Homemade Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza dough
Homemade pizza dough beats delivery every time.

I really love pizza. Honestly, who doesn't? Even the cheapest, most generic slices are tasty. But when you've got perfectly thin, crisp, flavorful dough with just the right amount of toppings, pizza is food magic. I've become a bit of a pizza snob after living in New York, and I have to say, in your home oven you can make truly exquisite pizzas for less money than delivery, and much less than buying the equivalent product out at a trendy Italian restaurant.

It all starts with the dough...

There are a handful of traditional doughs, from the thinner Roman crust to the thicker Neopolitan. New York City pizza is almost halfway between the two, and the slices are huge.

When I'm making pizza at home, I stick with a thin crust and small pizzas. My home oven and pizza stone cannot compare to a huge wood burning oven the pros have, so keeping the pizzas smaller and making sure your oven is preheated helps even the playing field. If you are new to making yeast doughs at home, I've added step-by-step photos in the recipe.

Boozy Epicure's Pizza Dough
Makes 8 small pizzas

1 cup warm (not hot) water
1 tblsp yeast (I buy ActiveDry yeast in the jar)
1 tblsp honey
3 cups flour (I usually use 2 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of all purpose, but you can use either or mix like I do.)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

Put the yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer, pour the water over it, add the honey, and swirl it around or mix a bit with a fork to get the honey incorporated and make sure all the yeast is moistened. Let it rest for just a few minutes to wake up the yeast.

Yeast, water, and honey, just mixed.

After just 2 minutes, starting to get foamy.

Using the dough hook, start mixing on low speed until is starts coming together, then turn the speed to medium and let the mixer work for about 5 minutes.

Just starting to mix
And now, starting to come together

 Your dough should be smooth, elastic, and feel supple when you touch it.

Almost there
Looking smoother, time for the windowpane test.

Now for the windowpane test. Your dough is done when you can grab off a piece, pull it with your fingers and it is both strong and elastic enough to create a thin membrane you can see light through. This means the gluten has fully developed. If the dough rips instead, it needs more kneading, either by machine or hand.

Windowpane test.
Since my other photo was fuzzy, here's a clearer shot. 

Once you've passed the windowpane test, take the dough out of the mixer, put it in a large ziplock bag and leave it out at room temperature to rise for 30 minutes. All that's left is to let it rest in the fridge.

Dough in bag.
After 30 minutes, time for the fridge.

Technically, your dough is ready to use after an hour's rest in the fridge. I think the flavor is better if you make it a full day ahead of time, so it has overnight to rest in the fridge.

If you trust your yeast (as I do) and you are making it a day ahead, you don't even need to start with warm water. The heat wakes up the yeast faster, more rise, but less flavor. The choice is yours.


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