Mondays are pizza night at Chef V’s house, and Fridays are pizza night at Lexi’s. Paired with a side salad and/or a side of vegetables and fruit, pizza can definitely be part of a well balanced diet. We are big fans of pizza at To Taste, especially when we make Italian pizza dough at home!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
Before cooking, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for this Italian Pizza Dough Recipe
Make sure your yeast is active. After adding warm water and a pinch of sugar, wait for a few minutes, then check that the mixture looks foamy and smells like bread. Use water that is not too hot (<110º F), otherwise you will kill the yeast; you should be able to dip your finger in the water comfortably.
Don’t skimp on the salt! It regulates the dough rise and adds essential flavor.
What’s the best pizza dough flour? We like using double zero “00” from Italy. It is a super fine flour with the perfect protein content to create a deliciously chewy crust.
Use a stand mixer to make pizza dough with ease. Just attach a dough hook and let the mixer do the work! If the dough sticks to the bottom of the mixer, add more flour, a little bit at a time.
The dough should be sticky, but not so sticky that it won’t come off your hands. The amount of flour you will need will depend on the humidity in the air. Mix the dough until you can stretch it without breaking, performing the window test. What’s the window test? Watch here!
Allow the dough time to rise. Be sure to grease the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Choose a warm place, such as a recently used microwave or near a warm oven. A cold oven with the lights on also works well! The dough should double in size. If it doesn’t double, the yeast wasn’t truly active and your pizza crust will turn out dense.
More Tips for After the First Rise
To create pizza dough balls, punch the dough down in the bowl, remove and then divide in half. Round the pieces into balls and pinch the bottoms to seal. Cover completely with a damp towel or plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.
To make transfer and clean up easier, stretch the pizza dough into rounds on parchment paper.
After stretching the dough, add your favorite toppings and cook immediately. If not cooking right away, keep covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap to prevent the crust from drying out.
If you want a very crispy crust and plan to make pizza fairly regularly, consider buying a stone and peel. They aren’t too pricey, and are worth the investment! You too can have Pizza Mondays or Fridays!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute regular olive oil, canola, or avocado. Extra virgin or regular olive oil are best for flavor.
- Honey: substitute agave, sugar, or leave out.
- Bread Flour: 00 flour is best, but regular bread flour will work as well. All-purpose can be substituted, but do not use pastry or cake flour. Whole wheat flour can be substituted for some, but not all, of the bread flour.
Substitute ¼ of the bread flour with whole wheat flour to add some fiber, but be cautious about adding much more. Whole wheat flour requires more water and is harder to work with when making yeast breads, so the recipe will have to be altered.
- KitchenAid Mixer with Dough Hook
- Bench Scraper
- Pizza Peel
- Pizza Stone
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- Parchment Paper
Is Homemade Pizza Dough Healthy?
Pizza gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, but homemade pizza is nothing like the kind that is delivered! Using our homemade dough, you can build a pizza that is much lower in saturated fat and sodium than popular fast food pizza chains. Top your pizza dough with healthy vegetables or serve as part of an overall well-balanced meal.
This recipe includes extra virgin olive oil, but most of its health benefits will come from the toppings!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Marinara sauce is rich in lycopene, a phytochemical that helps protect against heart disease and prostate cancer. (3, 4) Cheese provides a good source of calcium and protein, and vegetable toppings provide fiber and additional disease-fighting phytochemicals.
Serving Suggestions for Homemade Pizza
Stretch out the Italian pizza dough and top with sauce, cheese, and toppings of your choice! You can also use all of the same toppings to fold it into a calzone.
Want something a little different? Stretch the dough into a round and bake without toppings; once cooked, top with hummus and veggies for a mediterranean flatbread. And be sure to use our hummus base recipe as a guide!
How to Store Extra Pizza Dough
If you only want to make one pizza, or want to make the dough in advance, you can freeze it after forming into dough rounds. Wrap the dough balls in plastic wrap, then place in an airtight freezer bag. Use within 3 months. When ready to cook, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then allow it to come to room temperature for 2 hours before stretching.
If you want to make the pizza dough the day before cooking, complete its first rise in the refrigerator overnight. Three hours before baking, allow the dough to come to room temperature for ~2 hours, then form into dough rounds. Complete recipe as instructed.
Need help topping your pizza?
Check out these recipes!
Pizza Base Recipe
Italian Pizza Dough Recipe
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 package)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water (~90ºF)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + a little extra for greasing the bowl
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ½ – 3 cups bread flour (00 recommended)
- Add yeast and sugar to a large (~5 quart) mixing bowl or the bowl of a mixer. Pour 1 cup of warm water into the bowl and allow yeast to proof for 10 minutes.
- Add oil, honey, and salt to the bowl. Then add 2 ½ cups flour. If using a mixer, use the dough hook attachment and mix on low speed for 10 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead until a smooth dough is formed. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not so sticky as to adhere to your hands or stick to the bottom of the bowl. Add more flour as needed.
- After 10 minutes, use the window test to see if the dough is ready – pinch a ping-pong ball-sized piece of dough and see if you can stretch it thin enough to see through it, without the dough tearing. When it’s at this point, it’s done! Remove dough from the bowl and grease the inside of the bowl using a little oil. Add the dough back to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place in a warm area of the kitchen until doubled in size (~1 hour), or place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once dough has completed rising, remove it from the bowl and use a dough cutter to divide into two equal pieces. If dough was refrigerated overnight, let it come to room temperature first (~2 hours) before completing this step. Form the 2 pieces into balls, place on parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and allow to proof (second rise) for 30 more minutes. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 500° F. For an extra crispy crust, place a pizza stone in the preheating oven.
- After 30 minutes, roll or stretch the dough into rounds, approximately 12” in diameter. Place on parchment paper if using a pizza peel to easily slide into the oven or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper if you do not have a pizza stone. Top with your favorite ingredients and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and the crust starts to brown. Enjoy!