Is there really a sure-fire, works-every-time, foolproof pizza dough recipe? Maybe. Probably not. When it comes to baking, the temperature and humidity of any particular day affects the texture and stickiness of the dough as well as the time it takes to rise. Given all the variables, though, I’ve perfected this recipe that works for me every single time. I’ve made it hundreds, maybe even thousands of time. It’s simple, fast, and a tried-and-true method that is as close as it comes to perfect homemade pizza dough every time. And when your dough is proofing, check out some of our favorite pizza topping combinations for your meal.
First steps to “foolproof” dough
First, heat a cup of hot water to 105 – 110 degrees F. (I use the microwave to heat tap water in a glass prep bowl to accomplish this.) Sprinkle 1 packet of yeast (1 tsp or 7 grams) over the water and stir.
Let it sit for several minutes; the yeast will start bubbling.
While the yeast is working …
While the yeast is working, measure 2 cups unbleached white bread flour and 1 cup semolina together into a mixing bowl. [note: this is my favorite blend. It’s light and pliable with a little extra depth from the semolina. I’ve played with spelt and whole wheat flours as well; the dough is quite a bit heavier, but it turns out just as well. You are in good shape if you use 3 cups of bread flour as well.]
Add 1/4 cup good quality olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Pour in the water/yeast mixture, making sure to scrape all the yeast from the sides of the prep bowl. Now, use an electric mixer with a dough hook to work all the ingredients until they come together in a smooth, springy blob. Like this:
Don’t worry if you think you need an extra splash of water or few tablespoons of flour to get just right. Go ahead and add whichever you think you need a very, very little bit at a time. Once it seems perfect, peel your dough from the dough hook, knead it a few times my hand for good measure, and shape into ball. Like this:
The final steps …
Place the dough ball in a large oiled mixing bowl and cover with a clean cloth dishtowel, napkin, or a sheep of waxed paper or parchment paper. NEVER cover with plastic wrap. The plastic traps too much moisture as it proofs, and your dough will become sticky and lose its texture.
Set the bowl in a warm place to rise at least until the dough has doubled. I use my oven’s proofing setting and let it rise for at least several hours. Know that the longer this dough proofs, the better. I start in the morning, punch it down at noon, and let it rise again for a double-proofed dough. You can make it the day before for an extra long proofing time.
This recipe gives us 8 thin, dinner-plate sized pizza crusts, enough for 4 people for an entree. It’s easy to double, but if you need to triple or more, you should make a few batches. Bon appétit!
- 1 cup warm water
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 packet
- 2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 cup semolina
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Measure water into a bowl and heat to 105 - 110 degrees Fahrenheit (that's one minute in my microwave.)
- Sprinkle yeast on top of the water and gently stir. Set aside for a few minutes.
- Next, measure flour, semolina, salt, and olive oil into a large mixing bowl and stir.
- When your yeast and water mixture starts looking creamy, add all at once to the flour mixture.
- Using a bread hook, mix the dough for approximately 5 minutes, or until the dough curls around the bread hook and starts looking shiny.
- Remove dough from the bowl and hand-knead into a ball.
- Place in clean oiled mixing bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel.
- Set the bowl in a warm place and let the dough proof.