Make the best homemade pizza dough recipe - All you need is 5 simple ingredients to make authentic Italian pizza at home!
This super easy homemade pizza dough recipe follows the traditional Neapolitan pizza recipe, and believe me, it is absolutely incredible.
My Italian dad was a pizzaiolo for more than 30 years, so I grew up eating lots of pizza. Over the years, I managed to learn all his secrets for the perfect pizza and enjoy every single bite of it.
I've made it endless times, and I can assure you this is the best homemade pizza dough recipe you'll ever need!
You can make both a thin crust or thick crust pizza with this recipe, and it makes about 3-4 regular pizzas or 6 slightly smaller ones.
It's also a great base for a calzone, breadsticks, or pizza bread rolls.
And, as an added bonus, this dough recipe is naturally vegan and dairy-free.
DOUGH INGREDIENTS & TIPS
The traditional pizza recipe calls for just 5 basic ingredients:
- Extra virgin olive oil
COLD WATER OR WARM WATER?
Use any kind of plain water, but make sure is at the right temperature.
Both fresh yeast and active dry yeast should always be hydrated with lukewarm water (around 25 ℃, 77 ℉).
Using cold water is highly discouraged, and can cause the glutathione (gluten in the yeast) to leak out.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIZZA FLOUR?
I've tried this recipe using both all-purpose flour and bread flour before, and it works either way with slightly different results.
One of the best pizza flour on the market is the Neapolitan Caputo Italian 00 flour, both the blue (pizzeria flour) and the red (chef's flour) labels give amazing results.
King Arthur bread flour is also a great option.
If you can't find these specific brands, go for medium-strong flour, which is basically bread flour. Opt for stone-ground organic flour whenever possible.
Choose a flour with a value preferably between W280 and W320 (usually sold in supermarkets simply as bread flour).
Strong flour contains more gluten than all-purpose flour, so it gives the dough more elasticity and allows it to rise with a good structure.
SHOULD YOU ADD EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL?
Traditionally, pizza made in a wood-fired oven doesn't necessarily call for olive oil as one of the dough ingredients.
But, extra-virgin olive oil is a superhero ingredient when baking it at home.
Adding a bit of extra-virgin olive oil into the dough helps facilitate the binding of proteins, allowing the formation of a more homogeneous elastic dough.
It will also give you a more fragrant crust, similar to the one you'll get in a typical Italian pizzeria.
FRESH YEAST OR DRY YEAST?
You can use either fresh active yeast or dry active yeast.
Fresh active yeast (or brewer's yeast) is usually sold in small cubes and it's easy to find in the refrigerated section of many supermarkets.
However, it doesn't keep well for long, and it lasts in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
So, I find it more convenient to stock up on active dry yeast, and buy fresh yeast only when I'm making pizza in the following days.
When using fresh yeast instead of dry yeast and vice-versa, the rule of thumb is dividing or multiplying by 3 (or to be more exact 3.29):
- From fresh yeast to dry: divide the amount by 3.29, eg. instead of 5 grams of fresh yeast use 1.5 grams of dry yeast.
- From dry yeast to fresh: multiply by 3, meaning 1.5 grams of dry yeast becomes 5 grams of fresh yeast.
Note that, depending on the brand, some active dry yeast doesn't need to be dissolved in water before use, in this case simply add it directly to the flour.
You can totally do the whole process by hand, however, there are a few kitchen tools that I recommend:
- Standard mixer: does a better job than me at kneading the dough and saves me a TON of energy.
- Dough scraper: helpful for cutting the dough into smaller pieces, but a sharp knife will do the trick too.
- Large baking tray: both for letting the small pizza balls rise and then baking them.
- Pizza stone: is not necessary by any means, but it helps distribute the heat better, and this means crispy pizza crust every single time.
- Pizza peel: this is basically a shovel-like tool used for transferring the pizza to and from the oven.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PIZZA DOUGH
This easy pizza dough recipe is perfect to make round Italian pizza crust at home.
The dough comes together in less than 10 minutes, then it's all a matter of resting time.
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Proof the yeast.
Place lukewarm water in the stand mixer bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar on top, mix and let it rest until the mixture is nice and bubbly.
STEP 2. Mix the dough ingredients.
Add olive oil and slowly incorporate the flour.
The dough is ready when it's smooth, and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
STEP 3. Knead the dough.
Work the ball of dough with your hands on a clean flour-dusted surface until smooth and even.
STEP 4. Rest the dough.
Transfer the ball to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with cling film or a damp kitchen towel.
Allow it to rest in a warm place for about 2-3 hours until it has doubled in size.
STEP 5. Form small balls and let them rest.
After it has rested, divide the dough into 2-3 smaller pieces and form smooth and even balls, and let them rest and raise for an extra 3-4 hours.
STEP 6. Form your pizza base.
Use a rolling pin, or spread each ball of dough with your hands to form a large circle.
