Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough

Should opportunity knock and invite me along for an impromptu trip to Italy, my passport is prepped and ready. In the meantime, I’ll make this Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough.
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.

Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough

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.

Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough

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.

Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough

  • 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.

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Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough

Yield: 2 9-inch pizza crusts
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
12 mins
Make perfect pizza dough at home. This recipe is easy, can be made in advance, and will have you pulling perfect homemade pizza from your own oven.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Recipe Notes

Vital Wheat Gluten: Vital Wheat Gluten Flour is a high-protein flour that adds chewiness and tenderness to breads made with whole wheat flour. If vital wheat gluten is omitted from the recipe, the resulting dough will still work well, but will be more dense. Another option is to omit the vital wheat gluten and replace the whole wheat flour with the same amount of all purpose flour, though you will lose the health-benefit provided by the whole wheat flour. Sauce and Topping Quantities: An overload of sauce or toppings will cause your pizza to be soggy. Generally, stick to about 1/2 cup of sauce, 6 ounces of hearty vegetables (such as onions and peppers), and 4 ounces of protein (such as pepperoni or sausage.) Crunchy vegetables should be lightly sautéed and meats should be precooked, prior to being placed on the pizza.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Homemade Pizza, Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

37 comments

  1. Oh My!!!! Thank You for sharing this dough recipe!!!!
    I love homemade pizza but always end up buying pre-made dough – now homemade pizza can be completely homemade AND healthy!!!

  2. I have *GOT* to learn how to make pizza dough!!!! For the sake of my marriage. ;)

  3. Nothing beat fresh homemade pizza dough! This looks great!

  4. Pizzas *swoon* and the crust always makes it. Thanks for all your tips (like letting it sit longer… I’ll have to try that) and wow, it really does look perfect!

  5. I am a pizza addict! Love that this recipe uses the food processor. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  6. My husband and I just started making homemade pizza for the first time a few weeks ago. I’ve be on the search for a good homemade pizza dough recipe, so I’m super excited to find yours. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I need a whole wheat version. I have been eating thin crust like its my job but this one looks sooo delicious.

  8. This is perfect! Hello, pizza Friday!

  9. Your pizza dough looks incredible and I still am wanting to try that Pear and Ricotta pizza. Thanks for sharing :)

  10. I so need to get on the ball with making my own pizza dough!

  11. This recipe will definitely come in handy on pizza night!

  12. consuelohoneyandfigs Reply

    This pizza crust sounds too good to be part whole wheat, I’ve never had success with it in the past, so I’m longing to try your recipe! And I’ loving hte fact that it can be made ahead of time and in just so little time. Seriously, this stuff couldn’t get any better!
    Have a great weekend, Erin! x

    • Consuelo, if you are looking for a whole wheat pizza dough, I can vouch that this is the one. I tried every which way, and this recipe was the absolute best. Hope you love it. Happy Pizza Night :)

  13. Hi Erin. This looks GORGEOUS. There is nothing like homemade pizza dough. Nothing! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Homemade pizza dough is the BEST! As is homemade pizza!

  15. I’ve never been fully satisfied with the pizza dough recipe I usually use, so I am definitely going to try this one next time. Do you think it would work in the bread machine (on the dough setting) or does it need the slow rise to work?

    • Hey Nora! To be perfectly honest, I’d be a little nervous about the bread machine, since they are so speedy. The whole key to the dough’s flavor and texture is the slow rise. Wish I had better news, but I’m afraid slow food is the name of the game on this one.

  16. Wow Jim! It sounds like you have an awesome homemmade pizza system down. Love the idea of the zucchini on a pizza too!

  17. This recipe looks great – I’m going to make some mini-pizzas for work lunches.. But I was wondering if the overnight refrigeration is just for storage, or completely necessary? I’d like to make the dough, let it rest for an hour or so, and then par-bake the crusts. Should this be a problem?

    Thank you!!

    • Great question Anya! The overnight rising is actually really important for this recipe. It is what allows the dough to develop flavor, and also the dough doesn’t contain enough yeast to allow it to rise quickly. If you are looking to use the dough shortly after you make it, I’d recommend this recipe: http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/2012/09/100-whole-wheat-pizza-dough/
      If you don’t want to use 100% whole wheat flour, you can easily swap the same amount of all-purpose flour or use half and half.
      I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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  20. This recipe works great! I have been making pizza using half whole wheat pastry and half unbleached all purpose for quite a while now. None of my pizza doughs using this combo behaved as well as this one.

    An important change also helped. I lowered my vital wheat gluten amount to one teaspoon per cup of flour or for this recipe which meant 3 teaspoons rather than 3 Tablespoons. The lesser amount made the dough lighter and extremely well behaved for stretching, bite and taste. Thanks for the best yet!!

  21. This turned out perfect for us, great tasting recipe. thanks.

    Simon

  22. Have you ever experimented or used diastatic malt powder in crusts?

    • Angela, I have not, though it seems to enhance doughs similar to the way vital wheat gluten does. If you experiment and add it to the recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  23. Erin, I’m a pizza enthusiast, especially after visiting Italy (Napoli) and learned the way they handle the pizza dough. I became obsessed to the point I have my own wood-fired brick oven in my backyard.

    Based on my experience (I had spent several hours in trial and error too) I can tell you that this recipe is nothing short of perfection.

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