There's something magical about the aroma of fresh-baked pizza, filling the air with a tantalizing mix of dough, cheese, and savory toppings. While ordering pizza from your favorite joint might be convenient, there's no denying the unparalleled satisfaction of crafting your own homemade pizza from scratch. And what's the foundation of every great pizza? You guessed it – the pizza dough!
Creating your own pizza dough at home is a delightful adventure that fills your kitchen with joy, sparks creativity, and leaves you with a gratifying sense of accomplishment. From choosing the finest flour to kneading the dough to perfection, this culinary adventure offers endless opportunities for personalization. Whether you're an experienced chef or a dedicated home cook, honing the skill of making pizza dough will take your pizza game to an entirely new and elevated level.
In this blog post, we'll guide you through crafting your pizza dough from scratch and the homemade pizza crust recipe. Many would argue that this is the best pizza dough recipe to make at home. We'll explore the fundamental ingredients, delve into the magical process of fermentation, and reveal some invaluable tips and tricks that will have you creating pizzeria-worthy pizzas right in the comfort of your own home.
Easy Pizza Dough Recipe
1 hour and 30 minutes
1. In a small bowl, combine the warm grass-fed milk and coconut sugar. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then sprinkle the yeast over it. Allow it to rest for approximately 5-10 minutes until it foams up.
2. Combine the all-purpose flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, whisking them together thoroughly.
3. After the yeast mixture becomes foamy, transfer it to the flour and salt bowl. Additionally, incorporate the olive oil into the mixture.
4. Combine all the ingredients until they form a rough dough. Next, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it for approximately 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment to knead the dough.
5. Put the dough into a lightly greased or floured bowl and then cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free area during winter or at room temperature during summer time for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until it has doubled in size.
6. Preheat your oven to 475°F. If you have a pizza stone, ensure to place it in the oven during the preheating process.
7. After the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down to release the air. Then, you can divide the dough ball into four equal portions, perfect for making four small- 12" sized pizzas, two medium pizzas, or keep it intact for a single large pizza. Roll out the dough on a floured surface with either flour or cornmeal and roll out to your desired thickness. You also have the option of using your hand instead if a roller is not available. To stretch by hand, gently pull and stretch the edges of the dough until it reaches desired shape, size, and thickness. It would be best if you pulled gently to prevent any tearing.
8. Move the rolled-out dough onto a pizza peel or pizza pan. You have the option to line it with a baking sheet or parchment paper. Gently pinch the edges of the dough to form a pizza crust.
9. Use a fork and poke a few areas on the dough. This will prevent any bubbling while homemade pizza is baking. Then brush the surface of the dough with extra virgin olive oil.
10. Spread your preferred pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings over the dough. With care, slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone in the oven or directly place the baking sheet on the oven rack. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown and the cheese becomes bubbly and thoroughly melted.
Tips & Notes
Properly Activate the Yeast: Before using the yeast, be sure to check its expiration date to ensure it is still active. When activating the yeast, use warm grass-fed milk (around 110°F or 45°C) with coconut sugar. Warm the milk to a suitable temperature, avoiding excessive heat, as very hot milk can potentially kill the yeast. Let the yeast mixture sit for a few minutes until it becomes foamy, indicating that the yeast is active and ready to use..
Allow Proper Rising Time: Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free location for approximately 1 to 1.5 hours or until it doubles in size during the first rise. If you have the luxury of time, refrigerate it overnight for enhanced flavor development.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.4g
Saturated Fat 1.4g
Total Carbohydrate 61.5g
Dietary Fiber 3.3g
Total Sugars 5.6g
Vitamin D 24mcg
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Knead the Dough Well: Thoroughly kneading the dough is vital for gluten development, resulting in a stretchy, elastic texture. If kneading by hand, aim for about 8-10 minutes of kneading until the dough becomes smooth and bounces back when pressed with your finger. When using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, continue kneading for a similar duration until you attain the same desired texture
Warm the milk: You can either warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove, however, do not bring it to a boil. If you bring the milk to a boil and let it cool, the process will change the enzyme and protein of the milk.
What Ingredients You Will Need To Make This Pizza Dough Recipe
This is the primary dry ingredient in this pizza dough recipe. It provides structure and texture to the dough due to its protein content. The proteins, glutenin and gliadin, form gluten when mixed with water and kneaded, giving the dough its elasticity and chewiness.
If all-purpose flour is unavailable, you can substitute it with bread flour for this pizza dough recipe. Bread flour has a higher protein content, leading to a slightly chewier crust. You can experiment with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend for a gluten-free option, but remember that the texture may vary slightly.
