The secret to a great pizza is in the base, so if you don’t know how to make pizza dough you’ll never end up with the kind of pizza you can order from a top end pizza restaurant.
A Vital Secret
The most important secret of making pizza dough is choosing the right flour. You want to create a pizza base that is both crisp and chewy. To do this you need flour that is high in gluten. Gluten is the protein in flour which gives dough its elasticity, and if you’ve ever watched a pizza chef stretching out pizza dough you’ll know how important that elasticity can be!
For pizza dough, choose what is sometimes called “strong” flour. This is flour that has a gluten (or protein) content of around 12%.
Alternatively, you can use Italian flour that bears a grade of “tipo 00″. This means that the flour has been milled to a very fine consistency and will make a great pizza crust that is both smooth textured, chewy and crunchy around the edge.
Pizza Dough Recipe
Proper pizza dough needs to rise, so allow about two hours from start to finish for making your dough.
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 cup of warm water
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 7 g of dried yeast
- Mix water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside in a warm place until foam starts to appear on the surface. This should take about five minutes. The foam means the yeast has “activated” and is ready for use.
- Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and add the yeast solution and the olive oil.
- Mix with a wooden spoon or round-bladed knife until the mixture comes together.
- When the dough stiff turn it out on to a floured surface.
- Knead the dough for about five minutes. By the time you finish it should be smooth and elastic.
- Place your dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl.
- Cover with cling film or a tea towel and place in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size – this will take between an hour and an hour and a half.
- Turn your dough out on to a floured surface and knead very lightly – just enough to press the air out.
- Divide your dough into portions and form into balls, cover and let rest for half an hour.
Making Your Pizza
Roll out your balls to pizza size. You can do this by using a rolling pin, or by the far more entertaining method of repeatedly spinning the dough up into the air and catching it. Note: if you use this method to stretch your pizza dough, try catching it on the back of your hand, that way you won’t poke your fingers through the dough.
Place your pizza dough on a pizza tray or sheet of foil and coat with your favourite toppings. Cooking time will vary depending on the type and quantity of topping, but generally at 180˚C your pizza will be ready in 10-15 minutes.
Authentic Pizza Dough
By following the pizza dough recipe above, using strong or “tipo 00″ flour, kneading properly and allowing sufficient time for your dough to rise you’ll create an authentic pizza base that will have friends and family begging for more.
To learn a different way to make pizza dough check out this video.