundation that holds all of those beautiful toppings. Knead that dough for a good 5-7 minutes. The dough will transform into a lovely shiny-ish ball that is nice and smooth. Then you let it rest.
Unlike other bread doughs, that require hours of resting, you only let pizza rise once for 30 minutes and then it’s good to shape and bake. With other bread doughs, you want a kind of crumb which results from the multiple rises and punches and such. Pizza dough is going to be a sturdy bread so no need to rise and beat down this dough.
What Is The Best Flour For Making Pizza
Some people might argue about whether or not the flour actually matters. I say it does but I think pizza dough is a bit more forgiving than other floured goods.
A lot of pizzerias, (Pizza Hut doesn’t count) I’m talking about like artisan pizza places, use what is called 00 flour. I touched on this point in my homemade pasta post but I think it’s worth bringing up again. 00 flour is a super fine wheat flour with a high gluten content which is super ideal for making pizza. 00 flour is great to use for pizza because it gives us the same durability as bread flour but less crumb than cake flour.
If 00 flour is not readily available OR slightly out of your budget, no worries; bread flour really will be a good substitute for this pizza dough recipe.
How to Store Pizza Dough at Home
Now say that you want to make pizza for dinner later tonight or even tomorrow (because you’re super on top of things and plan ahead), here are a few ways to store pizza dough.
If I were to personally make pizza dough in the morning for dinner tonight, I would just leave it in my fridge in one of these nifty melamine bowls. It comes with its own lid so I don’t have to worry about creepy smells infiltrating my dough.
Refrigerating dough is actually really good for flavor development. Keeping yeast-leavening dough in the fridge retards the development of gases, which causes the dough to rise, which increases a nice wheaty flavor to the dough. I would make the dough as far as 1 day in advance if I was storing in the fridge.
Once you’re ready for the dough, go ahead and pull it out about 1 ½ hours before baking so that the dough can more or less wake up and proof to a giant ball of awesomeness.
You can freeze pizza dough as well, be sure to check out this post for how my friend does it! By the way, her recipe is quite splendid as well!
How to Flavor Homemade Pizza Dough
Sometimes I love just a good ol’ plain pizza crust. But sometimes I like to feel adventurous and flavor my pizza dough.
Usually what you can do is mix together some olive oil and dried herbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic together and with a pastry brush, brush the flavorings all over the pizza crust.
Here is how I do it.
I like to keep it simple really, and it’s something that I learned from a restaurant I worked. On every single flatbread (or pizza) we made, we always spread on a garlic oil on the pizza dough. Like I mean chunks of delicious, raw garlic swimming in extra virgin olive oil. It’s truly something that gives just that little pizazz that leaves everyone wondering why your pizza tastes so good!
So if you have seen my other pizza recipes and wonder why I spread garlic and oil on the bottom, now you know.
How To Cook Pizza at Home
The important thing to remember about baking your pizza crust is that you want it done fast so that it crisps up without the toppings overcooking. You do this by cooking the pizza at a high temperature for a short amount of time. The tricky thing, though, is that most home ovens only go up to 500 degrees.
At one kitchen I worked, we had a wood fire oven and I would keep that baby running at 650 degrees during dinner service so I could kick out flatbreads in 8 minutes (building, cooking, cutting, plating and garnishing 8 minutes; that’s why I’m a ninja). If you happen to have a wood fire pizza oven at home, more power to ya! Crank that baby up and I’ll be at your place for dinner tonight! For those of us that don’t have really cool ovens at home, we have a couple of different options to crisp up our pizza dough without building a fire in our kitchen.
Preheat a baking sheet
This option is for those who really don’t want to or can’t go out and buy special equipment for that one pizza recipe that they want to make at home. If you’re not a huge pizza maker, this might be a good option for you.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with a baking sheet in the middle rack for about 30 minutes. With a slightly smaller baking sheet, build your pizza with the dough covering the whole surface of the baking sheet. When you’re ready to bake your pizza, place the pizza baking sheet on top of the heated baking sheet in the oven. This will kick start the setting process of high heat on your dough and will result in a pretty crispy pizza crust.
I would check the dough after about 10 minutes to see how your dough is looking. If it looks pretty set, pull both baking sheets out and let cool before handling the pizza.
The one con I see to this option that it doesn’t necessarily provide a nice crisp crust. It does take longer to bake than other options we’re going to explore but it is very economical. If you don’t have space or want to make space for special pizza equipment, this is your best bet.
This is probably my favorite option and the one I use. Pizza stones are great because they are built to withstand super high temperatures and with proper preheating, it will act like the stone floor of a wood fire oven, thus resulting in a nice pizza crust. They also cut down on cooking time because they absorb heat so well that it is piping hot when you put your uncooked pizza on top.
