Homemade pizza dough is so easy to make! This recipe creates the most perfect chewy, fluffy, and airy pizza crust. Use it for strombolis, cheesy bread sticks, garlic knots, and more!
Trevor grew up eating pizza on Fridays with his family, and he wanted to carry out this tradition at home. We love ordering a meat lover's Sicilian pie from our local pizza restaurant, but naturally I wanted to discover how to make restaurant quality pizza at home.
I literally spent months making...I don't even know, probably close to 100 pies to come up with the best pizza dough recipe EVER!
Most recipes use the same basic ingredients, but I realized that it's less about the ingredients and more about the TECHNIQUE in which you make the dough and HOW you bake the crust.
I'll be sharing my tips on how to create the best fluffy, crispy, and chewy dough that's so good you might as well open your own pizzeria.
How to Make Pizza Dough
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine flour, salt, and yeast. Add water and knead on low speed for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly tacky. If the dough is too dry or sticky, add more water or flour (respectively) one tablespoon at a time.
- Knead by hand: Mix flour, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add water and mix with your hands or a spoon until crumbly. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Knead using a food processor: Mix the dry ingredients then while the motor is running, pour in the water and knead until the dough comes together. 1 minute or less!
- Place the dough in a large bowl and lightly coat the dough in olive oil. Cover and let it rest for 2 hrs. or until it doubles in size.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball by folding the sides of the dough towards the center. Repeat until you form a round ball with tension, about 5 times, then pinch the seam together at the bottom. Cover and let it rest for 1 hour.
How to Form Pizza Crust
Lightly dust the dough ball with flour. Press into the dough with your fingers to form a 1 inch border for the crust.
Press the center to flatten the dough. Place the dough over your knuckles and gently stretch and rotate the dough into a circle.
Secrets for the Best Pizza
- Use bread flour. Higher gluten content = fluffy, chewy, crispy crust.
- Let the dough rise twice.
- Crank up the heat. Set your oven to the highest possible temperature. I bake mine at 550˚F.
- Use a pizza stone or steel for a crispy crust.
- Preheat the oven and baking stone or steel for 30 mins or more.
- Don't use a rolling pin. You spent all that time resting the dough to create air bubbles, don't deflate them with a rolling pin. Use your hands and knuckles to gently stretch the dough just like the pros.
- Don't overload with sauce and toppings.
- Use parchment paper to help transfer the pizza from the peel to the oven.
- Let the dough ferment for 1-3 days.
Types of Flour: All Purpose, Bread Flour, 00 Flour
All purpose flour works, but for pizza dough I recommend using bread flour for its higher gluten content. Gluten makes the dough crispier, chewier, stretchier, and fluffier, perfect for the ultimate pizza crust.
00 flour has slightly less gluten than bread flour and is finely milled, almost like baby powder. It's the perfect flour to use for classic Neapolitan style pizza as it results in a lighter crust.
I tested the dough with 00 flour and noticed a slight difference in the taste and texture. Unless you have an oven that can go 800°F and over, I found that it's difficult to get the same leopard crust effect.
Save the 00 for silky homemade pasta.
Bread flour is the way to go for homemade pizza.
Let the dough rise twice to create a stronger gluten structure, which results in a fluffy crust and stretchy dough.
Why a Pizza Steel is Worth It
You don't need a pizza stone or steel but I highly recommend it. They retain heat and mimic a traditional brick oven to create a perfectly crispy crust.
I prefer a pizza steel over a pizza stone. Compared to a pizza stone, a pizza steel:
- Is easier to clean. If cheese spills over or oils from pepperoni drop on your pizza stone, it will stain and the oils will penetrate into the stone. It's really hard to clean off!
- Is less likely to smoke up your home. Those residual oils trapped in the stone will generate smoke at high heat in your oven.
- Requires less time to preheat.
- Doesn't crack.
- Transfers more heat to the pizza crust, faster. If you want a crispy crust, this is how you get it!
- Can be used as a griddle on the stove. Double duty!
- Is easier to maintain. To maintain a pizza steel, completely dry it after cleaning and season it occasionally to prevent rusting. The maintenance is similar to a cast iron pan.
Baking steels are more expensive than stones, but as you can see they're totally worth it.
To use a baking stone or steel, place it on the middle rack of your oven and preheat the oven to the highest temperature. Let the stone/steel preheat for 30 minutes or more.
Don't Overload with Sauce and Toppings
I'm guilty of saucy pizzas and lots of toppings. This is another do as I say and not as I do. LESS IS MORE! Excess sauce, cheese and toppings can weigh down the pizza and prevent a crispy crust from forming and result in a messy pizza. If you want to load up on toppings, make a thicker crust Sicilian style pizza.
Parchment Paper to Transfer
There are so many factors that can cause the pizza to stick to the peel: moisture from the dough, too many toppings, or moving too slowly. To combat this, place your pizza on parchment paper so you don't have to rush the shaping and topping processes.
Bake the pizza for 2 minutes and then remove the parchment paper. If you leave the parchment paper in the oven, steam gets trapped between the pizza and the steel and prevents a crispy crust from forming. Using parchment paper is my preferred method since it's less stressful and the parchment paper can be used as a "plate" to serve your pizza.
Instead of parchment paper, dust the peel with flour and work quickly or use a combination of flour and semolina or corn meal. The semolina and corn meal act as "balls" to slide the pizza off the peel.
Ferment for 1-3 days
Store the pizza dough in the fridge for 1-3 days. This slows the fermentation process and results in more flavor and better texture. When you're ready to make pizza, remove the dough from the fridge and shape it into a ball. Let it rest covered at room temperature for one hour before shaping the crust.
How many pizzas can this recipe make?
This recipe makes a large 14 inch pizza or two small 10 inch pizzas. You can also make a 9"x13" thick crust pizza. To make a thick crust pizza, add 2 tb of oil to a baking pan and stretch out the dough to fit the pan evenly. Parbake the crust for 10 minutes then add desired toppings and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
Do I need a pizza stone or steel?
No, you don't need a pizza stone or steel to make pizza. Use a baking sheet or round pan at the highest temperature your oven will go. A cast iron pan will also work amazingly.
Can I freeze the dough?
Yes, freeze up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove the dough from the fridge one hour before baking to shape it into a ball and come to room temperature.
How do I reheat pizza?
The best way to reheat pizza is on a skillet on medium low heat with a lid so the crust crisps up and the cheese melts.
Homemade Pizza Dough
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- olive oil optional
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine bread flour, salt, and yeast. Then add water and knead on low speed for 5-10 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough should be smooth and slightly tacky. If the dough is too dry or sticky, add more water or flour (respectively) a tablespoon at a time.
- Place the dough in a large bowl and lightly coat the dough in olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 2 hours or until it doubles in size. Optional for more flavor: refrigerate for 1-3 days.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball by folding and pinching the sides of the dough towards the center. Repeat 5 times until you form a round ball with tension. For two small pizzas: cut the dough in half then form into two small balls. Cover with an upside down bowl or plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hr.
- While the dough is resting, preheat the pizza stone or steel at 550˚F.
- Shape and stretch the pizza dough leaving a 1 inch crust. Top with desired toppings and bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust is crisp and golden brown.
- Preheat the pizza stone or steel for 30 minutes or more.
- Bake at the highest temperature in your oven for a crispy crust.
- Use parchment paper to help transfer the pizza from the peel to the baking stone or steel. Remove the parchment paper after 2 minutes of baking.
- If not using parchment paper, dust your pizza peel with flour, cornmeal, or semolina flour.