This homemade pizza dough recipe made by hand produces a crust that when you sink your teeth into it is both crispy and chewy. It lays a foolproof foundation for a variety of sauces, meats, veggies, and cheeses. The crust, in my opinion, is what truly makes or breaks the pizza. And here in this post, you have all the tools and tips to create the perfect crust.
My hope in writing this is to take the “intimidation” out of making homemade pizza dough. I definitely understand the hesitation, I had felt it for years. It always seemed a daunting and time-consuming task but in reality, it’s so very easy. And there’s no comparison to the store-bought box mixes. I do think you’ll agree that it is quite a simple cooking project.
What I love about this Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe:
This dough results in a crust that is crispy on the outside yet chewy on the inside. There are a few simple tips that help in forming a really good pizza dough. I will share what I have learned from both research and trial and error.
There are only five ingredients that make this homemade pizza dough extremely cost-effective. Bread flour, active dry yeast, sugar, salt, and olive oil – that’s it. Simple and inexpensive. The cost compared to the packaged pre-made crusts is pennies on the dollar. And then, of course, there’s no comparison to the cost of carry-out.
Pizza dough is a fun kitchen project that the whole family can get involved in. Even the kids can help which is a great way to stir in them a love for cooking. Kneading the dough and rolling it out are ways for them to take part. Also, everybody can make their own personal pizzas with their individual ball of dough.
Step by Step Instructions
Step #1 – Activate the Yeast
Yeast is the one ingredient needed in pizza dough that causes it to rise and gives it that airy and bubbly effect. Using a small bowl, add a package of dry active yeast and a teaspoon of sugar. Pour in 1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Set the bowl in a warm place like a microwave or the oven. Let it rise for 10 minutes.
When adding the water to your yeast make sure it is at the right temperature. I use my fingers when testing the water out of the faucet. It needs to be luke-warm to the touch. Not too hot or too cool. You may want to use an instant-read thermometer initially. You are looking for a temperature of 105°-110°F. Once you’ve played around with this for a while, you’ll get a feel for it and no longer need the thermometer.
Sugar is food for the yeast and helps activate it. All you need is one little teaspoon. You can use honey or maple syrup and get the same results. Some say you don’t need the sugar, but I’ve always added it and have gotten great results.
Make sure and use yeast that is not outdated. It will not be near as effective otherwise. Within 10 minutes after adding the lukewarm water, the yeast will have produced a foamy layer on top and will look as though it has doubled in size. That’s how you know you have good yeast. No foam means bad yeast. Throw it out, and start over or the whole batch of dough will not rise very well.
Step #2 – Mix the Ingredients
Combine the salt and the flour and make a well in the middle of the flour. Pour the yeast and the oil into the well. Use a wooden spoon to mix these ingredients until combined. The dough at this point may be a little sticky, but more flour will be added as you knead the dough, which is the next step.
- What is the best flour for making this Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe? My favorite go-to flour for pizza dough is by far bread flour. In general, it has a higher protein factor which produces more gluten. Gluten is what gives the dough a stretchy elasticity resulting in the crust having a chewy characteristic.
Set #3 – Knead the Pizza Dough by Hand
You can use a stand mixer to knead the dough, but I love the feel of it being worked by my own hands. Kneading is part of making the dough that seems to alarm people the most. But honestly, it’s quite easy. It just takes some time and a little bit of effort. With practice, you will begin to understand the feel of it in your hands and know when it’s ready.
Lightly dust a flat surface with flour and turn the dough onto it. Depending on how sticky the dough is, sprinkle a little more flour on top as needed. With the heels of your hands, push the dough away from you. Then turn it 90 degrees and fold the dough in half toward you and start again by pushing it outward. Continue this kneading process for 3-5 minutes until the dough has a silky, smooth texture.
Step #4 – Let the Pizza Dough Rise
Once the kneading process is finished, place the dough in a large bowl that has been smeared with olive oil. Roll the dough around the bowl to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and set it in a warm place to rise. A microwave is a good choice or an oven that has been heated to 170°F and then completely turned off for 10 minutes. Give the dough about an hour to an hour and a half to fully rise. You’re looking to see if it has doubled in size.
If you are not making the pizzas right away you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap after it has been kneaded. Place it in the fridge and store for up to 3 days. When ready to make your pizzas, remove the dough and divide it into the number of pizzas you plan on making. Let the dough sit at room temperature for one hour. At this point, you’re able to roll it out and add the toppings.
If you want to freeze the dough, tightly wrap the ball in plastic wrap and place it in a ziplock bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 weeks. Remove the dough one day before you’re ready to serve the pizzas and place it in the fridge to fully thaw. When ready, remove, let sit for one hour, and work as the above paragraph mentions.
Step #5 – Roll Out the Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe
Once the dough has risen, separate it into balls and flour your working surface. With your rolling pin, roll each ball from the middle out in all directions until you have your desired thickness or you can stretch it out with your hands. You may need to sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough during this process.
If you’re really adventurous, you can toss it up in the air and whirl it around like the experts. I’ve not perfected that maneuver, so I can’t help you as of yet but this YouTube video can.
The beauty though of rolled-out pizza dough is that the shapes are never perfectly round. They have a unique characteristic that is personal and hand-crafted. I just love the rustic aspect of them.
Step #6 – Cooking this Pizza Dough with toppings
How hot should the oven be before cooking a pizza? I wish with all my heart I had a brick oven in my backyard. But, I don’t, so the second-best option is to turn my oven temperature as hot as it will go, which is 550°F. If your oven goes higher, by all means, turn that baby up! I’ve experimented with different settings and the hotter the temperature, the better the crust turns out, both crispy and chewy.