As long as you put cornmeal on the stone, your pizza won’t stick which is great. It’s super easy to care for; every so often you have to rinse it off (just water, no soap because it is super absorbent) and place back in your oven. I just leave mine in the oven because I use it a bit often so I don’t worry too much about storage with it.
Depending on the brand, the price will vary. You can get a very economical one and naturally they’ll go up in price depending on the brand. I use this one and have been very happy with it so far. They are heavy and some can be really big. If you do a ton of baking and don’t want to move your stone in and out of the oven, it might not be super ideal for you. I have another option that we’ll explore next.
Now, I follow Joanie Simon and she did this awesome post last summer that included this nifty gadget. This baby sits on top of your grill and gets suuuuuuper hot! It’s like having a brick oven at your house! This thing is pretty cool and it definitely would do the job. If you have an outdoor grill and have extra room in your budget, this is the way to go! Much cheaper than building an oven outdoors to have pizza and way more compact.
There are other types of pizza ovens that you can use indoors, check this one out.
A really nifty tool, no matter if you’re using a pizza stone or a pizza oven, is a pizza peel.
Pizza peels have a beveled edge that helps you to scoot pizzas on to their cooking surface, as well as shimming them back onto the peel once the pizza is done cooking. I use this one and am in love! It’s lightweight, the wood is gorgeous, and it comes with a matching pizza cutter!
No matter what your cooking surface, and I can’t stress this enough, you NEED to use cornmeal to help transfer your pizza.
Cornmeal helps the pizza not stick to any cooking surface that was mentioned above. It’s more ideal than using a dusting of flour because it burns at a higher temperature than wheat flour. Nobody wants the taste of burnt flour on their gorgeous pizza!
Making Pizza At Home
When we go to build our pizza, I know I can get like this sometimes, but we often get a little overzealous with our toppings. Remember, our crust is the foundation but it isn’t made out of steel here. Make sure that your dough has no holes which will cause a laundry list full of problems; from soggy crust to not releasing properly and spilling all of your yummy toppings off of your pizza and on to your oven floor. That’s a mess nobody wants to clean.
Check out these awesome homemade pizza ideas to get your creative juices churning:
- Campfire Pizza with Veggies- Champagne Taste
- White Pizza with Cambozola and Pear- Slow the Cook Down
- Butternut Squash Pizza with Goat Cheese and Fig Jam- I Just Make Sandwiches
- Balsamic Chicken Pizza with Bleu Cheese and Spinach- Pinch Me I’m Eating
- Cheesy Potato Pizza with Thyme- Inside the Rustic Kitchen
- Shrimp and Asparagus Pizza with Romesco Sauce- I Just Make Sandwiches
- Fig, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Pizza with Balsamic Caramelized Onions- Pinch Me I’m Eating
- Pizza on the Grill with Pear, Proscuitto, and Bleu Cheese- Foodie Girl Chicago
- Asparagus Pizza with Dates and Lemon Ricotta- I Just Make Sandwiches
- Basil Pesto Pizza with Mozzarella and Roasted Tomato- Inside the Rustic Kitchen
- A List of Pizza Toppings with Fresh Vegetables- Your Guardian Chef
- Grilled Chimichurri Steak Pizza Recipe- So Fab Food
And there ya have it! This is the wealth of knowledge I have on how to make killer pizza at home! To review, in order to make amazing pizza at home:
- Make sure your yeast isn’t expired and treat it with love.
- Use the right flour. High gluten content is paramount!
- Don’t overload your pizza; less is definitely more in this case.
- Cook high and fast. We want a crisp crust to enjoy with our yummy toppings!
- Use cornmeal to transfer the pizza
If you have enjoyed these tips, and this pizza dough recipe, be sure to leave a comment down below (along with a rating!)
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- ½ T yeast
- 4 ounces warm water
- 7 ounces high gluten flour, either 00 or bread flour
- ½ t salt
- ½ ounce oil
- ¼ ounce honey
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place warm water and yeast inside to bloom. Blooming takes about 5 minutes.
- Weigh out dry ingredients, as well as oil and honey.
- Once yeast is done blooming, add oil and honey first, then the dry ingredients.
- Begin to mix together the dough for 7 minutes, or until a dough ball forms.
- Remove from mixing bowl and allow dough ball to rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes before baking.
if refrigerating dough, refrigerate for no more than 24 hours and pull out of fridge about 1 ½ before baking to allow the dough to wake up.
Amount Per ServingCalories 889Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1175mgCarbohydrates 160gFiber 7gSugar 6gProtein 23g