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How to Make Pizza Dough

Guest Blog Post by Chris Molnar

I’ve been making home-made pizza for 12 years, and in that time created my perfect pizza dough recipe. What? You order take-out? Huh? You buy pre-made dough? It seems we have lost the art of making dough by hand – all that shifting, rolling, kneading and struggling, sweat pouring over our faces, flour covering our glasses. How the heck did our foremothers bread by hand? (Hint: I never work up a sweat, though a bit of flour will sometimes puff into my glasses.)

Pizza Dough

Well, let me tell you a secret about making pizza dough the modern way – actually, two: Number 1, I mix with a stand mixer and then let it sit. All I do roll it into a ball. Number 2, I bought a bread machine a couple years ago, so now I do nothing but add the ingredients. I will reveal both ways to make dough now, then include a couple recipes. Here we go!

Making Pizza Dough By Hand

There’s elaborate pizza dough recipes out there, but it pretty well comes down to five ingredients: flour, water, salt, olive oil, and yeast.

Directions:

  1. Dissolve salt into slightly warm water. Add flour to the water and mix for two minutes – if you have a mixer, mix in on low. If you are mixing by hand, make it five.
  2. Then let it sit for half an hour.
  3. Add the oil and the yeast, and mix on low for another two minutes. Then, mix it on a higher speed for another 2 minutes. If you are doing it by hand, take the dough out of the bowl and kneed it with your hands until it’s smooth, elastic, and not sticky. You’ll need to add more flour while doing this. Don’t do this too vigorously, else the dough will be too tough to work with.
  4. Roll into a ball, cover and put in your fridge overnight. If you need it the same day, keep it out, covered, and wait for half an hour to an hour for it to rise.

If you make a lot of pizza in the future, invest in a bread maker. I’ll tell you why later.

Time-saving Tip:

What I used to do is make a large recipe, with 6 cups more more of floor (that’ll make about 4 medium pizzas) – Unless you are a bodybuilder, you can’t mix that by hand, so you’ll need a stand mixer.

Then, I divide into 4 balls, wrap it in plastic wrap, then place into freezer bags, and freeze them immediately. They are good up to around 4 months. These are great if you are having a get-together, or need to whip up some food for childrens birthday parties. When you take them out, unwrap, place in a bowl, cover with a towel, and then let the dough rise – overnight in your fridge or about 3 hours on your counter.

Pizza Dough Using a Bread Maker

Best … purchase … ever! Here’s how to make pizza dough using a bread maker:

  1. Dissolve salt into slightly warm water. Mix. Pour into your bread maker pan. Add oil.
  2. Add flour
  3. Make a little divet at the top of the flour and spoon in your yeast
  4. Close the lid, use your dough setting (so it doesn’t bake)
  5. That’s it. When it’s done, take it out and make your pizza!

Now do you know why I suggest investing in a bread maker? The first time I did this, I couldn’t believe it was that easy. But the pizza dough tasted the exact same! We had an Elmo birthday party that day, so I made an Elmo pizza (big pizza with two oval eyes) the same morning. Boom, done.

Pizza Dough Recipes

Now comes the good part. The recipes! Here’s a couple recipes I’ve been using for years. I list the ingredients and any special tips. The directions will be above, whether you make the dough by hand or with a bread maker.

Basic, no-frills pizza dough

  • 1 and a quarter cups of water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 3 cups flour

Mix as directed above. I started with completely white flour, but now I use mainly whole wheat. The only difference is that white flour is lighter and fluffier, and a bit easier to work with. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with using all whole wheat! It just takes a bit more time to roll out, and each piece will taste “fuller” because the dough is thicker – and that’s good. You’ll eat less and get more nutrients.

Beer Dough Recipe

Don’t worry, the alcohol will evaporate when the pizza is cooking! Our kids eat it all the time, and they don’t fall over drunk … actually, they do get sleepy … hmmm (just kidding!)

  • 3/4 cups of your favorite beer
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 3 cups flour – I use 2 cups white and 1 cup whole wheat

Mix as directed above. Instead of simply dissolving salt into the water at the beginning, make a water/beer mixture, and if you are using sugar (this makes the dough crispier), add it with the salt. Makes 2 medium pizzas.

The beer gives the dough a hint of flavor – the more beer, the more flavor, but I find that all beer makes it overpowering – however, I use dark beers. Try it and experiment! You’ll have nice pizza dough no matter how you make it.

By Chris Molnar, a work-at-home Dad with two children, both of whom love pizza! (They are, after all, half Italian.) Chris edits a party website called Themeaparty.com, chock full of theme ideas, supplies and tips.