Sunday, February 5, 2012

Recipe: Basic Pizza Dough

Being the good little cook-daughter that I am, I agreed to help my mom out with food for the Super Bowl party she hosted tonight. I mentioned that an Italian bread recipe we tried in class the other week can also work as pizza dough and she was instantly hooked on the idea of making homemade pizza. I pulled a recipe for pizza sauce from and edited it a bit (recipe in a separate post), and we used the basic pizza dough recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. The dough is incredibly easy to pull together and takes just 1 to 2 hours to rise. You can mix it by hand, or with a mixer or food processor—my mom and I made five batches of dough, using both the KitchenAid mixer and the food processor, and we found that the food processor blended the ingredients together faster and more evenly, so the recipe below is based around the use of a food processor. The result was soft dough that crisped up just right when baked and made for a delicious slightly crunchy, chewy crust.

The dough, fresh out of the food processor

The dough, after rounding

The dough, risen to twice its size

Yield: Makes 1 large or 2 small pizzas
Time: 10 minutes to blend and knead, 1-2 hours to let rest and rise
Difficulty: Easy
Special equipment: Food processor or mixer


  • 1 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour (we used bread flour), plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup of room temperature water, plus more if needed
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more to coat the bowls used to hold the dough

In a food processor, add the yeast, then the flour, then the salt, and blend. With the food processor running, gradually pour in the water—the flour mixture will start to look a little darker and wet, and then it will pull together into a thick, sticky dough. Gradually add the olive oil to the dough and continue to blend until the dough is pretty much all pulled together into a ball and is slightly sticky. If it's very sticky (sticking to your hands and very hard to get off), add just a pinch more flour and blend. Remove the dough ball from the food processor and place on a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough for just a few seconds, until the dough looks smooth. Round into a ball and place in a bowl that's been lightly brush with olive oil. Cover tightly with cling wrap and set aside in a warm, dry place (it's winter here, and quite cold, so we just put the bowls in the warmest room of the house, which happens to be a living room area at the front of the house). Let sit for 1-2 hours until the dough ball is twice its original size. If you want the dough to rise more slowly, place the bowls in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Once rested, remove the now-larger dough ball and prepare your pizza, or, if you plan to use it up to 24 hours later, tightly wrap it in cling wrap and place it in the fridge until ready to use. If you want to use it later than a day later, wrap it tightly in cling wrap and freeze for up to one month.

This dough is very easy to make and it's ready for your favorite pizza sauces and toppings in no time! If you want to use a mixer to make this, follow the same steps, but use your dough hook to blend the dough. Traditional pizzas (we used a red sauce, cheese, and a variety of toppings) should take about 10-15 minutes to cook.


  1. This looks a lot like my favorite foccacia recipe, minus the olive oil and foccacia toppings. Does this make a really chewy pizza, or can it also make a thin crust one? Kind of must make...

  2. If you cut the dough ball in half and spread it thin, it creates a fairly crispy thin crust pizza. If you use the whole ball and roll out a thick crust pizza, you get a nice fluffy-chewy center, but the outside of the crust still crisps up really nicely. So, I guess I'd say, from my experience, it's pretty versatile and can be either fluffier or crispier, depending on how much you use and how thin you roll it out.