An easy-to-follow and good Italian pizza dough recipe that’s perfect as a base for your favourite pizza toppings. Roll out to your desired thickness – crispy thin, medium or thick crust, top with your desired toppings, bake and enjoy! Mamma mia!
Hello, friends! I’m giving my blog a little bit of a make-over, so if you’re wondering if you’ve landed at the right site, yes, you have! Nothing else has changed, content-wise, and I’ll be happy to bring more yum your way as regularly as I can, in between everything else. Do let me know what you think of the new look and feel (it’s still work-in-progress) – I hope it makes your browsing experience here that much more enjoyable. Now that my tiny announcement is out there, I’m looking forward to to sharing this really easy and good recipe for home-made pizza dough.
There’s no mistaking a really good pizza – it’s just crisp enough on the outside to give a crunch to every bite, yet soft, chewy and moist, even bread-like, on the inside. At least, that’s the way I enjoy having this baked slice of dough . When it comes to pizza, the phrase ‘to each his own’ aptly says it all. We all enjoy our pizzas in infinitely different ways – skinny, thick, crispy, soft, chewy, loaded, sparse, meaty, vegetarian, cheesy, over-cheesy, or no cheese at all … you get the picture. And the beauty is, you really can make pizza just the way you like it, fulfilling everything on your wish-list for that sumptuous, delicious, perfect pizza.
The thing you’ll discover very quickly, is that once you make your own, you’ll probably never, ever want to have store-bought, take-away, or order-in pizza. Ever. With home-made pizza, you get to make your own delicious versions that can’t be found anywhere else either! And if you have impressionable kids, making pizza will surely excite and wow them (wink!). Or, if you have kids who just can’t seem to tame their restless little fingers, this is one way to have a little help (and hopefully, some peace of mind) and bonding in the kitchen.
I’m focusing most of my discussion here on the dough, as I think toppings can be just about anything you love throwing on your pizza. If you’re going to place fruit or vegetable toppings with considerable water content (for example, lots of freshly sliced tomatoes), and don’t want to end up with a soggy dough, it might be worthwhile to par-bake your pizza dough without any toppings for a few minutes to crisp up the surface. The wet and dry toppings can then go on the pizza, and be put back in the oven for a couple more minutes to bake till toppings have cooked and cheeses (if using) have melted and browned lightly.
This dough is very forgiving, so don’t worry about over kneading at any stage. Just knead until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with your index finger, about 8 minutes. Then shape it how you enjoy it. If you’re not accustomed to hand-shaping the pizza – stretching it out with your hands – or if this is the first time you’re working with pizza dough, it’s acceptable to roll it out with a rolling pin, but if you can, give hand-shaping a go. That’s because the trapped air bubbles in the dough is what gives rise to a bread-like texture, and rolling out the dough would undo all that work of kneading. To point you in the right direction, have a look at many Youtube videos and helpful information online on how to stretch and shape your pizza by hand. Stretch the dough to your desired thickness for a thick crust, medium crust or thin crust.
Easy Italian Pizza Dough
- 2 cups Tipo '00' flour (or use strong bread flour), plus extra
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 tsp active dry or instant yeast (or 15 g fresh yeast)
- 250 ml warm water (between 40 - 42 deg C)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional), plus extra
- Place the fresh or active dry yeast in a small bowl and add about half (or 120 ml) of the warm water. Stir gently until all the yeast is mixed in with the water. Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- Place the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and stir with dry hands to mix well. Make a well in the centre by pushing the flour to the sides of the bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture, extra virgin olive oil (optional), and just enough of the remaining warm water to obtain a fairly sticky dough. The dough should feel sticky and moist to the touch and sticking only a little to your fingers or spoon. (Tip: Add the warm water little by little, and mix in with your hands or a long wooden spoon, until all the flour comes together as a sticky dough ).
- Lightly dust counter top and hands with extra flour. Scrape all the dough out of the bowl onto the floured counter top. Shape into a firm, round ball.
- Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes ( 'How to Knead Dough' is included under Recipe Notes below). Lightly flour the counter top and your hands if the dough starts to get too sticky. When the dough no longer sticks to your hands or the counter top, lift it up and bang it down hard a couple of times on the counter top, to develop the gluten.
- The dough is ready when the surface is smooth and elastic, and show definite air bubbles trapped beneath the surface. It should spring back when pressed lightly with your fingertip. Place in a large bowl oiled with extra virgin olive oil and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm, dry place for 30 to 45 minutes, to rise.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 230 to 240 deg C (450 to 465 deg F). Place baking rack in the lower one-third of the oven.
- When risen, flip the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured counter top (so that the surface of the dough is now in contact with the counter top surface, and the oiled bottom is facing up). Using floured fingertips, lightly press the dough into a round shape. Place the dough in the prepared pizza pan or on a large sheet of baking paper (if baking on a pizza stone). Then stretch and shape with your fingertips until it reaches the edges of the pan. If rolling out the dough, roll the dough to the size of the pan, then slide it into pan. (Tip: Do not worry about overworking or being too rough when working the dough, just make sure that it does not become too dry and crack. Also, be mindful that while you may stretch it out to any thickness, do not let it break).
- Press down around the edges of the pan to create a border which will prevent the toppings from seeping off the pizza during baking. Lightly brush the border with some extra virgin olive oil to give it a nice colour and a slight crisp when it bakes.
- Place your favourite toppings as desired. Most start with a layer of tomato sauce. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon to smooth. Then top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with some olive oil all over (optional).
- Let pizza rest for a few minutes before putting into the oven to bake. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toppings have cooked and cheeses (if using) have melted and browned lightly.