What is your favorite pizza dough recipe?
June 16, 2014 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Pan or stone. Bonus points for not needing a mixer, only a bowl or breadmachine. Ready-set-go! Also...how do I get it from the peel to the pan?
posted by TomMelee to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I make a delicious pizza dough in my bread machine every couple weeks, I can tell you off the top of my head:

1 3/8 cup room temp water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry active yeast

Then the dough setting on the bread machine, takes an hour and a half. It's delicious, simple, better than most pizza places. Makes 2 pizzas. I cut the ball of dough in half and wrap the 2 individual pizza dough balls in plastic wrap, and let them finish rising in the fridge. I usually freeze 1 dough ball to use later, it thaws in the fridge in about 24 hours.

Get it from the peel to the pan by putting cornstarch on your peel, it'll slide right off.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:13 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: Peter Reinhart's Napoletana pizza crust is my usual go-to. But I also often make pizza using Jim Lahey's no-knead bread dough...looks like he has a pizza-specific instructions, too. Nothing is easier, it just takes time to plan for the long fermentation.

I usually build pan pizzas in the greased pan, patting out the dough and sometimes even letting it rise in/on it. No need to transfer.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:14 AM on June 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: This is my go-to dough, although I tend to just wing the measurements these days (I also tend to scale it up to use 1 cup of water and just-under three cups of flour, because I like a bigger pizza).

I use parchment on the peel to get the pizza onto the stone. After 3 or 4 minutes on the stone, the bottom is set enough to slide the parchment back out so the crust gets crispy (I can reuse the parchment a few times this way). Cornmeal is way too messy.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:18 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Serious Eats NY style dough is my go-to dough. It uses a food processor--I'm not sure where that ends up with your bonus points. It's great. I get three two-person pies out of it. By trial and error, I think it needs 395g of water using King Arthur bread flour. I also combine the sugar and the yeast with the water, rather than adding the sugar to the rest of the dry ingredients.

I highly recommend a baking steel instead of a stone. It comes out much better.

If you're using a pan, I'd preheat the pan in the oven, then work the dough into the pan. Be careful, of course, it's going to be hot as hell.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:18 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I use the recipe in The Joy of Cooking.
To get the crust off the peel, I use a liberal amount of cornmeal and use kind of a vibrating motion to ease it onto the stone.
I also crank the oven as hot as it'll go; none of this 375 degree nonsense :-)
posted by PSB at 10:28 AM on June 16, 2014

+1 for the Jim Lahey no-knead recipe. Super easy and very good.
posted by primethyme at 10:28 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

2nding the Admiral. The rest of their dough recipes are pretty good too.
posted by Silvertree at 10:33 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: Smitten Kitchen's pizza writings are very helpful to me for yeast doughs. If I am in a rush, I do this.
posted by mkb at 10:44 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: All the pizza dough recipes I've tried have been pretty similar, and they all have turned out pretty well. So I don't have a particular recommendation there.

I use a pizza stone. I haven't tried a baking steel, but am intrigued.

I preheat the heck out of it. My ovens's thermostats doesn't go hot enough, but using "Broil" I can get the stone up to 650. But I go back to non-broil when I put the pizza in.

I use semolina flour instead of cornmeal. Both work to get the pizza off the peel, but semolina holds up a little better to high temperatures. The really important part is to make sure the peel stays dry - if sauce spills over or leaks through a hole in the crust, it'll get stuck whichever coarsely ground grain you use.
posted by aubilenon at 11:00 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: You don't need a pizza stone, just an inverted sheet pan that you've been keeping in your hot-as-it-will-go oven to get nice and hot.

Cornmeal dusted on your peel (and the pan) will provide necessary lubricant.

