Here it is folks. Here it is! What exactly is here you ask? Let me tell you. Pizza dough. Yup. Homemade, fresh, tasty, free of funky, fake ingredients, pizza dough. Can you smell it? Mmm, is there anything better than the smell of fresh dough? Actually there is. That would be fresh dough baking in the oven. Now *that* is as good as it gets right there.
I have tried several different pizza dough recipes over the years and I’ve run into the same problem with all of them. They suck. Too blunt for you? Sorry ’bout that. You go right ahead and get over that and we can move on. It seems that people think pizza dough doesn’t matter, so who cares what it tastes like. Well I care, and the dough, which eventually is going to be the crust for my cheesy, saucy, meaty creation should taste good, not just hold up the toppings so the bottom of my oven doesn’t catch fire from all the meat and cheese grease. Wouldn’t you agree?
For years I used frozen doughs, boxed dough mixes. I have no idea why I would shy away from making my own. It’s not like working with yeast is scary. I guess I just figured that working with yeast meant that the entire process was going to take fer-evah, and who wants to take fer-evah just to make some dough? I know I don’t. I’d rather take forever chopping veggies into a perfectly shaped dice, or julienne, but I’m strange that way. TSM says I get this look in my eyes when we’re in the produce department and I flash this big, toothy, Cheshire cat-like grin. He thinks it’s because I’m über excited that I’m going to get to chop ALL these fruits and veggies when I get home. Me? I just plead the 5th.
After trying one crappy dough after another I decided to put on my big girl panties and just make my own dough. I mean, for the love of Bea Arthur. It’s.Just.Dough! So I did that, and now I don’t use anything else. Fresh, homemade dough is the way to go. A bonus for making your own dough is that you only need a handful of ingredients. You don’t need 27 hard to pronounce ingredients like the boxed dough mixes, or the processed dough’s-in-a-blue-tube. R.I.P. Doughboy. Who’s giggling now? Muahaaaahhaa. If you want a thicker crust, only divide the dough into 3 or 4 balls versus 6, which will make a thinner crusted pizza.
My final thought on this dough? It’s easy. I actually have three other pizza dough recipes, but this one is the easiest. The others aren’t difficult, but for people who don’t whip out homemade dough on a regular basis, this one is fail proof. Oh, and if you make this and you do fail at it, I want pictures and a play-by-play of what you did, because after I get done laughing
at you I want to help you figure out what the heck ya did. Oh crimany, I’m kidding. I won’t laugh AT you. I’ll laugh with you. Unless you’re crying. Then I’ll just pour you a vodka and hand you a tissue. There, there.
Oh! Before I forget. I’ll be including my pizza sauce recipe within the next few days as well. I felt having the dough recipe was important, so I’m starting with this first. Be on the look-out for my pizza recipe though. Don’t make me beg. If I have to get down on my knees, you’re driving up here to help me get back up! I often double this recipe and divide the dough into 4-5 evenly sized balls of dough and I freeze each ball, sandwiched between two sheets of parchment paper and place the fresh ball of dough into a zipper top bag. I’ve frozen these for up to 3 months without having any issues. Once ready to use, simply bring to room temp in the fridge over night and they’ll be ready to use the next day. If still slightly frozen, you can keep them at room temp for up to 90 minutes, since they have to rest at room temp for at least 30 minutes prior to being rolled out anyway.
Fail-Proof Organic Pizza DoughRecipe adapted from: The Barefoot Contessa Makes: Six 8-inch pizzas Time: 20 minutes Inactive Prep: 3-4 hours
- 1-1/2 cups warm water (make sure digital thermometer inserted into water reads 100-110 degrees)
- 4-1/2 teaspoons OR 2 packages dry yeast. I use this brand: Bob’s Red Mill– So I use 4-1/2 tsp.
- 1-1/2 TB organic honey.
- 4 TB (real) high quality Olive Oil
- 4 cups organic AP flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- Combine the water, yeast and honey into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Give the mixture a quick stir with a spoon to ensure the yeast hasn’t glopped at the bottom of your mixing bowl.
- Add 3 TB of the olive oil to the mixture in the bowl.
- When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of the flour, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Mix on medium-low speed.
- If needed, while mixing, add up to 1 additional cup of flour or just enough to make a soft dough.
- Knead the dough (with your mixer, not your hands) for about 7-10 minutes or until smooth, sprinkling it with flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead it by hand for 1 minute. It should be smooth to the touch and elastic. Shape dough into a large round ball.
- Coat the inside of a large bowl with the remaining TB of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and move the ball around to ensure the entire surface is coated with olive oil.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. (I put mine on top of the fridge where it’s nice and warm)
- After the dough has been resting for 30 minutes, turn the dough onto a cutting board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- After the dough has rested a second time, either use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 hours, OR place into a zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. If you freeze your dough, thaw it in the fridge and them bring it to room temperature before working with it to make a crust.
- IF YOU CHILLED THE DOUGH IN THE FRIDGE: let it come to room temperature first- then proceed to step 11.
- IF USING IMMEDIATELY: Using your hands, press, stretch and manipulate the dough into an 8-inch circle. You may also use a rolling-pin.
Here is where you can do a couple of different things. I like to use a pizza stone. And, I also like to get it screaming hot. I put the stone in a cold oven and set my oven temp to 425-450 degrees. I have no idea why I can’t decide which temperature I like more. I’ve used both with success so pick one and give it a whirl. Once the oven is preheated, I wait another 10 minutes to ensure the stone is hot.
I have my pizza dough rolled out and ready to go. When I remove the pizza stone from the oven, I sprinkle some corn meal onto the stone, and I place my dough onto the stone. I dock it several times with the tines of a fork (poke holes in it) and I pre-bake it for 5-9 minutes. Just depends. Then I remove the crust from the oven, (while still on the stone) and top it with sauce, meats, cheese and bake it until GBD. Say it with me. Golden Brown Delicious!
The other way you can do this is once you’ve rolled out your dough, place dough rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet, top with sauce and toppings and bake unit done. If you are a bit of a topping cow, I’d prebake the crust first so that you don’t end up with burnt cheese and a raw crust while you wait for that crust to bake through. Burnt food is not good food. Trust me on this one.
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