You may have wondered how you can make pizza dough at home. I bet you have your favorite pizza recipe you have been dying to make. It is a lot of fun to make homemade pizzas from scratch and it isn’t difficult to do at all. Armed with a food processor or a good pair of hands and you can make a wonderful easy pizza dough recipe.
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DIY Pizza Dough from Scratch is Easy!
I think one of the largest misconceptions about making your pizza dough from scratch is that it is difficult to do. It really isn’t difficult at all. If you have a refrigerator on hand, which we all do, you can make this ahead of time and pull it out when you are ready to make your own pizzas.
I have always hated the pizza dough you can get in a can because it tastes weird. Making food from your kitchen is always better than buying something that is pre-made.
I personally really like to replace pre-packaged and processed foods with homemade alternatives. You can save a lot of money by doing this. You also know exactly what is in your food, so you don’t have to worry about ingredients that you have no idea what they are.
Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe Ingredients
To make pizza dough from scratch, you will need:
- Active dry yeast
- Water (both warm and room temperature)
- Olive oil
- Bread flour
- Non-stick spray or vegetable oil like canola
Recipes with yeast can be intimidating for some people, but there is no need to feel that way. Just follow the directions, and you’ll be fine.
Bread flour is not the same as all-purpose flour and doesn’t give you the same results. You can use AP flour in a pinch, but the crust won’t have the classic pizza texture.
Check out the “Best Flour for Homemade Pizza Dough” section to learn why it matters.
Best Flour for Homemade Pizza Dough
The ideal flour for making pizza is bread flour because it has more protein. More protein means more gluten and lighter and crispier crusts.
How to Make Pizza Dough From Scratch
Pizza dough is so easy to make. And once you have your dough made, you have three options for using the pizza dough. You can use it immediately, within a couple of days, or you can freeze it for later.
Mixing the Dough
- Place some warm water and yeast in a bowl and whisk to combine. Allow the yeast to proof. It will bubble up and become active.
- Add room temperature water and oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
- Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Turn on the processor and pour the yeast mixture through the processor tube.
- Process until the dough forms a ball and is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough ball in a bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size.
Kneading the Dough
Proper kneading technique is essential for a quality pizza crust. But, don’t worry, there is nothing complicated about kneading.
Some people use a stand mixer for kneading the dough, but the best way of doing it is by hand. Not only does hand-kneading allow you to feel when the dough is ready, but it also creates better results.
If you make bread at home, you already know how to knead pizza dough, but for a complete beginner, try the following steps:
- Lightly dust your work surface and hands with bread flour.
- Put the dough on the counter and cup your hands around. Move the dough in a circular motion to form a ball.
- Use the heels of your hands to push the dough forward, forming a long, cylindrical shape. Fold the edge of the dough back until both sides meet.
- Repeat once more and then rotate the dough a quarter-turn.
- Continue to repeat until the dough reaches the correct elasticity, about 8 to 10 minutes.
You will know that you kneaded the dough enough when the surface is smooth and springy. If you press on the dough with your fingertips, the indentation will slowly disappear.
It isn’t easy to over-knead the dough by hand. Therefore, if you are on the fence about whether you kneaded it long enough, add an extra minute or two.
Let the Dough Rise
To make good pizza dough takes proper technique and lots of time. You can’t rush the process. Luckily, most of the time is hand-off during the initial rise and the final proofing of the dough.
The first rise is where the dough will increase the most in volume.
- Grease a large mixing bowl and plop the dough inside it.
- Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Set in a warm place for about two hours until the size almost doubles, but before any air bubbles pop.
After dividing the dough into enough for individual pizzas, you can proof the dough. A good way to develop a better flavor is to proof overnight in the fridge.
- Place the pre-portioned dough balls in a greased container and cover the container with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator at least an hour before using.
Punching the Dough
After the first rise, the dough has expanded, and there are a lot of trapped gases inside. Punching the dough releases the gases.
- Make a fist and push it into the center of the dough ball to deflate it.
- Fold the edges of the dough into the center.
- Remove from the bowl and knead it a few times before dividing.
Rolling and Forming the Dough (technique, thickness, shape)
Forget the fancy flipping and use the stretching method to form the dough into the base for your pizza. To do this:
- Place a ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface.
- Use your hands to flatten the dough into a thick disc.
- Press the dough down in the center with your fingertips to form a half-inch crust.
- Carefully lift the dough from the counter and gently stretch the dough into a pizza using the back of your hands.
How to Make Pizza Dough Crispy
It makes no sense to learn how to make pizza dough from scratch if it isn’t crispy. One of the best ways to turn beautiful pizza dough into a soggy mess is by overloading it with tomato sauce and toppings.
Remember, you want to taste the crust when eating pizza, so don’t go topping crazy.
How to Store Pizza Dough
So after you have prepared your dough you can store it to use later. You can either freeze your pizza dough or you can put it in the refrigerator.
Personally, I love storing the dough in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I had a pizza party recently and we grilled up all sorts of pizzas.