You can also do pizza (and better, in my opinion, because they get hotter) on your barbecue if you have one. Crank it up, close the lid, leave it alone until it's as hot as it'll get. Put your untopped pizza dough on the grill, cook about 2 mins. Remove, flip, top the partially cooked side, return to BBQ until done. Lid closed. Probably about 3 minutes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:03 AM on June 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Honestly? The best dough I make is bought from Fresh & Easy. Better than all my experiments and other store brands.

Yep. You can freeze and defrost it.

Skip the pizza stone. Get a $2 to $6 priced Pizza Screen. Build your pie on the screen, pop the screen in a slamming hot oven, enjoy perfect crispy pizza 4 minutes later.

When I want really good at-home crust, I go to Fresh & Easy even tho I hate that store and all of the fake food they sell. At least in LA, they make the best pizza dough.

Source: I moved to LA from Little Italy in NYC, part of my family hails from Napoli, Italy, and I am a former culinary professional. I like to think I know good crust. Try my way & see if you agree!
posted by jbenben at 11:05 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: Okay, here's what I do. I have this recipe for Amish White Bread which produces an amazingly simple, flexible, and popular bread dough, but the same recipe can be slightly modified to make pizza dough.

Amish White

6 cups of flour (should be a high gluten flour, often called bread flour)
2 tsp salt
sifted into

2 cups of hot water, 3/4 cup of sugar, stirred until dissolved. Sprinkle a package of yeast over that and proof for a couple of minutes. Add 1/4 cup of oil, and then sift in the two dry ingredients. Stir until well mixed, then knead about 5 minutes. If making bread, let rise a couple of hours, knock it down, split it, put it into two bread pans, let rise a second time in the pan covered with a wet towel, and then bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes.

So that's the bread, and it's kind of sweet, and I usually use canola oil, so it's not pizza perfect on its own. Here's how I modify it for pizza.

Swap a good olive oil for the canola oil, and cut the sugar to 1/2 a cup. Rather than letting it rise in a bowl on the counter, I oil the bowl with olive oil and let it rise all day in the fridge. Aging the dough is the key to that pizzeria taste.

Tips and Tricks

Get 6 standard size clay floor tiles (at Home Depot or Lowes, unglazed is prefered) and place them on your oven rack before preheating your oven. You no longer need a stone, you now have the perfect surface for a pizza oven. 6 floor tiles perfectly fit a standard oven rack.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F or higher. Good pizza requires a really fast cook. I usually use 450.

Regular flour works fine for sliding a pizza off a (perfectly dry) peel, but if you're having difficulty with it, try coarse corn meal.
posted by Toekneesan at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: I would endorse any of Kenji's dough recipes (I have not made this particular one). Here's his pan pizza recipe, which is no-knead, and you basically let it shape itself in the pan.
posted by O9scar at 11:32 AM on June 16, 2014

NB: floor tiles may contain glazes or contaminants which, especially at high temperatures, may not be safe for food. So this may not be a good route. A purpose-made stone or an inverted baking sheet are your best bets.

(Culinary professional here too, taught to make pizza by a certified pizzaiolo. Well, pizzaiola I guess, if Italian is that gendered. I have no idea.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:42 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Start with:
2 cups lukewarm water
1 tbsp/1 package yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt

Mix, and allow yeast to proof.

1/2 cup at a time, add 1 cup wheat flour (I used King Arthur's Irish Wheat) and about 5 cups of white unbleached flour. Mix well, then knead on a floured breadboard. Place in a buttered or greased bowl, cover with cloth or damp paper towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Divide flour into halves, each half makes 1 large-sized pizza. Roll out, and put your pizza toppings together, then bake on a pizza stone for ~15 minutes in a preheated oven at 450F. To make getting on and off the stone easier, assemble the pizza on a piece of baking parchment paper, and slide the peel under the paper when placing the pizza onto the stone.

You can add 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese to the dough during the flour stage. The wheat flour isn't strictly necessary, but I think it adds a nice texture. I also tend to skimp a bit on the salt, which hasn't caused trouble yet.