Active Dry Yeast
The yeast is a crucial leavening agent in the dough. It feeds on the sugars (coconut sugar in this case) and produces carbon dioxide gas during fermentation, causing the dough to rise and become light and airy.
If you don't have active dry yeast, you can use instant yeast as a 1:1 substitute for this pizza dough recipe. No need to activate instant yeast before using it; you can simply mix it with the dry ingredients. Please be aware that the rising time may vary slightly.
Salt enhances the pizza dough's flavor and helps regulate yeast activity. It strengthens the gluten structure and improves the overall texture of the crust.
Coconut sugar is an alternative sweetener to traditional sugars like white sugar or brown sugar. It adds a subtle caramel-like flavor to the dough and helps to feed the yeast during fermentation.
As an alternative to coconut sugar, brown sugar can be used. Although the taste may differ slightly, it will still offer the desired sweetening effect.
While most pizza dough recipes call for warm water as the liquid of choice, we recommend using warm grass-fed milk. Using warm milk instead of hot is crucial, as the high temperature can potentially kill the yeast. You should also warm the milk and not bring it to a boil and let it cool. If you let the milk boil, it will change the enzyme and protein content of the milk, which will change the texture of the dough.
Both milk and water can be used to hydrate the dough and activate the yeast, and the choice comes down to personal preference and dietary considerations. Here are some distinct characteristics of the pizza dough, and you can decide which liquid you should go with to make this pizza dough recipe:
Milk adds a mild, creamy, and slightly sweet flavor to the pizza dough, enhancing the overall taste. Conversely, water possesses a neutral flavor and minimally affects the taste of the dough. Using milk can result in a more flavorful crust, especially when combined with other ingredients like coconut sugar, in this case.
Pizza dough made with milk tends to have a slightly richer and tender crumb compared to dough made with water. The fat content in milk contributes to a softer texture in the dough, which can be desirable for those who prefer a more tender crust. While still good, water-based dough might have a chewier and lighter texture.
Due to the sugar content in milk (lactose), pizza dough made with milk may brown more quickly during baking, giving it a slightly caramelized appearance. This contributes to the visual attractiveness of the crust. Water-based dough, lacking the sugars from milk, may not brown as deeply.
Water serves as a suitable replacement for milk for those with lactose intolerance or adhering to a vegan diet. Water-based dough is also a good option for those who prefer a simpler, more traditional pizza crust.
Olive oil enriches the dough, lending it a tender texture, and further assists in achieving a beautifully browned pizza crust during baking.
You can add countless topping options to the pizza crust, and you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand or enjoy. You can utilize store-bought pizza sauce or create your own by combining crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Common toppings include pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese or sliced fresh mozzarella, vegetables, meats, and herbs.
Why Homemade Pizza Dough?
In a world filled with convenience and fast-food options, you might wonder why bother making homemade pizza dough from scratch when you can easily order a ready-made pizza or pick one up from the store. While the allure of convenience is undeniable, there are several compelling reasons why venturing into the realm of homemade pizza dough is well worth the effort. Here are some of the most enticing reasons:
Unmatched Freshness: When you make pizza dough at home, you have complete control over the quality and freshness of the ingredients. You can handpick the finest flour, use premium olive oil, and opt for organic yeast, ensuring that every bite is a burst of unparalleled freshness.
Customization Galore: Homemade pizza dough is a blank canvas waiting to be personalized with your favorite flavors. You can experiment with different types of flour, add herbs and spices, or even infuse the dough with garlic powder for a unique twist. The possibilities are boundless, limited only by your imagination!
Health and Dietary Considerations: By crafting your own pizza dough, you can cater to specific dietary requirements. Whether you prefer whole-grain flour, need a gluten-free option, or wish to reduce sodium content, homemade pizza dough allows you to align the recipe with your nutritional needs.
Artisanal Touch: Making pizza dough from scratch is an artisanal process that connects you to the age-old tradition of bread making. The rhythmic kneading, the rising dough's aroma, and the creation's transformative act elevate the entire cooking experience.
Bonding and Fun: Crafting homemade pizza dough can be a fantastic activity to relish with family and friends. Involve your loved ones in the process, and you'll create delicious pizzas, cherished memories, and strong bonds.
Versatility Beyond Pizza: Don't limit yourself to traditional pizzas alone! You can explore a world of culinary delights with homemade pizza dough, from calzones and stromboli to breadsticks and focaccia.
Cost-Effectiveness: Making your own pizza dough can be cost-effective, especially if you plan to make pizza regularly. The initial ingredient investment can often yield multiple batches, making it more budget-friendly in the long run.