HOW TO BAKE YOUR PIZZA BASE
Once your dough is ready, it's time to bake your base.
- Preheat your oven to 250C-280C / 480F-530F.
- If you have the fan option, place the baking tray (or pizza stone) onto the middle rack, otherwise, place the baking tray on the lowest rack.
- Place it in the oven and cook it for about 3 minutes, then add sliced mozzarella (make sure to pat the slices dry with kitchen paper) and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, scatter a few basil leaves on top and serve.
TIPS FOR THE BEST PIZZA DOUGH
After many years of making it at home, I can safely share all the tips you need to make the best pizza dough:
- Pay particular attention to the type of flour you use and to the water temperature.
- Sift the flour to avoid lumps, and allow good oxygenation of the dough.
- Mix the salt with a little bit of the water you'll be incorporating into the dough.
- Stop kneading when the dough is compact and elastic, moist but not sticky.
- If you lightly dip your finger into the dough and the hole bounces back slowly, then the dough is ready.
- If you're using a mixer, stop mixing when the dough comes off completely from the bowl.
- Let the mixture rest until at least doubled in size.
- Do not knead your dough too much.
- If you're using it, preheat the pizza stone for 30 minutes.
- In Italy, we "open the pizza" by hand, which means rolling out the dough into a flat disk by hand, stretching and widening the dough until forming a flat disk.
- Sprinkle the working surface with a little semolina
- Semolina is kind of grainy, and it will add a lovely crunchy texture to the base.
- Open or roll the pizza crust directly on a sheet of parchment paper, or even better, on a pizza peel.
Absolutely yes, you can make the dough in advance. I often opt for overnight pizza dough and works like a charm.
Let it rise overnight and use it the next day.
Prepare the dough and transfer it into a lightly oiled bowl, and gently rub a little extra oil onto the surface of the dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise overnight in the fridge.
The next day, remove the bowl from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about 30-40 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2-3 pizza balls, and let them rest on a lightly oiled tray covered with a damp kitchen towel.
Let the dough balls rest for 30 minutes, then stretch each ball into the pizza base, top with your favourite ingredients, and bake.
Yes, you can safely freeze the prepared dough.
I recommend that you freeze the dough before the last resting time. So, right after you form the small balls.
I freeze the dough balls individually. You can put them on a tray and freeze them for 10 minutes, then transfer each ball to a zip-lock bag and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Whenever you need, simply take the dough out of the freezer, and allow to defrost at room temperature, then proceed to make your pizza.
Yes, absolutely! I've been making pizza in the air fryer for quite sometimes and it turns just like out of a pizzeria oven! Check out my recipe for air fryer pizza for all the tips and tricks.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Homemade Pizza Dough - Italian Recipe
For The Dough:
- 500 ml lukewarm water
- ½ teaspoon dry active yeast (or fresh yeast 0.17 oz/ 5 gr), (1.5 gr)
- a pinch of sugar
- 3 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 900 g medium-strong flour , ( choose btw bread flour/ flour 00/pizza flour)
For Pizza Margherita:
- 400 g marinara sauce or pizza sauce
- 300 g fresh mozzarella balls, sliced and pat dry with kitchen paper
- handful of basil leaves
- Place 450 ml of lukewarm (do not use hot water!) water in a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar on top, mix and let it rest for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is nice and bubbly.
- In a separate small bowl mix the remaining 50 ml of water with the sea salt and set it aside.
- Pour the water + yeast mixture into the mixer, add the olive oil, and using your dough hook attachment, start mixing on a low speed, and slowly incorporate the sifted flour.
- Mix together all ingredients for about 5 minutes, adding the water+ salt mixture towards the end, and continue to mix until the dough is smooth and stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. If the dough is still too sticky sprinkle in a little more flour, if it's too dry add a little more water.
- Transfer the dough onto a clean work surface sprinkled with flour and work it with your hands until smooth and even.
- Transfer the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm place (about 24-27°C) and rest the dough for about 2-3 hours, until it has doubled in size. To check if the dough is ready, lightly dip your finger into the dough, if the hole bounces back slowly, then the dough is ready.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6-7oz (180-200gr) pieces with the help of a dough scraper or a sharp knife.
- Work each dough piece with your hands until forming a smooth and even ball, then transfer into a lightly oiled tray and cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel.
- Allow the dough balls to rise for an extra 3 hours, and use within 6 hours.
How to bake the pizza base:
- Preheat your oven to 250°C-280°C. If you have the fan option, place the baking tray (or pizza stone) on the middle rack, otherwise, place the baking tray on the lowest rack.
- Carefully slide the pizza onto the baking tray or pizza stone and place it in the oven. Bake the pizza for about 3 minutes. Add sliced mozzarella and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, scatter a few basil leaves on top and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
MORE ITALIAN RECIPES TO TRY
And if you're hungry for more, check out these creative recipes for pizza dough!