I recommend a pizza stone mainly because it holds heat better and distributes it more evenly. If you place your pizza stone in the oven while it’s preheating. The additional temperature of the stone creates a burst of heat to the crust which helps form even a crispier crust on the bottom.
After the stone has been preheated, sprinkle a bit of cornmeal then place your dough on it. This will keep your dough from sticking to the pan. Or when making your pizza, place the rolled-out dough on a piece of parchment paper, add the toppings and transfer that to the heated stone.
Three Pizzas to Make from this Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe
This recipe made three good size pizzas that fed 2 people with each pie. I chose meat-lovers (pictured above) because of the men in my house. They prefer this all-time favorite loaded with small sausage balls, chunks of bacon, large slices of pepperoni, and of course mounds of cheese.
But for me, I love gourmet-type pizzas. So I chose a couple of different ideas for toppings. One is a Mediterranean-style pizza (pictured above) with pesto sauce, lamb sausage, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, feta cheese, and spinach.
The third pizza I made with this dough was a raspberry jalapeño sauce pizza (pictured above) with tender chunks of chicken, caramelized onions, and goat cheese. I finished it with cilantro.
A great “linger-around-the-table” idea:
Throw a pizza party with friends and/or family and have individual balls of dough ready for each person to roll out. Create a pizza bar with an abundance of sauces and toppings then let everyone go to town creating their own special masterpiece.
There is nothing like the aroma of a pan of homemade pizza emanating from the oven. It has the magical power of filling every crevice of your home with sensory anticipation. This homemade classic pizza dough recipe is the bedrock for a hundred different toppings. So, let your imagination run wild, have a blast creating, and enjoy the fruit of your labor.
Here’s another idea for this Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe: Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks
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Crispy and Chewy Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe
This homemade pizza dough made by hand produces a crust that when you sink your teeth into is both crispy and chewy. It lays a foolproof foundation for a variety of sauces, meats, veggies, and cheeses.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including rising time)
- Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours (with rising dough time)
- Yield: 3 medium size pizza crusts 1x
- Category: Pizza
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 1 package Dry Active Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- 1 1/4 cups Lukewarm Water
- 3 cups Bread Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil and extra for the bowl
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling on the pizza stone
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast and sugar. Add the lukewarm water and stir until the yeast and sugar are both dissolved.
- Set the bowl in a warm place, like a microwave or an oven. Let it sit for 10 minutes until the yeast has doubled in size by the foam on top.
- Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the well.
- Stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until well combined. It will still be somewhat sticky at this point.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough has a silky, smooth feel.
- Smear a large bowl with olive oil and place the ball of dough into the bowl. Roll the ball around until it is fully coated with oil.
- Place a dish towel over the top of the bowl and set it in a warm place. Let it rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to its hottest setting – 550°F is preferred and place your pizza stones in the oven to preheat as well.
- Remove the dough and separate it into however many pizzas you are planning to make. 1 large, 2 medium-large or 3 medium pizzas.
- On a floured surface, flatten out the ball of dough. With a rolling pin, begin from the center and roll out in all directions until you have the desired thickness.
- Remove the pizza stones from the oven and sprinkle with cornmeal. Add the rolled out dough and your favorite sauces and toppings.
- Baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown and the cheese is nice and bubbly.
- When adding the water to your yeast make sure it is the right temperature. It needs to be luke-warm to the touch. Not too hot or too cool. You may want to use an instant-read thermometer initially. You are looking for a temperature of 105°-110°F.
- Sugar is food for the yeast and helps activate it. All you need is one little teaspoon.
- Make sure and use yeast that is not outdated. It will not be near as effective otherwise.
- Within 10 minutes after adding the lukewarm water, the yeast will have produced a foamy layer on top and will look as though it has doubled in size. That’s how you know you have good yeast. No foam means bad yeast.
- My favorite go-to flour for pizza dough is by far bread flour. In general, it has a higher protein factor which produces more gluten. That is what gives the dough a stretchy elasticity resulting in the crust having a chewy characteristic.
- Kneading the dough – with the heels of your hands, push the dough away from you. Turn it 90 degrees and fold the dough in half toward you and start again with pushing it outward. Continue this kneading process for 3-5 minutes until the dough has a silky, smooth texture.
- Set the dough in a warm place to rise. A microwave is a good choice for the dough to rise. Another option is an oven that has been heated to 170°F and then completely turned off for 10 minutes.
- If you are not making the pizzas right away you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap after it has been kneaded and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to make your pizzas, remove the dough let it sit at room temperature for one hour.
- If you want to freeze the dough, tightly wrap the ball in plastic wrap and place in a ziplock bag. It can be frozen up to 3 weeks. Remove the dough one day before you’re ready to serve the pizzas and place the dough in the fridge to fully thaw. When ready, remove and work as the above note mentions.
- Turn the oven temperature as hot as it will go. 550°F is preferred if yours will go that hot. The hotter the temperature, the better the crust turns out, both in crispiness and chewiness.
- I recommend a pizza stone because it holds heat better and distributes it more evenly. Place your pizza stone in the oven while it is preheating, which will create a burst of heat to the crust which helps form even a crispier crust on the bottom.
- After the stone has been preheated, sprinkle a bit of cornmeal then place your dough on it. This will keep your dough from sticking to the pan.
- Serving Size: 1/3 of pizza crust
- Calories: 267
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 280 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 46 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: homemade pizza dough, easy pizza dough, homemade pizza dough recipe, homemade pizza crust