Over the past 5 years, I’ve learned a lot about making my own pizza. It started as just a little hobby, using a bread maker on the “dough” setting and intermittently making pizzas whenever I felt like it. Then, it turned into a tradition. I have each Friday off from work and always, always make a pizza. Some weeks, I make my own dough. Others, I buy dough from a local pizzeria. If you’re at all interested in creating your own dough, this is an easy first try. You don’t need a mixer or tools, just your hands and measuring implements! This dough yields enough dough to make 2 thin crusted 13″ pizzas – if you don’t have to feed a crowd, you can save this dough for 2 days in the refrigerator or store it in the freezer for up to a month!
- scant 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups hot water (130-140F)
- 1 packet of instant rise yeast
- 1 T honey
- 1/3 cup olive oil (for drizzling and etc.)
- 1 T mixed spices (italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt)
Start by running your tap water on the hottest setting. Let it go until the water is steaming – this will be around 140F.** Measure out just about 1-1/4 cups of water and add it to a large bowl (non-metal). Add honey and yeast and stir with your fingers. Set this aside and let it froth up. It can sit between 5-10 minutes and should look very frothy and raised. Drizzle in about 1T of olive oil and 2 cups of flour. Mix all ingredients together by hand or using a wooden spoon if you’re more of a hands-off person.
Continue mixing until the dough starts to come together. Flour your work surface and turn your dough out of the bowl. You’ll want to knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, depending on how quickly you can work. When kneading the dough, you’ll be stretching it and folding it back against itself. Use the heel of your hand and really work the dough out. When you start, the dough will be stingy and firm but as you work, it’ll start to get more and more smooth and stretchy. Continue working and when the dough starts to get shaggy, sprinkle another 1/4 cup of flour across the surface. Do not exceed 1 cup of flour as an addition. Once you’ve gotten the dough smooth and loosened, drizzle olive oil inside your bowl, put the dough inside the bowl, and turn it over to coat. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, a tea towel, and place it in a warm draft-less area. I always opt for the interior of our oven. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, you should see that your dough is quite active and risen. Remove your towel and plastic wrap and add your spices. You’ll want to add about 1 t of kosher salt, 1/2 t red pepper flakes, italian seasoning and garlic powder to your preference. I like to go heavy on the flavoring, since this dough won’t have aged, doesn’t have an active starter, and doesn’t utilize any malting/additives. Punch the dough down, fold it over itself to envelop the spices, and return it back to a floured worksurface. Repeat the kneading process for another 5 minutes. Repeat the oiling and store the dough like you had previously. Let the dough rise and rest for 1.5 hours and up to 4 hours.
When it’s time to get cooking with the dough, divide the large ball of dough in half. Punch down both halves of the dough and store one ball of dough in the freezer for up to 1 month or refrigerator for up to 2 additional days. The dough needs to be stored in an airtight condition, I usually opt for freezer bags. Let the dough you’ll be cooking with proof for 30 minutes on top of a pre-heating stove.
When it’s time to set up your pizza crust, roll the dough out using a floured rolling pin or stretch it using your hands. If you’re seeing that the dough is really resisting stretching, return it back to your stovetop for 10 minutes and do not disturb it! Once you’ve stretched the dough out, you can transfer it to a prepared pizza pan and bake like usual!
Refer to our pizza section to see ideas for this dough or forge your own path. There’s plenty of options here – you can use this dough for calzones, stromboli, or even garlic knots!
** Many may scoff, 140F is much too hot for active yeast! Sure, that’s true – but by the time you measure the hot water into a measuring cup, transfer it to a cold, conductive bowl, and measure out your flour/honey/yeast, it’ll be an appropriate temperature to activate the yeast!