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The Best Pizza Dough

Chelley read my mind this week when she made this pizza dough. Over the weekend I decided that I wanted pizza sometime this week and the recipe that Chelley used was the same recipe that I had planned to try. I had previously tried a recipe from allrecipes.com that was popular for a while. It was okay, but I found it to be much to doughy and chewy. I knew that my Baking Illustrated book would not let me down, and so I wanted to give their version a try. After Chelley’s review, I was confident that it would turn out well.

I was not disappointed! This pizza dough was absolutely perfect. It was crispy and a bit crunchy on the outside but was just soft and chewy enough on the inside. It also helped that I made the best batch of pizza sauce I’ve ever made 🙂 I decided to make my favorite type of pizza, which is a simple one with just cheese and pineapple. I never prebake the crust before adding the toppings, but this recipes calls for you to prebake the pizza stone for at least 30 minutes, which I think contributed to the amazing texture and consistency of this dough. It was also very easy to put together, thanks to using a food processor. When I was finished blending it together in the food processor, I knew by the texture of the dough that it would be good- it was so soft and easy to work with. I’m including the full recipe for the dough, which yields three medium-sized pizzas, but since it’s just the two of us I cut the recipe in half and it made one large pizza. I also included my recipe for pizza sauce.

Pizza Dough
(Source: Baking Illustrated, pages 153-155)

Makes enough for 3 medium pizzas.

We find the food processor is the best tool for making pizza dough. However, only a food processor with a capacity of at least 11 cups can handle this much dough. You can also knead this dough by hand or in a standing mixer (see the variations that follow). Unbleached all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, but the resulting crust will be less crisp. If you want to make pizza dough in the morning and let it rise on the counter all day, decrease the yeast to 1/2 teaspoon and let the covered dough rise at cool room temperature (about 68 degrees) until doubled in size, about 8 hours. You can prolong the rising time even further by refrigerating the covered dough for up to 16 hours and then letting it rise on the counter until doubled in size, which will take 6 to 8 hours.

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl

1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

3. The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by h and for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

Pizza Dough Kneaded by Hand
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

Pizza Dough Kneaded in a Standing Mixer
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

Pizza Sauce

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce or 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan on medium heat until warm. Spoon over pizza dough.

12 Responses

  1. This is my standard pizza dough recipe as well, except that I tweak it just slightly by replacing some of the water with white wine.

    I always make the full recipe of dough and freeze half. It’s really handy.

  2. Okay, I’m convinced. I HAVE to try it. : )

  3. I love doughs that can be made in a food processor! The pizza looks great. I think I’ve given up on my pizza stone because it’s hard to slide the pizza off of whatever I made it on on to the stone without some mishap! I think maybe due to using at least half whole wheat flour?

  4. Yay! This dough rocks!

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  6. yay! i can’t wait to try this…if both you AND chelley loved it, i know it won’t disappoint!

  7. […] already had a fabulous pizza dough recipe and was interested to find out how this would compare.  I’ve been making my own pizza dough […]

  8. […] first.  In the meantime, you can find blog entries on Cooks Illustrated’s basic recipe here, here and […]

  9. […] pounds pizza dough (a full recipe of this one would be perfect) 1 cup pesto 1 cup frozen artichokes, defrosted and roughly chopped 2 cups […]

  10. […] another note, I’ve tried 3 or 4 pizza dough recipe and this one is BY FAR the best. I believe it is originally from Baking Illustrated. I halved it for us, to make […]

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  12. A very good recipe, thank you for that. I love home made pizza, it allows me to prepare a very tasty meal using almost everything I have in the fridge. I’m gonna try this one now.

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