How To Make The Perfect Pizza Dough

May 17, 2021

Homemade Pizza Club Fresh Dough

How to make the perfect pizza dough

 

There are more varieties and styles of pizza being made and served today than ever. It never ceases to amaze me how many new and exciting ways to serve such a simple dish still continue to be found. From Neopolitan style pizza with its soft texture and leopard spotted raised crust through to Chicago style deep pan pizza, there are so many ways to make pizza you could eat it a different way every day for the rest of your life!

There are also many recipes (and opinions) on how to make pizza dough that can be a little overwhelming for the home pizza maker.

So here is a guide and recipe to making the perfect homemade pizza dough.

First off, let’s talk flour. Before you switch off, flour is actually a rather interesting subject (well, we think so anyway). If there are a lot of opinions on pizza styles, there are equally as many on pizza flour and most professional Pizzaiolos (Italian pizza chefs) will all swear the flour they use is the best for the job. Whilst it is true that all flours are not equal when it comes to pizza, it is not as much of a concern for the home pizza maker as it is for the professionals.

You will possibly have read or heard that Italian 00 flour is the only flour to use when making pizza. This is most certainly the case if you want to produce a Neopolitan style pizza in a wood fired oven. This gives the traditional charred crust without burning the pizza, as this very fine and pure flour gives the ability to cook at a very high heat. But it is most certainly not the best flour if you are looking to bake your pizza in your domestic oven at home. For these purposes, we can simply use a strong bread flour, ideally around 12-14% protein content (you can check the protein content on the nutritional information on the label to find this out). Bread flour also contains more of the bran from the wheat than the 00 flour (which is a highly refined flour), making it healthier to eat.

So, we’ve chosen our flour, now to make your pizza.

Before we look at the method and recipe we will be using, let’s briefly look at fermentation. Fermentation is the process that happens once flour, water and yeast are combined together to form a dough. Yeast is a living organism and as such actually feeds on the sugars in the flour which when combined with the water, starts to create pockets of gas that make your pizza rise, exactly the same as how bread rises before baking.

This process can take different amounts of time according to various factors including how much yeast is used, what type of flour is being used, how warm the environment is and many more. But essentially there are 2 ways to ferment your dough.

  1. A room temperature ferment for around 4-5 hours.
  2. A cold ferment whereby the dough is fermented slowly in a refrigerator overnight before being removed and brought up to room temperature the following day.

Out of these 2 methods, we recommend method 2 if you have time. The reasons for this are that a longer ferment allows for greater development of the dough, not only making it taste better but also making it far easier to digest. One of the reasons lots of people struggle with gluten intolerance is due to commercially raised doughs which are fermented very quickly and thus never given time for the dough to properly develop. A properly fermented dough will be better for you, taste better and be easier to digest. At Homemade Pizza Club, we ferment our dough for a minimum of 48 hours before turning it into pizza bases. This ensures a great tasting product that is far more easily digested.

 

So, that’s really all we need to cover. We’ve established what flour to use and looked at a few different ways to ferment the dough, so we are ready to go!

 

Here’s your starting recipe for homemade pizza. This is similar to the recipe we use in making Homemade Pizza Club dough and bases (minus a few specialist ingredients and methods) and will give you a great tasting pizza to enjoy. As we are using a domestic oven which doesn’t get as hot as a pizza oven, we have shared a ‘hack’ using a frying pan that is a great way of giving your dough a more authentic look and taste.

The best and easiest way to make your pizza dough is with a stand mixer using a dough hook attachment. If you don’t one, don’t worry, you can mix it by hand, just follow the instructions below.

Makes 4 pizzas. If you have any leftover dough you can freeze it and use it another day. It will be just as good.

Ingredients:

500g strong white bread flour

12g salt.

10g dried yeast

15g olive oil

300g cold tap water

 

Method:

  1. Place the flour, salt and yeast into the stand mixer bowl and start the mixer on slow speed. Gradually trickle in the water as the mixer is running until it is all taken up by the flour. Mix for around 4 minutes. Increase mixer speed to fast and mix for 2 minutes. The dough should have come together now and should be looking smooth and stretchy. Add in the olive oil and mix for another 2 minutes on fast speed until the oil has absorbed into the dough. If the dough is oily and the oil has not fully absorbed, mix for longer until it is fully incorporated into the dough. The dough should feel nice and smooth.

Note: If you are mixing by hand, place the flour into a large mixing bowl along with the salt and yeast. Add in the water whilst stirring the dough in the bowl with your hand. Once a rough dough has formed, tip onto a work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Pour the oil over the dough and knead for another 5 minutes until the oil is absorbed (this will be messy to begin with and you may think it won’t absorb at first but just keep going until it does)

  1. Remove your dough from the mixer and tip onto a slightly floured worksurface. Roll it into a long sausage shape around 30cm in length. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Weigh each piece on the scales to 200-210g per dough ball, adding or removing dough to achieve the weight if needed. You should end up with 4 equally weighted dough pieces.
  2. Now take each piece one at a time and roll it around several times on the work surface in the palm of your hand until it is smooth and round.
  3. For best results, place the dough balls in the plastic container and place in the fridge. Ensure sufficient space between each dough ball to allow it to double in size. If your container is not big enough to allow for this, use 2 containers. You can also place the dough in sealed freezer bags as an alternative. Leave uncovered for around an hour in the fridge (this allows the dough to cool sufficiently from the mixing) before placing the lid on the container and leaving in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Don’t forget to place the lid on or your dough will develop a thick skin which will give it an unpleasant texture.
  4. Remove your dough from the fridge the following day at least 3 hours before you intend to use it.
  5. If you are lucky enough to have an outside pizza oven, get it fired up and hot. If not, heat a large cast iron frying pan (don’t add any oil) on the stove until it is very hot. You are going to use this to start the dough off as just putting it straight in the oven will not give great results. Pre-heat your oven to 200c.
  6. Whilst the oven and frying pan are heating up, remove each dough ball from the container and place on a floured work-surface. Cover the dough on each side with flour before gently stretch out the dough and manipulating it with your hands into a round circle around 10-11 inches in diameter. (Youtube may be a good resource to learn how to do this!).
  7. Pick up the rolled out dough circle and place it into the frying pan to start the cooking process. Cook it for around 1 minute before turning it over and cooking the other side.
  8. Remove the dough from the frying pan, place back on the work surface and add your tomato sauce and any toppings.
  9. Place the now fully topped pizza straight onto the oven shelf (no need for a baking tray) and bake in the oven at 200c for around 5-6 minutes until the cheese is browned and the toppings are cooked through. Serve and enjoy

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