How to Make the Pizza Dough By Hand
Homemade pizza is one of my family’s favorite meals especially now that we are making them from scratch in our outdoor wood-burning oven.
I thought making pizza was easy and it is but making it perfect is another thing. One of the most important steps to making great pizza is starting with great pizza dough.
Surprisingly, for a recipe with so few ingredients, you can find numerous versions on the Internet and in your favorite cookbooks. I’m not talking about recipes for making pizza, but just the pizza dough. Then there is the decision to make it by hand or use a mixer if you have one.
Questions & Comments from You
Grace A Rizzotto
Comment: Hi, I make pizza for a living , I have been told that salt kills yeast., I use salt & sugar with the dry yeast, eggs, oil and water, which is about 135-140 degrees. Was I misinformed , is it a combination of elements or has the restaurant just been lucky for the past 26 years ? Just curious. Thanks….
RG Response – It’s a matter of balance. Salt does retard yeast growth, and in concentrations that are too high, it can indeed kill the yeast. In judicious amounts, salt is what brings out the flavor in the bread and controls yeast growth so that the resulting crumb is nice and even.
If you ever make a dough without salt, you’ll notice a lot more, and faster, rise and after baking, you’ll see large, irregular holes in the bread where the yeast just got carried away.
So, it’s not that the restaurant has been lucky, it’s just that their pizza dough recipe is balanced so the yeast can do their thing while the salt keeps them in check.
Pizza Dough Recipe
- 1¼ cups water lukewarm
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup semolina flour
- 3¼ cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Combine the lukewarm water and sugar in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and wait for it to dissolve.
- Now add the olive oil. Sprinkle half of the semolina flour and half of the bread flour into the bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the rest of the semolina and bread flour along with the salt. Stir to combine the ingredients.
- Now the fun part. Use your hands to bring all the ingredients into a big ball.
- Remove the ball from the bowl and put it onto your kitchen counter. I usually add a little flour to the counter so it doesn't stick but Rouxbe says not to. They feel the extra flour will make the dough tough.
- Knead the dough for 6 to 7 minutes. Kneading helps distribute the yeast throughout the dough and develops the gluten. A good needing techniqe is to use the heel of your hand to push the dough away from you. Fold it back over itself, turn and start again. Keep this going until the dough looks smooth.
- Cut the dough in half and make two balls. Coat each round with a little oil and place on a plate or try. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it is double in size. Should take about an hour.
- Rouxbe says, "This can also be done overnight in the refrigerator. By letting the dough slowly rise in the refrigerator, the dough will develop more flavor. If using this method, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours prior to making pizza so the dough can come to room temperature. Punch the dough down, portion and shape into rounds as described above. Cover and let rest for 1-2 hours until it comes to room temperature."
- Now that you have made the dough and it has risen, it's time to Shape the Dough.