Don’t be intimidated by making your own pizza dough, it’s quite simple once you get the hang of it! This dough is perfect for a DIY pizza night at home. Everyone gets to pick their favorite toppings!
Confession: I’ve always been in love with pizza. I thought it was one of those things that you grew out of once you stop ordering off the kiddie menu, but I’m well into adulthood and my love for pizza has only grown stronger.
At the time I’m writing this post, my current part time job is at a bar/restaurant. It’s not glamorous, nor my ideal life situation at the current moment, but I am certainly grateful for the opportunity to surround myself with food that is (for the most part) created from fresh ingredients. As an onlooker in a professional kitchen, you will definitely pick up new skills and knowledge.
Awhile back, an older gentleman, Bob, was the main pizza chef. He was Italian, very astute in his observations of things, and a damn good pizza chef. His weathered hands knew how to manipulate pizza dough without a rolling pin, and he was wise enough to know that tossing your dough into the air was mostly for show and hardly for technique. He was old-fashioned and a man of habit, and I think that was why I admired him so much.
Before he stopped working in the kitchen due to a decline in his health, I asked him for the pizza dough recipe he always used–this is the recipe he used for years in the kitchen of the restaurant, scaled down to about 1/8 the size of a batch of dough they would usually make. They make a lot of pizza dough. Don’t be intimidated by making your own pizza dough, it’s quite simple once you get the hang of it!
The guys in the kitchen always use the industrial sized mixer with the dough hook attachment, but I figured scaling it down meant I could use my Kitchenaid stand mixer and dough hook attachment. Of course, if you don’t have a stand mixer with dough hook, kneading by hand is always an option. I’m sure Bob probably did a lot of kneading dough by hand in his time. Not familiar with working with dough? Be sure to read through my notes and instructions before diving straight in.
The initial dough ball made four smaller doughs. Cut in half, then in half again.
Since I wasn’t planning on eating four pizzas at once, I formed the dough into circular balls and put two in the refrigerator inside separate plastic baggies greased with cooking spray. I threw the remaining one in a pyrex dish into the freezer.
Be very liberal with the amount of flour you use while rolling out the dough. You don’t want your dough to stick to the rolling surface. Transferring rolled out dough from the counter to the pan is always my least favorite part. Be careful to not rip the dough! If this happens, I usually just pinch together the surrounding areas to close up the hole.
Although I’m a fan of all sorts of pizza toppings, this time I chose the very plain sauce and cheese route. Sometimes a classic is just what you need. This is sliced fresh mozzarella and jarred sauce with a liberal dousing of dried Italian seasoning from my spice rack.
As always, cook to your preferred level of doneness. I love slightly underdone pizza that still has a bit of crunch, so I use a high cooking temperature and only cook for a short amount of time.
Feeling frisky? Bob used this same dough to make calzones, a cheese lover’s dream 😍 my favorite rendition of his calzone was one with breaded chicken cutlets, bacon, mozzarella and ricotta <3 pardon me while I dream of this beautiful creation.
What will you put on your pizza?
Don't be intimidated by making your own pizza dough, it's quite simple once you get the hang of it! This dough is perfect for a DIY pizza night at home. Everyone gets to pick their favorite toppings!
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1/4 ounce salt use kitchen scale for accurate measurement
- 1 ounce olive oil
- 1/4 ounce yeast dissolved in water
- 1 1/2 cups water at 140°F
Using a thermometer, heat water to 140°F.
Add yeast to hot water and stir, then let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
Mix together dry ingredients.
Add olive oil to yeast/water.
Slowly add in dry ingredients to water.
Attach dough hook to stand mixer. On medium speed, allow dough to come together. If dough seems too sticky, add more flour as needed.
Once the dough is no longer sticky to the touch, transfer to a flat surface (such as a counter) to let the dough rise.
Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave the dough for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Divide the large dough ball into four smaller doughs and roll each into a circular ball.
For doughs you aren't using immediately, place in a container with an airtight seal and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Doughs can also be frozen for a longer period of time.
**To make the pizza: dust your rolling surface liberally with flour. If you have the time, allow dough to rise at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling out.
Preheat oven to 450°F
Working in a circular motion, roll out dough until it is flat. If you like thin crust, roll out thinner.
Transfer to a pizza pan or pizza stone.
Add desired toppings and cook for roughly 15 minutes. If you prefer a 'well done' pizza, leave pizza in the oven for a bit longer.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing.
- I'm pretty sure they still use a slight variation of the recipe Bob gave me, but I prefer his recipe. Bob was the man.
- I use Red Star yeast (in the jar instead of packets) and I always love the results I get when testing out different pizza dough recipes. The guys in the kitchen use a pungent smelling yeast from a block, but I prefer the Red Star yeast. Making sure the water you mix with the yeast is up to the current temperature is crucial to the dough's end result.
- Semolina flour is one of those specialty flours I had a hard time finding the first time around, but they do carry it in smaller sized bags at my grocery store. Bob's Red Mill semolina flour is great with providing excellent quality specialty flours that are usually found in your normal baking aisle.
- This dough cooks well in a preheated oven with a pizza stone, plain old greased and floured pizza pan, or even on the grill. Toppings are totally up to you--some of my favorites are buffalo chicken, meatballs/onions, vodka sauce, or a classic white pie with ricotta cheese and some freshly minced garlic.
I’m also a big fan of cooking pizza on the grill. Let’s face it…I’m a fan of all pizzas and all the ways they are cooked.
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