The Speckled Palate

November 15, 2011

Homemade Pizza Dough

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I was a kid who always enjoyed a good pizza pie, but I didn’t realize how much I loved pizza and the art of making it until I lived in Italy.

The summer before my senior year of college, I traipsed over to the boot country with about a hundred other art students from the University of Georgia and lived in Cortona, a tiny Etruscan town atop a Tuscan hill. (Yes, it is the town that Under the Tuscan Sun was written in and based on. And yes, I met Frances Mayes while I resided there. And yes, she is awesome.) That summer, I learned of my love for all things Italian. Most every day, I would grab a slice or two of the eggplant pizza from the tiny pizzeria in Piazza della Repubblica before heading back up to the dorms for siesta.

Cortonese pizza! I love you! Get into my mouth NOW!

I also ate the best pizza of my life in Florence at a little place called Semolina when my friend Gabby and I were stranded on the outskirts of the city, unsure how to reach our friends on the other side because there was a cab strike the day we were in Florence. The hotel manager who felt bad for us recommended this little place, and it blew us away. I still have dreams about the veggie pie we consumed there. No joke.

So, needless to say, when the summer was over, I didn’t want to come home because there was absolutely no way I would be able to find Italian food so wonderful in the States.

I went through a phase where I attempted to learn all foods Italian after my summer there, and while my Italian cooking was good, it was never as wonderful as the dishes I loved in Italy. And after a year went by, I had all but forgotten my love for the simple and fantastic Italian cuisine and focused my efforts elsewhere.

Fast forward two years. When I moved to Mississippi for a job at a newspaper, I lived by myself and began to come up with all kinds of things to prepare since I don’t like eating the same old things day after day. I suddenly re-discovered homemade pizza, and I fell in love with the Jiffy kind where you simply mix water in with their dough. Fast forward two more years. When I moved back to Tennessee, I decided to try my hand at making homemade pizza dough. Sure, it would take a little time, but certainly, it would be tasty.

Turns out, I fell even more in love with homemade pizza and have been perfecting the recipe ever since. While I am unsure if my recipe would hold a candle to the pizza dough I loved during my time in Italy, it’s pretty damn good for being stateside. And it’s pretty damn easy to make, too, which is always a plus.

All you really need with this dough is time, and the best part is that you can freeze whatever you don’t use immediately.

So let’s make it, shall we?

You start off in two separate bowls. In a smaller one, combine hot water, olive oil, salt and sugar, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. In the larger bowl, combine unbleached all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and active dry yeast. Whisk those together.

Then you’ll pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Stir them together until just barely mixed, then turn out onto a floured countertop (or other area of the kitchen.)

Knead the dough until it is elastic and completely combined. This should take about five minutes. Then form the dough into a ball, pour a little dollop of olive oil on top of it, cover it for 45 minutes to allow it rise time, and once it has doubled in size, you’re good to go!

Break the dough down into four separate sections, forming them each into balls. At this point, you can freeze them or you can make pizza. Your choice!

If you choose to go ahead and make a pizza, roll the dough out as thin as you can get it, pop it onto a hot pizza stone and bake in the oven with the toppings of your desire for 10 minutes!

Simple and Delicious Pizza Dough
Yield: 4 pizza dough rounds

Simple and Delicious Pizza Dough

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

The simplest ingredients make the tastiest pizza dough! This light dough that crisps up easily when baked works beautifully as the base any kind of pizza pie!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the unbleached flour, the whole wheat flour and yeast, mixing the ingredients together with a whisk.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the hot water, olive oil, sugar and salt.
  3. Stir the wet mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mix is barely together.
  5. Turn out onto a floured counter and knead for five minutes, working the dough until it is elastic.
  6. Form dough into a ball, splash it with a little bit of olive oil, place back into the bowl and let rise for 45 minutes (or until the dough has doubled in size.)
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size, cut into four equal-sized pieces.
  8. From here, you can roll out the dough and start making your pizzas!
  9. To make a pizza: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Let the pizza stone (or the pan you'll be using) preheat in the oven, too.
  10. Lightly flour the surface of a flat counter, and roll out a round of pizza dough.
  11. Once the oven and pizza stone are heated, remove the pizza stone from the oven using an oven mitt.
  12. Transfer the pizza dough to the hot pizza stone. Swirl on pizza sauce and any toppings you desire, then transfer into the oven.
  13. Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes, checking every few minutes to confirm the toppings and crust are not burning.
  14. Once the pizza is cooked through and the dough is crisp, remove from the oven, cut into slices and enjoy warm!

