Every great pizza starts with a great crust. To get that crispy, chewy texture that’s the hallmark of a great pizza, you’ll want to make the dough from scratch. Have no fear—from-scratch pizza crust requires only a few pantry staples, a few minutes of kneading (no stand mixer needed), and time to rise.
Since working with yeast can be intimidating, especially for non-bakers, Julie Grasser, Pampered Chef’s Culinary Research and Development Chef, created a simple Homemade Pizza Dough that’s the perfect foundation for all pizzas, including our White Pizza.
Julie walks us through how to make a pizza crust. Once you see how easy it is, every night might be pizza night.
Pizza Crust Ingredients
In addition to salt and sugar, here are the other four ingredients you need.
- Flour: Nothing fancy here—just all-purpose flour.
- Yeast: To make working with yeast simpler, Julie uses instant yeast, also called rapid-rise yeast, instead of active dry yeast. Unlike active dry yeast, instant yeast doesn’t need to be dissolved in water first; it can be mixed right into the dry ingredients.
- Water: When using instant yeast, the water you add should be between 120-130°F (49–55°C). You can use hot tap water, but to get an accurate temperature, Julie recommends using a thermometer to check the temperature. If the water is 140°F/60°C or higher, all types of yeast will die and the dough won’t rise.
- Oil: Julie prefers olive oil because it has a more distinctive flavor than vegetable oil. Oil is important in dough because it makes it tender and keeps the moisture from the toppings from making the crust soggy.
Let the Dough Rise
This is what makes the crust light and airy. Knead the mixed ingredients until a smooth, firm ball forms. Then place the dough ball in a large bowl that you’ve brushed with olive oil, then brush some more olive oil on the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in size, about an hour or two. You can cut this step in half with a pressure cooker; it takes just an hour to rise on the PROOF setting.
How to Stretch Dough
When you’re ready to make your pizza, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten with your hands, starting at the center and working outwards. The dough will be soft and easy to maneuver. Julie says you can use a rolling pin if that makes it easier, but that might flatten some of the bubbles, which is what makes it airy. Keep turning and stretching until the dough becomes a 12″ (30-cm) circle.
Use a Pizza Peel and Pizza Stone
Pizza crust gets even crispier when cooked on a preheated stone. Our pizza stones (those purchased after Sept. 1, 2020) can be preheated in a 450°F (230°C) for up to 30 minutes. To easily transfer food on and off a preheated stone, use a pizza peel, like the pros do, for less mess and safe hands. Keep both the peel and dough room temperature so the dough doesn’t sweat. Julie recommends using cornmeal to dust the peel instead of flour. Flour sticks to the bottom of the crust and doesn’t bake in, and doesn’t always taste good. Place the dough on the peel, add your toppings, and transfer onto the preheated stone. Cook until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted, about 12–15 minutes. If you don’t have a pizza stone that can be preheated, add a few minutes to the overall cook time.
Freezing & Thawing Dough
You can make a double batch so you’re ready for the next pizza night. After it rises, tightly wrap and freeze it (it will deflate). You can thaw it overnight in the fridge or let it sit on the counter until it’s room temperature, at least an hour. Then it’s ready to go.
To learn more, watch how our Culinary Content Manager, Sandy Wolner does make-ahead mini frozen pizzas and get all her tips here.
Pizza Crust in a Hurry
If it’s pizza night and there’s just not enough time to let dough rise, Julie recommends making our 5-Minute Dough. There’s no yeast, so no rising (and a little less airy) but a great option.
And it can’t get any easier than using our high-quality pizza crust mix, just add water and oil, and can have delicious pizza with all the flavor and crispy texture you love in under 30 minutes—less time than it takes to get one delivered.
We want to see your homemade pizzas! Share in the comments below or on social media using #howipamperedchef.