The Ultimate Pizza Dough Recipe
Welcome to the How To Cook With Honey Blog!
As a backyard beekeeper, I have a LOT of Honey and my family eats it on everything! Because of the amount of Honey that I get every year, I am always creating new recipes and looking for new ways for my family to enjoy our Honey.
One of the most awesome foods on the planet is Honey, and if you want to take your recipes to the next level, then always look for Pure, Raw, Local Honey.
Too often what you see at the big box stores is anything but 100% genuine honey. Report after report has shown that honey is the globe’s second most counterfeited food, (olive oil is number one,) so while it may be labeled as “honey,” the truth is that it is anything but.
When you are serious about cooking, find a beekeeper in your area and Buy Local Honey from them. You will BEE able to taste the difference!
While my recipe for pizza dough doesn’t contain any honey, you have to have delicious dough to have awesome pizza. Once your pizza is done, then you can top it with some pure, raw, local honey.
The History of Pizza
The modern pizza was first invented in Naples, Italy, and so to make truly great pizza, you have to follow what Neapolitans have been doing for hundreds of years. Since ancient times many cultures may had been eating toppings on flat bread, but the modern pizza was officially “born” in 1889. As the story goes, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita were visiting Naples and during their trip, they enjoyed their first pizza. A special pizza was created for the queen topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil—the colors of the Italian flag—and since that first royal first bite, this iconic combo has been called the Margherita pizza.
Neapolitan pizza dough, which is the world’s best pizza dough, contains only 4 ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. Yet, as simple as it may seem, there are a lot of other considerations for making great dough.
After a lot of trial and error, I have landed on a recipe that is relatively easy and makes an absolutely delicious pizza crust.
The Ingredients In Pizza Dough
Flour: The best flour is Caputo “00” Pizzeria Flour from Naples Italy. Caputo has different flours, so always look for the blue bag, which is specifically labeled, “Pizzeria Flour.” The double zero refers to how finely the flour is ground, and this particular flour is so good because of its low gluten content and higher protein that provides the perfect stretch and flavor for an authentic Neapolitan dough.
Yeast: Once again, look to Naples for Caputo Lievito Active Dry Yeast. Caputo Lievito is a traditional Italian dry active yeast that has been used for 100’s of years in pizza dough. This yeast is what will give your dough that authentic pizza taste.
Water: The number one thing about water is to make sure it is room temperature before you add it into the recipe. Also, like all types of cooking, use high quality drinking water.
Salt: You need salt to help bring out the taste of the crust. You can use any type of salt, including table salt, but sea salt is what’s traditionally used in Neapolitan pizza dough.
The Science of Pizza Dough
As crazy as it sounds, making dough is actually a fermentation process. When you think about fermentation, you usually think about alcohol, but the definition of fermentation is: a process of chemical change in food or drink because of the action of yeast that produces bubbles (CO2), heat, or turn sugars in it into alcohol.
Even though many of us do enjoy a good beer with our pizza, there is obviously no alcohol produced in the dough. But, the yeast does transform the flour and produces CO2 bubbles, which are what gives pizza dough that airy, chewy texture.
When making great tasting dough, you want to give the yeast plenty of time to do its thing, adding flavor and CO2 to the crust. However, the balance is that if you use too much yeast, or if you ferment it for too long, then all the little bubbles in your dough will burst, which is called “over-proofed,” and your crust will end up being flat and hard.
Pizza Dough Ingredients
The following recipe will yield 4 individual 14” pizzas
For best results, use a kitchen scale to get an accurate for all of your ingredients.
700g Caputo “00” Pizzeria Flour
2g Caputo Lievito Active Dry Yeast
First, mix the room temperature water and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
Next, add about 20% of the flour into the water. You want to add enough flour so it’s soupy, like wallpaper paste, making sure that it’s not too thick or clumpy.
Now add the yeast and stir thoroughly.
The reason you first add some flour is because if you added the yeast to the salt water, it would kill the yeast. You need to first add some flour to protect the yeast. Also, by adding the yeast to a soupy flour mixture will ensure the yeast easily mixes with the rest of the flour.
Adding Yeast to the 20% Flour/Water Mixture
Slowly add the remaining flour, mixing as you go. I prefer to mix by hand, as it makes it easier to feel what the dough needs.
Once all the flour has been added, dump the mixture onto a table or other flat surface. All of the flour may not be mixed, so use the flat surface to keep mixing in the flour until you have one consistent mixture of flour/water/yeast/salt.
At this point your dough ball will be quite sticky/pasty.
