How to Make Pizza Dough
Making homemade pizza dough is easier than you think, we promise.
Making your own homemade pizza dough is really quite easy and requires only a few simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry. If you have flour, salt, sugar, olive oil and yeast, you're ready! Skip buying pre-made pizza dough balls, and follow these steps to make your own.
Proof the Yeast
Combine 1 cup of warm water, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and a 1 1/4 ounce package of active dry yeast in a small bowl. Proofing the yeast dissolves the yeast and prepares it for use in the dough, as well as proves its active and alive so you know your dough will rise. Set the yeast mixture aside while you prepare the remaining dough ingredients.
Use water that is 100-110 degrees F, which means it should feel just slightly warm to your fingers. Hotter water will kill the yeast and the dough won't rise. After 5 to 10 minutes, look for tiny bubbles, or for the yeast mixture to become creamy looking to know the yeast is active.
Form a Soft Dough
Combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, pouring in the yeast mixture as well as 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and stir until a soft dough forms.
Knead the Dough
Turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it by pressing into the dough with the heel of your hand, pushing forward slightly. Turn the dough a bit, fold it in half, and press again. Repeat until the dough is smooth and springy (about 8 to 10 minutes).
Kneading develops dough's gluten and elasticity, creating a soft and airy crust. To test if you're done kneading, shape the dough into a ball and let it drop to your work surface. If it holds most of its shape, the dough is ready.
Let the Dough Rise
Place the dough in a large bowl that's been lightly coated with olive oil. Cover bowl lightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until it has nearly doubled in size. Risen dough will appear puffy and airy.
Be sure to use a bowl large enough to give the dough room to grow!
Shape the Dough
Punch down the risen dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands and a rolling pin to gently shape the dough into a round or rectangular crust.
Got dough that's snapping back like elastic rather than stretching into shape? Give it a break! That's right, walk away for a few minutes and let it rest. After a rest, the dough will be more pliable.