Notes

I've had questions about where to put the yeast, and the answer is that it mixes in with the dry ingredients. Why? If it's thrown in with the hot water too early, you run the ris of killing the yeast. If this happens, your dough won't rise.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1 round pizza dough

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 402mg Carbohydrates: 72g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 2g Protein: 11g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

And that, my friends, is how you make delicious homemade pizza dough.

Easy as pie, no?


17 Comments

  1. Chris

    How critical is the pizza stone? We’ve put off buying one for years.

    • Erin

      Honestly, you could make this on a baking sheet. Just make sure you heat it as the oven preheats! This is the key to crisp and wonderful dough. … I’ll be interested to hear how it turns out.

      And if you want a pizza stone, I’ve got something similar to this. It was given to me, but it’s not anything fancy and works wonderfully.

  2. Jessica

    I need to try this. I buy the Trader Joe’s dough and it’s fine but not great. It does it in a pinch. I need to make my own some day!

    • Erin

      We loved TJ’s whole wheat dough when we lived near one and would buy it in a pinch. I’m interested to hear what you think of the homemade dough, though, and if it’s worth the trouble. I hope it is!

  3. Susan

    I’m emailing this to Mike so we can try it. He makes a really good sauce inspired by his time living in Rome. We’ve never tried homemade dough though, I’m impressed when we buy the kind you have to roll out!

    • Erin

      I’m interested to hear what y’all think about this! It’s surprisingly simple and definitely delicious. Once I made this, we didn’t go back to the store-bought kind. So I hope it’s a positive experience for y’all, too!

  4. Lindsey d.

    Erin, I can’t get over how good your pizza dough is! Easy to make, easy to roll out, easy to eat! I think the hunt for perfect homemade dough may be over.

    • Erin

      Lindsey,

      Just saw your response! So happy that you’ve been enjoying the pizza dough! As you know, it’s my favorite!

  5. Debbie

    If you decide to freeze 1/4 or one of the balls, how do you prepare it? Thaw time, etc.

    • Erin

      Debbie, if I freeze the dough, I’ll let it thaw for about an hour or two on the countertop before rolling it out, or I’ll pull it out of the freezer the night before and stick it in the fridge. It’s not an exact science, by any means. I just try to make sure that the dough is still a little chilly so it doesn’t stick to my rolling pin. I hope that helps!

  6. Buffy

    Erin, You are just Darling!! I am grateful you shared this recipe and will try it when we can go shopping again-living out in the sticks makes town almost an hour away! I bet that was exciting living in Italy! I have always wanted to travel but haven’t done much out of the country. We love the movie Under The Tuscan Sun and I had looked for recipes they mentioned in the movie. I love to cook and bake and my husband loves to eat so we make a good team! I know this has been a few years but wanted to say Thank You for the recipe 🙂

  7. sam c

    are u sure that all you need is 1 cup of hot water

    • Erin

      Yes, I’m positive that a cup of water is the right amount, Sam. I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times, and it has always turned out wonderfully. If you do make it and the dough is a little crumbly, add an additional tablespoon or two of water until it comes together, and that’ll fix it right up.

      • sam c

        I made it last night an 1 cup of hot water was not enough because their was to much flour for the water. the flour soak it right up and could not mix it together I ended putting more water almost 2.5 cup of water . now can I substitude bleach for the unbleach flour or no? thank you for your response. sam

  8. sam c

    I don’t think 1 cup of hot water is plenty

  9. I_Fortuna

    One cup of water is plenty for 3 cups of flour. I use 1 and 1/2 cups water for 4 cups of flour! I use 3 cups unbleached flour and 1 cup semolina flour but regular flour is fine. Also 1/4 teaspoon of Rapid Rise yeast is fine for no knead.
    This is a pefectly good recipe. I let mine proof for at least 8 to 24 hours but it can be ready in 4 hours. I make it before bed, put it in a bowl and let it proof until dinner time the next day.
    It is not necessary to knead the dough time and the yeast do all the work. It will be very wet and sticky and the longer it is proofed the better the flavor. Be sure to flour your hands and board well before handling this dough to shape it.

  10. Kathy

    Did I miss it somewhere? I did not see what temperature to bake the pizza crust. What is the temp? This sounds easy to make. Will give it a try

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