Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough
Periodically, I become obsessed with a particular dish, and I tinker with the recipe until it fulfills my every desire as to what the final dish should be. My dream Pizza Dough—the pizza dough that keeps me up at night—would be simple to prepare, able to be prepped in advance, and contain some scrape of healthy ingredients.
My dream pizza (because isn’t a divine homemade pizza the ultimate purpose of making pizza dough from scratch?) needed to be blissful to chew and boast the classic pizzeria stretch. Sogginess would be unacceptable. I wanted the crust to blister a little—just as it does with cooked in a professional wood oven—but remain soft and tender. I wanted to include whole wheat fiber, but I didn’t want to detect it, either in the dough’s flavor or its texture. Pizza dough is a place we deserve to be picky.
I had past success with a 100% whole wheat pizza dough, but that recipe created a thinner, crispier crust, vs. the tender wood oven-style crust I was seeking in my revised perfect Pizza Dough. After much trial and error (and many a homemade pizza night—my job is grueling, I know), I am thrilled to report that this homemade Pizza Dough recipe grants my every wish. For a visual, here is our perfect dough in action, rocking out my Ricotta Pizza with Peaches.
- Easy-breezy: You need only 15 minutes and your food processor, and 10 of those minutes are the dough resting, while you phone your grandma, fold your socks, or flip through US Weekly. (Your secret is safe with me.)
- Wildly successful when prepped in advance: The longer it sits, the better it gets. Make this pizza dough 1-to-3 days ahead of time, and let it hang out in your refrigerator. The slow rising gives the yeast time to develop flavor, and the taste payoff is well-worth a bit of planning.
- Whole wheat flour, on the down low: A 50/50 blend of whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour, plus a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten flour (a high-protein flour that compensates for the stretch that the whole wheat flour takes away), proved to be the magic mix that adds extra fiber to the dough, without affecting its taste or texture. If you don’t have (or don’t want to purchase) vital wheat gluten flour (it’s available in most grocery stores), see the recipe notes below.
- Perfect pizza pie: Your final product will be tender without being soggy, lightly blistered without being burned, and the most enjoyable vehicle imaginable for a slew of tasty toppings.
Armed with this homemade Pizza Dough recipe, you will soon be pulling dreamy pies from the oven that would earn the approval of my 100% Italian mother-in-law. The one downside: You will never find satisfaction in frozen (or even most delivery) pizzas again. Consider yourself spoiled for life, no apologies.
Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough
- 1/3 cup water, — warmed to 110-120 degrees F
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- pizza sauce — and toppings of choice
- In a small bowl or the measuring cup, combine the warm water and yeast. Let sit 3 minutes. (If properly activated, the yeast will foam. If yeast does not foam, either the water temperature is off, or your yeast may have expired, and you will need to begin again.)
- In the bowl of a food processor, place the all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, vital wheat gluten, and sugar. Pulse a few times to combine. Pour in the warm water-yeast mixture.
- With the food processor running, slowly pour in the ice water, processing just until the ingredients are combined and no dry flour remains, 10 seconds. Let sit 10 minutes.
- Add the oil and salt to the dough (note: Salt is a yeast inhibitor and should not be added before this point). Process the dough until it becomes a smooth, shiny ball that clears the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute. Lift dough out of the food processor, form it into a tight ball with your hands, then place it in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough so that the oil coats all sides (this will keep a crust from forming on its exterior.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then place in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 3 days.
- 1 hour before baking: Place oven rack in 2nd highest position (about 4-5 inches from the top of the oven.) Preheat your oven to 500°F. If you are using a pizza stone, preheat this as well. If not using a pizza stone, lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Form each half into a tight ball, then place at least 4 inches apart on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. (If you are only making one pizza, tightly wrap the second ball of dough in plastic and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use, then proceed with this step.)
- After dough has rested 1 hour, place the first ball of dough on well-floured surface and roll it into a 12-inch circle. If the dough shrinks back, let it relax for a moment, then proceed with rolling.
- If using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or flour. (If you do not have a pizza peel, the back of a parchment paper-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet works well in its place. If not using a pizza stone, skip this step.)
- Transfer your rolled dough to the prepared pizza peel (if using a stone) or to the prepared baking sheet (if not using a stone). Stretch the dough a little as you move it so that it expands to a 13-inch diameter. Add your sauce and toppings, following the guidelines in the notes section below. If using a pizza stone, remove stone from oven, dust with cornmeal or flour and slide the unbaked pizza from the peel to the stone.
- Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is lightly blistered and the toppings are hot and bubbly. Remove from oven, let rest on stone (or baking sheet) for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board to slice. Serve immediately.
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