Homemade Pizza

DinnerBakingItalianPizza

Classic homemade pizza recipe, including pizza dough and toppings, step-by-step instructions with photos. Make perfect pizza at home!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What to do when your 8-year old nephew comes to visit? Make pizza, of course! Well, not of course, actually. I didn’t think of it until we exhausted Sorry, Monopoly, and gin rummy. But it did turn out to be a brilliant idea as my father had just received a baking stone for Christmas, and my nephew loves pizza.

I told him if he helped me make it I would talk about him on my website and he would be famous. That seemed to get his attention. He thought the dough was “slimy and gross” but he loved picking his own toppings, and the finished product was “awesome”.

The following method I patched together from recipes in both Joy of Cooking and Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe. The pizza dough recipe makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas.

Next time I’ll be a bit more patient with stretching out the dough so I can get it even thinner. Look to the end of this post for some excellent links about pizza from other food bloggers.

Homemade Pizza Recipe

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  • Prep time: 2 hours
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 10-12-inch pizzas

Pizza dough is a yeasted dough which requires active dry yeast. Make sure the check the expiration date on the yeast package! Yeast that is too old may be dead and won't work.

You can use all purpose flour instead of the bread flour that is called for in the recipe, but bread flour is higher in gluten than all-purpose flour and will make a crispier crust for your pizza.

Cup measurements can vary depending on how you are scooping the flour (we fluff the flour, lightly scoop it, and level with a knife). So I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure out the flour amounts by weight. This is the only way you'll get a consistently accurate measurement.

Ingredients

Pizza Dough: Makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas

  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups (490 g) bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (omit if cooking pizza in a wood-fired pizza oven)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Pizza Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Cornmeal (to help slide the pizza onto the pizza stone)
  • Tomato sauce (smooth, or puréed)
  • Firm mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Fresh soft mozzarella cheese, separated into small clumps
  • Fontina cheese, grated
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Mushrooms, very thinly sliced if raw, otherwise first sautéed
  • Bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, very thinly sliced
  • Italian pepperoncini, thinly sliced
  • Italian sausage, cooked ahead and crumbled
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Baby arugula, tossed in a little olive oil, added as pizza comes out of the oven
  • Pesto
  • Pepperoni, thinly sliced
  • Onions, thinly sliced raw or caramelized
  • Ham, thinly sliced

Special equipment:

  • A pizza stone, highly recommended if you want crispy pizza crust
  • A pizza peel or an edge-less cookie or baking sheet
  • A pizza wheel for cutting the pizza, not required, but easier to deal with than a knife

Method

Making the Pizza Dough

1 Proof the yeast: Place the warm water in the large bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved.

proofing the yeast for homemade pizza dough blooming active yeast for making homemade pizza

After 5 minutes stir if the yeast hasn't dissolved completely. The yeast should begin to foam or bloom, indicating that the yeast is still active and alive.

(Note that if you are using "instant yeast" instead of "active yeast", no proofing is required. Just add to the flour in the next step.)

2 Make and knead the pizza dough: Using the mixing paddle attachment, mix in the flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil on low speed for a minute. Then replace the mixing paddle with the dough hook attachment.

Knead the pizza dough on low to medium speed using the dough hook about 7-10 minutes.

If you don't have a mixer, you can mix the ingredients together and knead them by hand.

The dough should be a little sticky, or tacky to the touch. If it's too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour.

3 Let the dough rise: Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the inside of a large bowl. Place the pizza dough in the bowl and turn it around so that it gets coated with the oil.

At this point you can choose how long you want the dough to ferment and rise. A slow fermentation (24 hours in the fridge) will result in more complex flavors in the dough. A quick fermentation (1 1/2 hours in a warm place) will allow the dough to rise sufficiently to work with.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap.

put pizza dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap let pizza dough rise until it doubles in size for the best homemade pizza

For a quick rise, place the dough in a warm place (75°F to 85°F) for 1 1/2 hours.

For a medium rise, place the dough in a regular room temperature place (your kitchen counter will do fine) for 8 hours. For a longer rise, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours (no more than 48 hours).

