Homemade Pizza Dough

There is something about the smell of dough…it is a kryptonite to me.  It does not matter if it is pizza dough or bread dough, there is an amazing magnetism to the smell of growing yeast when mixed with just enough sugar and warm water.

I have played with different versions of pizza dough over the years and have found this one is an easy one to make, it develops a light and doughy texture when baked and tastes great. 

Above is a beautifully proofed yeast, largely in part to an accurate water temperature. When reading through dough recipes, I have always found it funny to have ingredient descriptions like 1 cup ‘warm water’.  What is ‘warm water’? What does that mean exactly? Especially in a recipe like this where it is important to know what temp should be at to help the yeast bloom.  In the making of dough, I have found the right temperature to be between 100°-110°.  Slightly hot to the touch, but not scalding. 

I take great pride in a wonderful ball of dough ready to rise.  This one looks great!

I’m going to sound like Goldie Locks, but if the water is too hot or too cold, you may need to start over.  It has to be ‘just right.’ When it is too cool, the yeast will either take 3 to 4 times as long to bloom or not bloom at all. When the water is too hot, the yeast can scald and not bloom. With either of these outcomes, your crust will be dense and flatter or tough to work with; and your best bet will be to start over.

There are different types of yeast to choose from when baking.  I am not going to pretend to be a master on the topic of yeast, but what I know is what has worked for me, which is Fleischmann’s Active Dry yeast in a jar.  I keep in my fridge and whenever the recipe calls for yeast, it is there for me.  Although, after the pizza baking this week, I’m getting low and the last 2 trips to the store, I’ve come up empty. Cross your fingers for me that it is there this week.

Last great measurement note when you are working with jarred yeast – I have found many recipes that measure in ‘packets’ of yeast. 1 Packet of Yeast = 2 1/4 tsp yeast from the jar. For this recipe, we use the conversions of 1 Tbls = 3 tsp. If you have packets, is approx 1 1/4 packets yeast to equal 1 Tbls.

Using the back of a sheet pan cooks the dough well on the bottom and throughout without burning the toppings- even at such a high heat. Butter the back of a clean pan, sprinkle garlic and onion powder on it for that little something extra. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Homemade Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbls active yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt (I use kosher salt)

Preparation:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add water, sugar and yeast.  Whisk to combine and let stand 5-10 minutes until the mixture blooms.

Add oil and do a quick mix.  Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl.  Then working at about 1/3 cup at a time, add the flour/salt until all is combined.  Continue mixing for around 5 minutes until flour is fully incorporated.   Stop when dough is in a ball.

Oil the inside of a large bowl and transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat with oil.  Dough will be sticky at this point – that is ok.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit for one hour or more, until dough has doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 4 parts (dough will deflate).  Work the dough into balls by pulling the dough under itself gently.  Let dough rest on a pan for another 30 minutes, or in the fridge overnight.  Note – the dough will rise even while in the fridge.  Use within 3 days.

When ready for pizza time, preheat the oven to 475°.  Work the dough with your hands first in the air and then on the back of a sheet pan that is buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder and onion powder.  Add the toppings you want and bake for 13 – 17 minutes until done to your liking. 

Happy Doughing!

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