Certified best pizza dough around. Trust me, I'm a doctor.
posted by physicsmatt at 11:49 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: After trying dozens of different recipes, I think the Cook's Illustrated Thin-Crust Pizza dough is probably the best one I've found.

If you're at all serious about making quality pizza at home, I cannot recommend 'Baking Steel' enough. You will never get the type of crust you can easily achieve with baking steel using a stone or a sheet pan.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 11:51 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: I really like the dough in this recipe for grilled pizza-- it works great in the oven, too. The wheat flour and cornmeal give it a nice texture, and I have had good luck getting it to roll out pretty thin.

The parchment suggestions above are helpful, too.
posted by TrarNoir at 11:52 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: I favor the King Arthur pizza crust recipe from their recipe book, though we usually modify it by replacing some of the flour with whole wheat or rye, and by adding herbs (especially freshly crushed dry rosemary). The online version doesn't seem to be quite the same, but here it is anyway. The dough goes together quick, even when you account for kneading time, and you don't have to let it rise long.

We always roll this one out pretty thick, fwiw, and tend to use the coarse corn meal trick on the stone.

Seconding the use of an outdoor gas grill for making pizza, particularly in the warm months. We put our pizza stone on the grill surface, and then cook the pizza on it (including a one-side pre-cook without toppings, not quite the same as FFFM but similar.
posted by jepler at 11:53 AM on June 16, 2014

Response by poster: You are all beautiful people. I will begin making these ASAP.
posted by TomMelee at 12:18 PM on June 16, 2014

Grilling pizza is awwwwesome. Here's a trick I learned from a Johnson & Wales culinary chef-instructor:

When you are ready to cook, heat your grill with the lid closed. Invert a large mixing bowl on a serving tray, and drizzle some olive oil on top of it (the bowl's "foot," so to speak). Set the dough ball on that, and gently stretch it down the sides of the bowl. The olive oil should keep it from sticking; just keep stretching it out. You can now carry the whole tray out to the grill and put the dough on, directly from the bowl, and the oil will keep it from sticking to the grill bars as it bakes. Taa-daaaah!

I makes a little mess, yes, but it works a treat.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:23 PM on June 16, 2014

A 24 hour cold rise in the fridge will make any pizza dough better.
posted by gregr at 4:21 PM on June 16, 2014

NB: floor tiles may contain glazes or contaminants which, especially at high temperatures, may not be safe for food. So this may not be a good route...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:42 PM on June 16

That's a good point. And I've only used unglazed terra cotta, my larger point was that having a full stone surface resolves the aiming issue if you're using a peel. I guess I figured that since clay cookware used glaze, glazed tiles might also be harmless, but I think you make a good point that anything could be on those tiles. Not generally true of plain terra cotta.

We actually bake a lot too, and we keep the tiles in all the time. It's great for pizza, flat bread, tortillas, any number of baked things. I suspect though, that our oven is less efficient because we leave them in as now heating the oven also involves heating these tiles. I feel guilty about being a bad environmentalist everytime I use the oven but don't need those tiles.

Here's a video I made a little while ago on how I sometimes make pizza.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:40 PM on June 17, 2014

Any vaguely-sensible recipe will work fine (I mostly use Lahey's). The thing that will make the biggest difference is not using your oven (even with a stone, steel or whatever) and going for the pan & grill (UK)/broiler(US) method. It will take a bit of practice to get the best results and obviously requires a decent gas burner.
posted by turkeyphant at 7:00 PM on June 17, 2014

+1 for Peter Reinhart's Napoletana recipe - I just can't get past that one. I build the pizza on a peel that I've dusted with some coarse semolina to help with a clean release.

For a pizza stone I use an inch-and-a-half thick slab of granite left over from someone's countertop. It takes a while to get it up to 550 (I give it a good 15-20 minutes after the oven says it's there), but it holds a lot more heat than my last pizza stone.
posted by ersatzjef at 7:09 PM on June 17, 2014

Response by poster: I'm not liking the pricing on the baking steels, but I'm seeing lots of cast iron options. My largest cast iron skillet is 14", seeing a fair number of other options for ~1/3 the price of the pizza steel. Anyone have experience with any of those?

