Making Pizza the RIGHT Way
Growing up, I worked in several pizza kitchens and have made my share of doughs. Everyone wants to search out the perfect crust, and for good reason, pizza is delicious. Now what I am about to tell you may shock you considering the title of this recipe.
There is no right or wrong way to make a pizza crust! There are only a few variables and you can change them to make the crust that suits you. As you experiment, you will be enjoying pizza, which is a good thing.
Pizza dough is a combination of flour, water, yeast, plus, you can also add oil or butter for texture or salt sugar, herbs for flavor. Another variable is kneading time and type of flour.
A higher gluten flour that is kneaded for longer will create a firmer more substantial crust whereas a lower gluten flour that is kneaded for less time will be lighter and crispier.
Add butter to your crust and you will have one that flakes with a considerable amount of flavor, like the ones used for Chicago style pizza.
For now, I have provided a recipe that will be a good starting point. This recipe will make two 16-inch thin crust pizzas.
I highly recommend you have a pizza stone in your oven or BBQ Grill and invest in some pizza screens. This will make the entire process much easier. And if you really want to look like a pro, get yourself a good pizza peel.
Pizza Dough (made in advance):
- 5 cups of bread or all purpose flour + Extra ½ cup for the board
- 2 cups water (heated to 110 degrees F)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil (save one for later)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
Heat the water to temp and pour water and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a microwave safe bowl.
In another bowl or electric standing mixer bowl (with the dough hook attachment), put in the dry ingredients.
If you are using a stand mixer, place on the low setting, and with the dough hook hook attached, pour the wet ingredients in slowly being sure to get all the dry spots as you pour.
If you are not using a standing mixer, I would recommend reversing the process and pouring the dry into the wet, it will be easier. Just be ready, it is going to get messy.
Once the dough is mixed together and you have done the appropriate amount of kneading, you are going to split into two even dough balls.
Make them nice and smooth, drizzle some of the leftover olive oil in separate bowls and cover each ball with the oil.
Then cover them with a moist towel or a plastic wrap and set them aside.
If you want to eat the pizza soon, keep it room temp. If you are making it in advance, you can put it in the fridge and let the yeast develop a nice flavor for the dough. (up to 3 days in the fridge is fine).
Combine in a bowl. You can make this in advance. It does not have to be cooked.
- 1 can 14 oz tomato sauce
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to the highest it will go and insert your pizza stone. I recommend putting the stone lower in the oven so that the bottom is done and the toppings do not overcook.
Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your oven, with or without a pizza stone, if you have it one a tray or a screen.
Just plan on checking your pizza half way through and spinning it front to back. I also remove the screen and place it right on the stone at the latter half at about 8-10 minutes in. Usually takes about 12-15 minutes at 550 degrees.
Roll out the dough. If you have done a light knead, your dough will be so soft that all you will really have to do is spread the dough out with the palms of your hands.
Be sure to flower as you go along.
If you have kneaded the dough, then you may want to employ the usage of a rolling pin.
That is OK too, just remember to push as lightly as you can, you want to retain as much of the air bubbles created by the yeast as possible. Also be sure not to get too thin in any areas. Try to remain a consistent thickness throughout.
Once your dough is large enough and at the desired thickness, lay it out on your screens. It is time to start to dress your pizza
Take a few spoonfuls and spread evenly about an inch from the edge of your dough.
- 1 lb Low moisture cheese (Mozzarella, Muenster, Provolone)
- Meats: Pepperoni, Sausage, Salami, Ground beef, Ham, Canadian Bacon, Meatball, Prosciutto, BBQ Chicken, pulled pork, anchovies, bacon,
- Other toppings: Onion, Bell Peppers, Olives, Mushrooms, olives, jalapenos, basil, pineapple, spinach, banana peppers, fresh or sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh garlic.
Try to experiment and have fun.
Once cooked, be careful and remove the pizzas from the oven. I usually place them on these pizza pans for service and cut them with a pizza cutter.
Just be sure to wait a bit so you do not burn your mouth. Pro tip how to test if a pizza is too hot to eat. If it burns your finger, do not put it in your mouth. If it doesn’t burn your finger, you are safe.
I hope you enjoy your pizza, and most importantly, that you discover how best to make pizza the right way, for you…
Homemade Pizza Dough
- Stand Mixer with hook attachment
- Pizza stone
- Pizza screen (optional)
- Pizza peel (optional)
- Water thermometer
- 5 cups All purpose flour *Plan on 1/2 cup extra for the board
- 2 cups Water *Heat to 110 degrees F
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tspn Salt
- 1 tspn Sugar
- 1 tspn Dry active yeast
- Heat water to 110F and combine with 2 tbsp of olive oil into a microwave safe bowl.
- Combine dry ingredients into bowl (or stand mixer bowl if using), and pour wet ingredients in slowly and knead everything together. When not using a mixer, reverse the process and pour dry into wet ingredients.
- When kneading is complete, separate dough into two equal parts and roll into balls until smooth all around.
- Drizzle some of the leftover olive oil in separate bowls and cover each ball with the oil.
- Cover dough balls with a moist towel or a plastic wrap and set them aside.