Kneading the Pizza Dough
The goal of kneading the dough is to mix the yeast into the flour/water, and to stretch its gluten, so that it contains lots of “mini walls” that will trap the CO2 the yeast gives off, resulting in a chewy, crispy pizza crust.
Kneading dough is one of the most important steps in making great pizza. If you skip it, or try to find a shortcut, then it will have a negative impact on your final product.
Once the dough is thoroughly mixed, without any dry spots, start your stopwatch, as you will knead the dough for 20 minutes.
The best way to knead the dough is to use the palm of your hand to push the dough forward then use your fingers to fold it back into the ball, and repeat. You should flip the dough over, fold in the sides, and just keep pushing it out and folding it back in for a full 20 minutes.
IMPORTANT: At no point should you ever use a rolling pin, as it will destroy your dough. A rolling pin will push out all the CO2 and you will be left with a lifeless ball of dough.
Also, as you start kneading your dough, if it feels too sticky, then lightly dust more flour into your dough. I usually dust in flour 2-3 times until it feels right. The more pizza dough you make, the better you will get at telling what the dough should feel like. This is one of the things that I love about making pizza dough, it’s both a science and an art.
After twenty minutes of kneading, you will want to “bulk ferment” your dough.
The first step is to shape your dough into a nice, smooth ball. A good tip is to pull the sides down and tuck underneath the bottom of the ball. Keep pulling it down & under until the ball is evenly smooth on its top and sides.
Next, place the ball back into your large mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. You want to cover it so your dough does not dry out. Once it’s covered let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
After two hours, you will see that your dough ball doubled in size.
Dough Ball AFTER It Has Rested For 2 Hours
After your dough has been bulk fermented, it’s time to divide it into individual servings, allowing each one to develop into its own dough ball.
Remember to always respect the top and bottom of your dough balls. Top should always be up, and bottom should always be down.
Next, you will need a dough cutter and 4 dough proofing bowls with lids.
First, gently let your dough plop out of your mixing bowl. You should carefully pull it away from the sides, and let it lightly fall onto the table.
Dividing the Dough into 4 Equal Parts
After it is out of the bowl, make sure the top of the dough is facing up, and shape the dough into an evenly shaped circle/ball.
Using your dough cutter, divide your dough into 4 equally sized parts.
Also, for the next step you will need olive oil to coat the inside of the proofing bowls so the dough does not stick. If you want good tasting pizza, make sure you buy a high quality olive oil. The better your oil, the better your pizza will turn out. Olive oil is the world’s most counterfeited food, so buying it from a reputable store is key. There are a lot of specialty shops that carry pure olive oil obtained directly from the source, so find one of these stores and buy a high quality, tasty oil. You will BEE able to taste the difference!
Coat each proofing bowl with the olive oil, and remember to also coat the inside of the lid.
Next, use the same process of shaping the dough into a ball by pulling the sides down and tucking it underneath. As you’re creating your ball, make sure you are keeping the top of the ball up. Once you have a ball, place it in the bowl and put on the lid so it’s fully sealed.
Once all 4 balls are in their bowls, place all the covered containers into the fridge. The lower temperature will allow the yeast to do its thing, while also slowing down the amount of CO2 that gets created, which will increase the dough’s taste while ensuring it doesn’t get over-proofed.
Dough Balls BEFORE Cold Fermentation
Dough Balls AFTER Cold Fermentation and Resting for 2 Hours at Room Temperature
It’s Pizza Dough!
After 24 hours, your dough is ready!
Remove your dough from the refrigerator 2 hours before you intend to make your pizzas. These two hours will give the dough time to rise to the proper size and get to room temperature.
After 2 hours, your dough is ready to be formed into pizza crust.
Shaping Your Dough
Shaping your dough ball into a proper pizza crust is an art onto itself.
The key things to remember are:
- NEVER use a rolling pin to flatten your dough. It will destroy all your hard work
- Dust your working surface and your hands with some dry flour before you begin
- The top of your ball will be the top of your crust. Once it’s out of the proofing bowl, place your dough top up
- Push straight down on the ball using your both your hands. Start with your palms in the middle, and your fingers around the edge
- With your hands still on the dough, spread your fingers to spread the dough
- Always maintain the outer edge of your crust. Never cut or puncture the edge
- Continually turn the dough so you’re fully working it, expanding the full circle
- Your dough is very stretchy and will hold together, so pick it up with two hands and move your hands like you’re turning the wheel of your car, it will stretch it/increase its size
- You know your dough is at the right thickness when you can see light shining through it
- Continue until you have a 12” – 14” pizza crust
And That’s It! Now it’s time to make your pizza by adding toppings and putting it the oven.