The longer the rise (to a point) the better the flavor the crust will have.

Make ahead freezing instructions

After the pizza dough has risen, you can freeze it to use later. Divide the dough in half (or the portion sizes you will be using to make your pizzas). Place on parchment paper or a lightly floured dish and place, uncovered, in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Then remove from the freezer, and place in individual freezer bags, removing as much air as you can from the bags. Return to the freezer and store for up to 3 months.

Thaw the pizza dough in the refrigerator overnight or for 5 to 6 hours. Then let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before stretching it out in the next steps.

Preparing the Pizzas

1 Preheat pizza stone (or pizza pan or baking sheet): Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 475°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a pizza pan or a thick baking sheet; you need something that will not warp at high temperatures.

2 Divide the dough into two balls: Remove the plastic cover from the dough. Dust your hands with flour and push the dough down so it deflates a bit. Divide the dough in half.

divide pizza dough in half form two round balls of pizza dough

Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 15 minutes (or up to 2 hours).

3 Prep toppings: Prepare your desired toppings. Note that you are not going to want to load up each pizza with a lot of toppings as the crust will end up not crisp that way.

About a third a cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. One to two mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.

4 Flatten dough ball, and stretch out into a round: Working one ball of dough at a time, take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface.

Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further.

Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter - 10 to 12 inches.

Treat the dough gently!

You can also hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch, while working around the edges of the dough.

If a hole appears in your dough, place the dough on a floured surface and push the dough back together to seal the hole.

Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. Pinch the edges if you want to form a lip.

5 Brush dough top with olive oil: Use your finger tips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Let rest another 10-15 minutes.

Repeat with the second ball of dough.

6 Sprinkle pizza peel with corn meal, put flattened dough on top: Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel (or flat baking sheet) with corn meal. (The corn meal will act as little ball bearings to help move the pizza from the pizza peel into the oven.)

Transfer one prepared flattened dough to the pizza peel.

If the dough has lost its shape in the transfer, lightly shape it to the desired dimensions.

7 Spread with tomato sauce and sprinkle with toppings: Spoon on the tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza.

8 Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza stone, slide pizza onto pizza stone in oven: Sprinkle some cornmeal on the baking stone in the oven (watch your hands, the oven is hot!). Gently shake the peel to see if the dough will easily slide, if not, gently lift up the edges of the pizza and add a bit more cornmeal.

Slide the pizza off of the peel and on to the baking stone in the oven.

9 Bake pizza: Bake pizza one at a time until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. If you want, toward the end of the cooking time you can sprinkle on a little more cheese.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

Links:

The Ultimate Guide to Making Homemade Pizza from Macheesmo

Skillet Tortilla Pizza here on Simply Recipes

Best Pizza Dough Ever from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

10 steps to painless pizza making - useful tips from Deb of Smitten Kitchen

Simple Deep Dish Pizza from Minimalist Baker

Homemade Pizza

145 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • rc

    I happened upon this recipe around 2010/11ish…then I lost it. I am so happy to have figured out where I originally found this so that I can start making pizza with the new addition to my family as well as having some dough on hand in emergency lunch/dinner situations. I remember this being great! (cue the music: Reunited and it feels so good).

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Larry

    I roll out my crust and place it on a floured peel, rub it with olive oil and slide it onto a hot pizza stone without any sauce or toppings for about five minutes to let the crust set up. I take it out and make the pizza and spray olive oil on the crust and cook it for about ten minutes. Cooking this way ensures the crust is crisp and crunchy and the toppings don’t overcook.

  • Mary

    No pizza wheel? Use scissors!!

  • Nicole

    Turned out great! I used it for a calzone dough with not just pizza, but i did a chicken bacon sandwich roll. It was amazing! Now im using it tonight for another roll but stuffed with eggs, bacon, sausage, country gravy and cheese! I cant wait till it’s done :)

  • Alice

    I love the pizza, so tasty and well baked. Everyone should try to bake. Thk u so much for the recipe

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