There are so many ways to make pizza dough but the golden rule to keep in mind is that the best way will be your way. That's because making dough is influenced by the following factors:
- your local climate
- the yeast
- the salt
- the flour
And not all of us have access to the exact same ingredients.
I've created a Pizza for Beginners YouTube playlist that gives some great tips to help your learning to cook pizza journey! Enjoy your Pizza Cooking!
This is a pizza dough guide only and you will need to experiment with these basic recipe tips in order to create a dough that will work for you.
What do you need to do to make pizza dough?
There are 3 key things:
- Get the right ingredients
- Knead - whether that is by hand or electronically.
- Proof - using an air-tight container to proof the dough in.
Yes, that's pretty much it. It's quite basic and easy to do. Most of the time you will be waiting for it to proof.
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In this article we will cover:
- The ingredients we need to use
- How to measure the dough
- How to knead the dough
- How to proof the dough
STEP 1. THE INGREDIENTS
The biggest mistake is to use the wrong flour.
Don't underestimate the importance of using the right flour for your pizza dough. This does not mean it has to be expensive. But there are some technical reasons why the flour you use is crucial for the structure and cook of your pizza:
- The mill of the flour. Type 00. 00 is the mill of the flour and 00 is the finest type of flour for pizza dough.
- The grain of the flour. Use soft-grain flour. This gives the pizza dough all the elasticity for the stretch.
Pizza dough needs salt. It works with the glutens in the flour. You don't need much. I use 9g per 500g of flour.
Any type of salt will do as long as it dissolves easily in water. For pizza dough I would recommend using table salt.
You can use dry or fresh yeast. I've only used dry as fresh yeast is not readily available.
Tap water at room temperature - that's all you need.
STEP 2. WEIGHING THE INGREDIENTS
It's really important to use digital scales for this if you can as the more accurate they are the better.
The pizza dough recipe:
- 500g 00 soft-grain flour
- 300g water
- 9g salt
- 0.25 to 3g yeast (climate based)
The weighing process
- Weigh the flour and add to the main mixing bowl.
- Split the water into x2 150g bowls.
- Add the table salt to one of the 150g bowls of water and stir to dissolve
- Add the yeast to the other 150g bowl of water and stir to dissolve.
STEP 3. MIXING THE INGREDIENTS
There's a lot of discussion out there and it's divided - whether the small amount of salt will destroy the yeast you are using. I have heard it fizzle out my yeast on occasion. And so to lower that risk I now keep them apart.
- Place the flour in a big bowl (your mixing bowl, electronic mixer or your bread-maker)
- Add the dissolved salt water to one side of the bowl, then flip some flour over it, to cover it away from the yeast.
- Add the dissolved yeast to the other side of the bowl and quickly stir it all in.
You can leave the mixture to rest at this point before you knead it. Cover with a tea towel.
STEP 4. THE KNEAD
You can use various machines to knead your pizza dough and I'd recommend using one if you already have the gadget in your kitchen.
The Bread-maker. My favourite way to knead dough is with a bread-maker using the pizza-dough option.
The Food-Mixer. I've had bad results using this type of machine. From my experience, the dough tended to continually rise up the hook and a layer of dough remained stuck to the bottom of the bowl during the knead.
Hand knead. I've tried hand-kneading dough - I quickly moved on to using the bread-machine!
STEP 5. THE PROOF
As they say, the proof is in the pudding, well in this case, if you've followed the steps 1. to 4. you should have a nice batch of pizza dough ready for the proof.
The Proof is a way for the ingredients to develop together, giving it more structure and flavour.
You can test this out yourself. Try using dough that's just had an hour proof then use a dough that's had a 24 hour proof and you will notice a huge difference.
What do I need to do to proof the dough?
- Place the fresh dough into an air-tight container that is at least double the size of your dough ball. If your container isn't air-tight, use cling film.
- Then, place the container in either the fridge or a warm room - your choice is below:
There are many ways to proof your pizza dough. These are my favourite:
- 24 hour room proof
- 24 hour room proof then a 1 to 3 day fridge proof
- 24 hour fridge proof then a 24 hour room proof
- 1 to 3 day fridge proof then a 24 hour room proof
You don't have to be exact with the timings - dough is very forgiving!
Once you have proofed your dough you can ball it up, use it, or freeze it for another day.