Pride in Creation: There's an immense sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from crafting something from scratch and witnessing the transformation of humble ingredients into a delectable culinary masterpiece.
How To Cook Pizza On Pizza Stone
Cooking pizza on a pizza stone is a great way to achieve a crispier crust and evenly cooked pizza. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to cook pizza on a pizza stone:
Preheat the Pizza Stone: Place the pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven. Set your oven to its maximum temperature, usually ranging from 475-500°F (245-260°C). It's essential to preheat the pizza stone along with the oven to ensure it's thoroughly heated.
Prepare the Pizza Dough and Toppings: While the oven and pizza stone are preheating, prepare your pizza dough and toppings. Roll out the pizza dough to your preferred thickness and shape on a lightly floured surface.
Prepare a Pizza Peel or Parchment Paper: To transfer the pizza easily onto the pizza stone, lightly dust a pizza peel (a flat, paddle-like tool used for sliding pizzas in and out of the oven) with flour or cornmeal. Alternatively, you can use parchment paper.
Build the pizza on the Peel or Parchment Paper: Place the rolled-out pizza dough onto the floured pizza peel or parchment paper. Apply your desired pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings. Be cautious not to overload the pizza with too many toppings, as it may complicate transferring it to the stone.
Slide the pizza onto the Pizza Stone: Carefully open the oven and pull out the oven rack with the pizza stone. If you're using parchment paper, carefully slide the entire pizza, along with the parchment paper, onto the hot pizza stone. If using a pizza peel, gently shake it to ensure the pizza is loose on the peel, then slide the pizza directly onto the pizza stone.
Bake the Pizza: Return the oven rack with the pizza stone back into the oven and close the oven door. Bake the pizza for around 10-15 minutes, or until the crust becomes a lovely golden brown and the cheese bubbles and melts enticingly. Remember, the baking time can fluctuate based on your oven's specifications and the thickness of your pizza.
Remove the Pizza: Using the pizza peel or tongs, carefully pull the pizza out of the oven and onto a cutting board or a cooling rack. Allow the pizza to rest for a minute or two before slicing and serving.
Repeat for Additional Pizzas: If you're making multiple pizzas, let the pizza stone reheat for a few minutes before transferring the next pizza onto it.
Cleaning the Pizza Stone: Let the pizza stone cool down completely before cleaning it. Refrain from using soap, as it may be absorbed by the stone and impact the taste of future pizzas. Instead, gently scrape off any stuck-on bits with a spatula, and if necessary, you can rinse the stone with water. Avoid abrupt temperature changes, as they can lead to the stone cracking. It's okay if the stone darkens with use; it's a sign of seasoning.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I make pizza dough in advance?
Yes, pizza dough can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen for later use. Transfer the dough to an airtight container for refrigeration and store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. To freeze the dough, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer-safe bag and store it for up to 1-2 months. When using frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before utilizing it.
How long does pizza dough need to rise?
The rising time for pizza dough varies depending on the homemade pizza dough recipe and the ambient temperature. In this pizza dough recipe, it will take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours for the dough to double in size.
Can I use whole wheat flour for pizza dough?
Certainly, you can use whole wheat flour to create pizza dough. Nevertheless, remember that whole wheat flour has a higher fiber content, which may yield a denser crust. To compensate, you might need to make adjustments to the liquid content and kneading time. Another option is to blend whole wheat and all-purpose flour, striking a balance between flavor and texture.
What's the best way to roll out pizza dough?
To roll out pizza dough, sprinkle a clean surface lightly with flour or cornmeal, and then use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to your preferred shape and thickness. Alternatively, you can stretch the dough with your hands by gently pulling and rotating it.
Do I need a pizza stone to make pizza at home?
Although a pizza stone can contribute to a crispy crust, it is not an absolute requirement. As an alternative, you can use a preheated baking sheet or even a cast-iron skillet.
What's the best way to store leftover pizza dough?
To preserve any leftover pizza dough, place it in an airtight container or wrap it with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Alternatively, freeze the dough for up to 1-2 months.
Can I freeze pizza dough?
Absolutely, you can make the pizza dough ahead of time and freeze it. Once the dough has risen and formed into a ball, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container or freezer bag. Before using, thaw the frozen dough in the refrigerator.
What can I do if the dough doesn't rise?
If the dough fails to rise, the issue could be inactive yeast or improper rising conditions. Verify the yeast's expiration date and ensure that the liquid used for proofing is warm but not overly hot. Additionally, ensure that you let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free environment.