Homemade pizza dough is easy, inexpensive, and fun to do!
This homemade pizza dough has been a staple in my house for years! It produces amazing results every time without fail. It’s 10 times better than greasy, overpriced, and calorie heavy takeout.
Does using yeast and the dough rising process intimidate you?
Ok, let’s get this part first. It’s the first step anyway. I promise, it is easy, and once you have a few basics down you will be a yeast using champ!
I could go into all the science mumbo-jumbo that’s behind getting the yeast to activate, but I won’t bore you. I’m going to make it super simple. You need four important things to have yeast success:
Yeast that is alive
Always check the date on the label to make sure it isn’t old, and store it in your refrigerator.
This is how I get my water to the perfect temperature, no thermometer needed: Put 2/3 cup of water in a bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds. I stick my finger in the water, looking for it to be about body temperature. If it feels like nothing or slightly warm, then it’s good. If it feels hot to the touch, then it’s above body temp. Keep micro-waving in small intervals until you reach the desired result. If you go to far and its to hot, let it sit until it cools off and feels the right way in the finger test.
You can use sugar in any form. Whether its granulated sugar, honey, molasses, it doesn’t matter. It’s just there as food for the yeast.
A warm area for your dough to sit
Ok, now lets break it down and make some awesome homemade pizza dough.
Put your yeast and one teaspoon of sugar into a large bowl. Stir in your warm water until the sugar and yeast have dissolved. Let this sit in a warm area for 5 minutes. The mixture will be slightly foamy and bubbly when the 5 minutes are up. This means your yeast was alive and has bloomed!
If after the 5 minutes your yeast mixture does not look like this, throw it out and start with fresh yeast!
Yippee! Intimidating part over!
Not so bad right? Lets push on, the rest is even easier.
The yeast is ready to get its rising power on. Now it’s time to add the flour and salt to the party. Stir this all up with a spoon and it will transform into a dough.
Plop your dough on a floured surface and knead it with the palms of your hands a few times. If it’s really sticky and wet work in more flour a couple of tablespoons at a time until smooth. It should be slightly tacky but not wet and sticking to everything. You don’t need to go crazy here! I have read countless recipes that instruct kneading the dough for 5-10 minutes. I’m telling you that’s not necessary for this dough. I usually just fold it over a few times, form it into a ball and that’s it. It doesn’t need a lot of manipulating. As long as it feels soft and stretchy when you work with it, your good to go.
Put your beautiful dough ball into a bowl coated with cooking spray, cover with a kitchen towel, and place in a warm spot to do its thang! In the winter I turn my oven on to 200 degrees for 10 minutes to get it warm and place the bowl on top. This will help it to rise faster. It usually takes 30-45 minutes to reach its full potential.
You could also put the dough in the fridge at this point, making sure it’s well covered, and let it rise slowly over night. If you choose to do this make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook so it can come to room temperature.
If the dough has almost doubled in size it’s ready to go. Punch it down and transfer to a floured surface.
You can now use it for any recipe calling for pizza dough. Calzones, flatbreads, Stromboli…….
But today this homemade pizza doughs destiny is a crust for my pie.
- 2¼ teaspoons of quick acting yeast (1 standard packet)
- ⅔ cups of warm water (100-110 degrees)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cornmeal, for dusting the pan
- In a large bowl combine your yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes or till it is foamy and the yeast has dissolved . If after 5 minutes the mixture is not a little foamy then start again with fresh yeast.
- Add in the flour and salt. Mix with a spoon until the flour incorporates and a dough has formed.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead with your hands. If the dough is too wet, add flour 2 tablespoons at a time untill it is smooth and elastic.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Turn it over to coat all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise. 30-45 minutes.
- When the dough has almost doubled in size punch it down to release the air.
- Pre-heat the oven to the hottest setting. Mine is 500 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray and dust with cornmeal.
- Transfer the dough you punched down to a well floured surface and flatten with your hands. You can also do this directly on your prepared baking tray. Flatten and stretch the dough to the size you need
- For a thick crust:
- Don't flatten and stretch it a lot. Leave it smaller making it only 8-10 inches, round or square.
- For a thinner crust:
- Flatten and stretch it to a larger size.10-12 inches round or square.
- Put your flattened dough on your baking tray, top with your desired toppings, and bake for 8-10 minutes for a thin crust and 12-15 for a thick crust.
Family / Date night Fun!
Whether its date night, family pizza night, or dinner with friends, homemade pizza dough makes for a fun and interactive meal. Make a double or triple batch of this recipe. After the dough has risen cut each in 1/4s and roll into balls. Set out all kinds of different toppings for a build your own pizza bar. Each person gets their own ball of homemade pizza dough to flip, toss, flatten and top to create their own pizza masterpiece.
Do you like a thick or thin crust?
What are your favorite pizza toppings?