I didn’t want to have to work a lot on the day of the party so I made my dough ahead of time. So right before the party I just needed to slice up a few ingredients and we were able to enjoy making up pizzas.
Which method should you choose? It depends on when you are going to prepare your pizzas.
- If you are planning to use your dough within 3 days, the refrigerator should be fine.
- If you want to use it later, you can freeze your dough for up to a month.
How to Refrigerate Pizza Dough
Once the dough has been kneaded, simply place it in a large sealable plastic container with a lid that has been sprayed with some non-stick spray.
You will need to let the dough warm-up for about 15 minutes before using it. The longer you leave the dough on the container, it will expand, you may need to punch down the dough.
Some pizza parlors think this slow rise process is where the dough really gets the flavor.
How to Freeze Pizza Dough
Divide out the dough into the desired portions. This recipe will make three medium-sized pizzas.
- Place the dough into a zip-top bag that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Seal the bag, and freeze the dough for up to a month.
- You will need to allow the dough to thaw for at least 30 minutes before using.
How to Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough
People thaw frozen pizza dough in several ways, but the best method requires a bit of planning.
- Remove the ball of pizza dough from the freezer and put it in a large bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow the dough to expand. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- Try thawing in a cold water bath if you need to defrost the dough more quickly than that. Place a large bowl in the sink and fill it with cold water. Put the frozen dough ball in a waterproof bag and submerge it in the water. It should take anywhere from one to two hours.
Transfer the thawed dough to the counter to allow the dough to come to room temperature before using. Remember, keep the dough covered to prevent drying.
Pizza Dough from Scratch Tips
- Try to use bread flour, it will give you a more chewy and crispy crust. You can use regular all-purpose flour, too, but if you happen to have bread flour on hand use this instead for better results.
- To really get your dough to stretch out well while rolling it out, let it rest a couple of times. This will let the dough relax and then you can continue to stretch it out even more.
- Fingertips and hands do a better job in rolling out your dough than a rolling pin. If you use a rolling pin, the dough may become tough, if you process it too much. Ideally, touch the dough as little as possible when stretching it out.
- Resist the urge to add extra flour in the dough when working with the dough. It is ok if your dough is sticky.
Basic Pizza Dough Toppings
Now that you have made delicious pizza dough, you need to top it with delicious ingredients, here are some suggestions.
- Pizza sauce
- Different types of cheeses like Mozzarella, Gouda, Cheddar
- Fresh herbs like basil
- Meats like cooked sausage, pepperoni, cooked chicken breasts, or even cooked ground beef
- Fresh vegetables like sliced onions, sliced green bell peppers, chopped garlic, olives, sliced mushrooms and so much more
How to Bake Pizza Dough
Now after you choose your toppings, you will simply bake your topped pizza with your favorite ingredients. You will place it into a 400-degree oven and bake for 13 to 17 minutes. You may want to bake your pizza on a pizza pan or a pizza stone.
Have left over pizza dough?
I recommend making Rosatti’s Dough Nuggets. Pizza dough is deep fried in small bite-size pieces and coated with a garlic butter sauce, and topped with Parmesan cheese.
Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe FAQs
I get a lot of questions. Let me answer them.
Do I have to use yeast?
Yes, you must use yeast. Do not use baking soda, or baking powder, it will not make pizza dough.
I am going to freeze the pizza dough, do I need to let it rise first?
No, knead it for about 30 seconds, then wrap it and freeze the pizza dough.
Now that you have made the best pizza crust ever, let’s try some delicious pizza recipes!
- Buffalo Chicken Pizza
- CPK BBQ Chicken Pizza
- CPK Thai Chicken Pizza
- Cherry Pie Pizza
- Chocolate Pizza
- Formaggio Pizza
- Margherita Pizza
- Thanksgiving Pizza
- Uno’s Pizza
Easy Homemade Yeast Bread Recipes
Homemade Pizza Dough
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/8 teaspoon active yeast 1 package of instant yeast
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups bread flour 22 ounces bread flour plus more for working the dough
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- non-stick spray
- Place the 1/2 cup of warm water and yeast together in a medium bowl and whisk together briefly. Allow the yeast enough time to bubble up and become active, this should take a few minutes.
- If the yeast is inactive, you may need to replace the yeast and try again. Add room temperature water and oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Into a food processor bowl pour in flour and salt, pulse to combine. Add yeast, olive oil, and water through the tube of the food processor and process.
- The dough will form into a ball. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky if you are going to use the dough immediately or within a few days place into a bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, cover dough with plastic wrap. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, this may take up to 2 hours.
- If you are going to freeze the dough you will need to turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds before preparing the dough for the freezer and then wrap it tightly for the freezer to use later.
- You will need to let it rise when you remove frozen dough from the freezer. Again, You do not need to let the dough rise before placing into the freezer. It can rise after you remove it from the freezer.
- Now after you choose your toppings, you will simply bake your topped pizza with your favorite ingredients, and you will place it into a 400-degree oven and bake for 13 to 17 minutes.