Homemade pizza dough recipe
I’ll go out on a limb and posit that pizza may be the best food type on the planet. Pizza has everything: incredible texture, rich flavor, it’s cheap to prepare, it’s filling, and, in general, is one of the rare food types that contains both complexity and simplicity.
My beloved Aunt Giovanna (pictured on the left) owns a small wood fired bakery in Calabria and both the bread and pizza she bakes each day is the best I’ve tasted. The bread is airy with incredible texture and flavor. My favorite daily ritual, when in Calabria, is to head to the bakery early in the morning and enjoy a breakfast of fresh baked bread with extra virgin olive oil. Aunt Giovanna’s pizza contains the same properties of her bread, but with traditional Calabrian toppings (including olives, sardines, sea salt, basil, grated Pecorino Romano, and coarsely chopped plum tomatoes).
One of my simple wishes is to reproduce my aunt’s pizza here in States, but it would be nearly impossible given that I lack the wood fired oven, high quality and ultra fine Italian flour, and the water from the region. So, what’s a pizza loving guy to do? Well, adapt of course!
In turn, here’s my classic homemade pizza dough recipe adopted for us transplanted Europeans and Americans alike! And please stop giving your hard earned cash to the local Pizza guy who drives the fancy imported car, you deserve better pizza!
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 cups of all-purpose (or unbleached) flour (you can also try Molino Caputo Tipo 00 Pizza Flour, imported from Naples, Italy)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Mix the “wet ingredients”, including the water and olive oil with the dry yeast (you’re looking to dissolve the yeast). Thereafter thoroughly mix the remaining dry ingredients and combine with the wet ingredients.
- Place the mixture in a Kitchen Aid and mix for 2-3 minutes. Remove the dough and knead with your hands for 4-5 minutes; you’re looking for a fluffy/not too dense dough. Remember to make sure your work space has plenty of flour so the dough does not stick when kneading. Form the dough into a ball and coat the exterior with a bit of olive oil and place in a large bowl, covering the bowl with a kitchen towel.
- The dough should sit (I like to place the bowl in my oven, with no heat of course) for 30-45 minutes or until it doubles in size.
- Next, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a 10 by 15 inch cookie sheet and thoroughly coat the bottom with the oil. Take your dough and cut it in half and stretch the dough on your cookie sheet. Add a bit more olive to the dough and spread it with your hands.
- You’re now ready add your toppings and tomato sauce!
- Preheat your over to 400 degrees F. and bake your pizza for 20-25 minutes depending on how thin or thick your dough is. Once you’re ready to remove the pizza lift one side of the dough and make sure you’ve got a nice brown color (the cheese should be bubbling as well). After removing the pizza, add the hand shredded basil and a bit of olive oil. If you have some Parmigiano-Reggiano you could also grate a bit on top of the pizza!
Some of my other favorite toppings include:
- Sauteed red onions, black pepper, and Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Sauteed mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Dried rosemary, seal salt, red pepper flakes, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and extra olive oil