I also need to look at youtube and such for better ideas how to build my pizzas. I suspect my bread machine dramatically overworks the lean, low-moisture dough, and then I'm probably no helping by yanking it around all over the place to make it fit my rough shape.
posted by TomMelee at 10:55 AM on June 18, 2014

Best answer: Yes, your bread machine is almost certainly overworking the dough. Do it by hand; kneading dough can be a wonderfully meditative process. Also, because you're actually feeling the dough, you can feel when it's ready to let it sit and rise. (Basically, make a thumbprint in the dough, it should bounce back relatively quickly but not immediately. You want some elasticity in the dough.)

As for shaping it, it's really not hard. If you're making a rectagular pizza just roll it out. If you're making a circular one, form a thin-ish disc, and then toss using the backs of your hands and a flick of the wrist--I guarantee there are a lot of how-to videos on the technique on youtube.

Do you have any baking sheets? Like what you'd bake cookies on? That's all you need. Right side up if you want a (shallow) pan pizza style, inverted if you want a flatter and/or thinner crust style. There is no need, no need at all to go and spend money on specialized equipment that you will use for only one thing. Especially if you have a gas BBQ out back.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:50 PM on June 18, 2014

Response by poster: Hehe, thanks. My issues are many. First, I have a pretty small kitchen. I watched your video and sorta drooled over your butcher block. I don't have a ton of counter space, or rather I do...but it's somewhat shallow. I think I have enough to knead, probably. My other issue is that my back is somewhat bad, that stand w/ a slight lean REALLY hurts in about 30 seconds. Lame excuse, I guess.

I have a circular airbake pan I use regularly, it does just fine. I mean, I think ANY homemade pizza is delicious, I've just been having crust issues. I have a big pizza stone too, but I've had very limited success getting the pizza from the counter/peel to the preheated stone without the use of parchment, and then that ruins the crust FOR REAL. The one recipe I've been using also sorta needs some pre-baking if NOT on the stone.

I've also got a somewhat seasoned Pampered Chef rectangular bakeware pan, their sort-of-stoneware stuff, and it does AWESOME, but I sorta hate rectangular pizza for some unknown reason.

I also have no gas BBQ and no plans to get one. We're very much a charcoal family 'round here...and my charcoal grill is a pretty small cast iron affair.

BUT! Thank you. I shall try all these things again. I can probably put the stool by the counter and knead my heart out. I need to try to find one of those pastry rolling sheet things though. Err..a better one. The one I had wouldn't EVER lay flat no matter what.
posted by TomMelee at 6:49 AM on June 19, 2014

Best answer: parchment, and then that ruins the crust FOR REAL

You can sneak the parchment out after a couple of minutes. Sure, you'll be letting a little heat out of the oven, but the way I figure, making pizza in a home oven is kind of a game of compromise, anyway, and getting-cornmeal-everywhere is where I draw the line.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:15 AM on June 19, 2014

I don't have a ton of counter space, or rather I do...but it's somewhat shallow.

I have a tiny kitchen, a small apartment-sized oven, no special tools or pans and I don't have a stand mixer. This recipe for Easy No-Roll, No-Stretch Sicilian-Style Square Pizza at Home is fool-proof. I also use a tip from the comments (I think?) and use oiled parchment to line the pan and it works perfectly for this crust.

I know you said you hate square pizza. Use a round pan and try it. It's amazing, and I'm a plain cheese NY slice kind of gal.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:53 PM on June 23, 2014

Curious if anyone advocating oven-based methods have actually tried the pan and grill method because I can't see why you'd ever go back...
posted by turkeyphant at 11:56 AM on July 1, 2014

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