One of the first recipes I knew I had to make sure I had down pat was pizza dough. Pizza is a staple in most households because it’s basically fool proof. Take some store bought dough, place it on a tray and top it with some delicious toppings. Voila.
Sometimes though those store bought dough’s can taste off and you wish you had that restaurant style pizza or more of a fresh feeling. That’s where homemade dough comes in. It gives that ultra fresh, preservative free feeling that makes the pizza taste incredible.
This recipe calls for less than ten ingredients, and all of it adds up to make a perfect, puffy pizza dough. It requires a lot of kneading with your hands and some freehand guessing (the guessing is mostly the flour to stickiness ratio, I’ll explain further down!).
The TIMING of everything is what is important here. Don’t rush the process or the dough won’t turn out quite as nicely as you would hope. It takes time to create beauty!
Looks disgusting right? I’ll admit the photo doesn’t look really that appetizing. This is a warm water, yeast and brown sugar combination. Allow for the yeast and brown sugar to sit for ten minutes in the borderline hot water. On this particular day, I used bread machine yeast because it’s all I had but I’ve also had success with the instant yeast in the past. I’m sure regular yeast would work too as long as it was given ample time to rise.
Next you add the olive oil and salt to the yeast and sugar solution. Still not looking appetizing? Yeah.
Next you mix in two and a half cups of flour into the bowl. It’s going to be a sticky, nasty mess. Take it out of the bowl onto a well floured counter and start kneading in some more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. This is where the guessing comes into play. I’ve used 3 1/4 cups of flour all the way up to almost 4 cups of flour total depending on the day. The recipe ends up calling for 3 1/2 but if you need a bit more it’s ok. Knead knead knead! Don’t forget to clean out the bowl and then add a thin layer of oil around the entire bowl. I use a brush or a piece of paper towel if I’m in a pinch.
Once your dough is no longer sticky, create a round shape by bringing in the sides of the dough ball and folding them underneath. The top should be a smooth elastic type of feeling! Place it into the greased bowl, and set on top of a stove or counter.
I have an overhead microwave with a light that emits the teeniest bit of heat from the light bulb. I usually place my dough underneath it to encourage to rise. Yeast loves heat! I have also placed it on a counter top in the sun if possible, but I have made pizza dough successfully on a rainy day. Usually pizza dough takes an average of an hour to rise nicely, but this particular day I left it for two while I took the kiddos outside and it rose beautifully.
Two hours later I came to check on the dough and it was perfect. Beautiful and poofy, just the consistency that we want.
Awesome. The dough looks promising now huh?! Big difference from the first photo of the process. Make sure your counter has a flour coating on it before you take the dough out of the bowl! Flatten it out with your hands, flip it over and continue flattening it. I find hand flattening easier than the rolling pin, but you can use either. Once it’s flattened a bit, lift it gently using your hands and transfer it onto a greased pizza tray. This recipe makes a typical “large” 14 inch pizza. Stretch the dough using your hands, and continue flattening it into a circle shape around the tray.
The finished product! Looks good huh? Now all you have to do is top it with your favourite toppings and you’re all set to serve your homemade pizza from scratch. The dough is done whenever the bottom of it begins to be golden brown. Here’s how I decorate my pizza if you need inspiration!
Incredibly Easy Pizza Dough
- 1 1/2 cups of warm, borderline hot water
- 2 1/4 tsp of yeast (see notes)
- 1/2 tsp of brown sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus a bit more to grease bowl
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 cups of flour (see notes)
1. Add water, brown sugar and yeast to a large mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Do not rush this!
2. Add olive oil and salt to mixture.
3. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of flour. Sprinkle the counter with a bit more flour, and take the dough out of the bowl. Give the mixing bowl a quick rinse and grease with remaining olive oil, or get another similar sized mixing bowl and grease it. Set aside.
4. Mix in the remaining amount of flour into the dough, kneading it with your hands. Continue adding flour until dough is no longer sticky.
5. Pull dough into a ball, and tuck dough underneath to create a smooth elastic surface in the top.
6. Set in the center of the bowl and cover with a dish towel. Place under a heat source if possible (like the sun or a light under a microwave). If not, just leave on the counter to rise. Let dough rise about two hours.
7. After two hours, remove dough and place on a floured counter to flatten. Using your hands, begin flattening the dough down. Flip over and continue flattening on the other side.
8. Place the dough onto a greased pizza tray (mine is 14″ roughly in diameter), and continued flattening and shaping to create the shape of the baking tray.
9. Decorate the pizza however you like! Dough is finished when the underside is beginning to be golden brown.
- I have successfully used both instant and bread machine yeast for this recipe. Using old fashioned yeast would probably work too, but it may take longer for the dough to rise.
- Use anywhere between 3 1/4 and 4 cups of flour, depending on how sticky your dough is. It will not change the texture or flavor.