How to Make the Perfect Pizza Dough
How to make the perfect pizza dough
My first real job was at Domino’s. As a 16 year old I spent my days molding the perfect crusts from the premade Domino's dough balls. They were good, and I was a true professional – I could whip up a large pepperoni pizza in 40 seconds. However, there comes a time when you mature from factory-made dough balls and crave something wholesome, natural and unique. So, I moved on from Domino’s to a genuine Italian restaurant. After making dough from scratch professionally and countless amounts of times in my own kitchen, I’d like to share with you the techniques and methods needed to start your own journey as a pizza maker. I hope you can leave this page enriched and ready!
How do I shape pizza crust?
When you think of making pizzas, you probably think of an energetic Italian restaurant where the pizza-makers are flinging the dough in the air. This method totally works – I can tell you that. However, as a novice, its success rate for shaping the perfect pizza is far too low to justify the amount of destruction it causes. You’ll end up with flour in your eyes, dough on the floor, and your kitchen a mess. For this, it's best to stick to a more delicate and precise method that I will describe below (even though throwing dough in the air is so much fun).
To start out, make sure you have a perfect ball of dough. Roll it however you would roll a ball of clay or playdough. Then, smash that ball on your counter to create the start of your flat shape. It helps to transfer it from hand to hand. Once you have the beginning of a flat circle on your designated work space, shape the crust by indenting your circle about ⅓ inch from the edge with your fingertips and flip your creation. Your next step is to make the dough consistent, thin and flat. For this, interlock your index fingers, put your palms firmly on the bottom of the dough and your fingers close to the top edge. Press with your fingers and spread while simultaneously lifting your hands to allow your circle to rotate. Continue until your pizza is your desired size.
What products are useful for making pizza?
For all projects where I need a surface to work on, I like to use HuBee’s silicone baking mat. This thing is huge so it provides ample space for a work surface. Better yet, it has ruled edges and a circular sizing guide in the middle to help you shape the perfect pizza. A large pizza will easily fit on top with room to spare. After using it, it's easy to wash off the excess flour and hang it up to dry.
If you're making pizza dough in bulk, it’s definitely useful to save a few balls for the future. You can freeze them, and the perfect device to put them is HuBee’s freezer containers. The deep ones can store 4 small pizza dough balls or 2 large pizza balls with the handy spacer.
How can I add flavor to my pizza dough?
There are many, many ways! There are different infused oils to try out that boost flavor–rosemary infused oil is absolutely divine in pizza. Herbs and spices work, too. I love adding oregano straight into the dough. Yet, you can get even more creative. Don’t hesitate to put your truffles, cheese, or bacon bits straight into the dough. I’ve even put beer in the mix and would recommend it. There must be a reason the pizza at breweries tastes so good.
Do you need to let pizza dough rise?
Yep! This is an important part of making your pizza. Don’t skip this step, because it's essential for having a perfectly fluffy crust. After mixing up your dough ball, your ball can more than double in size after proofing. If you have a proofing oven, you are familiar with the process. However, if you have never let bread rise before, you can easily keep it in a covered, oiled-up bowl in a cabinet for 40-50 minutes. Make sure your bowl is big, you’ll be surprised by how much it grows!
How to make pizza dough:
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart. I’ve made it countless times and stick to it–but add garlic and other ingredients for an extra kick. It’s the perfect amount of dough for 1 large pizza (14”) or two smalls (10”) :)
- For the dough: 55 minutes (45 minutes for proofing)
- For the pizza to cook: 10-15 minutes in a 450°F oven
- ⅔ cup of warm water
- 2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast (stores will sell packets in this exact amount)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- Beer (just a splash, drink the rest)
- Rosemary infused oil
- In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water with the yeast and sugar. Wait for a few minutes until it's bubbly.
- Add the salt, garlic powder and butter to the yeast water. If adding an infused oil, oregano, or beer, this is when you add your touch. Then, slowly pour the flour into the bowl while mixing until the moisture is absorbed and you have the rough, flaky start of a dough ball.
- Lightly flour a surface, like your silicone baking mat, and transfer your dough onto the surface. Knead until it's a consistent, beautiful dough ball.
- Transfer this into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it and let it sit in your proofing oven or cabinet for 45 minutes. Once the yeast does its magic, your ball will have doubled in size and you are ready to either save it or start pizza making right away.
- When you’re ready, shape your dough ball into your desired pizza shape, load it up with whatever you want and throw it in the oven! Pizzas will cook at different times depending on their size, but usually 450°F for about 10-15 minutes does the job. Lastly, get creative: my favorite pizza to make is with barbecue sauce, basil, chicken, bell peppers and mozzarella. You are the artist when it comes to pizza and anything goes, even pineapple! Enjoy!