Homemade pizza dough out-flavors frozen pizza dough 10/10. Not only is homemade pizza dough much fresher than its frozen counterpart, but fresh dough also gives you the freedom to add delicious spices and flavors that store-bought crusts don't include. Though making homemade pizza dough is not an extremely challenging task, it can get tricky. To help you perfect your homemade pizza dough, we've outlined some of our most helpful tips below!
Always Use a Scale when Making Your Pizza Dough
Many of the most common problems people have when making homemade pizza dough are a direct result of incorrectly measuring the flour. Though measuring flour with a cup may be the easiest way to do it, it's not always the most accurate.
Because flour is compressible, directly pouring it into a cup will not allow you to accurately determine if you have the right amount needed for your dough. When you pour flour into a cup, the flour does not compress at all, and you end up with fewer ounces of flour than needed. On the other hand, when you tightly pack the flour into the cup, you'll likely end up with more ounces of flour than required. Using a scale to measure the flour necessary for the recipe will ensure that you're adding the exact amount, not too much or too little.
Choose the Right Flour
The type of flour you choose to create your homemade pizza dough will significantly affect your end result. Depending on the type of crust you desire (thin, thick, crispy, gluten-free) you'll need to choose your flour accordingly.
Many pizza dough recipes call for all-purpose flour. Depending on how it's rolled, this flour can either create a light and airy crust or a thin and crispy crust. Its versatility makes it a great flour to learn how to make homemade pizza dough when first starting out.
Below are a few of our favorite flours to help you make your first batch of homemade pizza dough!
What to expect:
A light, crispy and delicious pizza crust that is 100% free of gluten! This whole grain brown rice flour is specially designed for individuals who are sensitive to wheat or gluten. Whether you are sensitive to gluten or not, this gluten free pizza dough creates a light and crispy crust that’s perfect for a variety of pizza topping combos. Just one bag of this pizza crust will bake up to two 12-inch gluten-free pizza crusts.
What to expect:
If you're searching for a chewier crust, than we'd recommend using a bread flour. Our Artisan Unbleached Bread Flour is a high-protein flour that uses only the best wheat to create the chewy crust you know and love.
What to expect:
Made from the whole root of the cassava plant, when mixed with tapioca flour, cassava flour makes for an alternative flour that’s great for gluten free pizza crust!
This Cassava Pizza Crust recipe is a great one to start with when learning how to make homemade pizza dough.
What to expect:
100% stone ground, our spelt flour can easily be substituted in most recipes that call for all-purpose flour or wheat flour. A delicious and easily digestible flour for homemade pizza crust, spelt flour is an excellent source of fiber and protein.
Here's a spelt flour pizza crust recipe to get you started.
Determine the Style of Pizza you Want
Whether you are making Deep Dish pizza, New York Style pizza, Neapolitan pizza, before you start making your dough, it's crucial that you know what kind of crust you want. Are you looking for a soft, crisp crust, a thick deep-dish crust or maybe even a cheese-filled stuffed crust? Knowing the type of base you'd like will allow you to determine what kind of pizza dough recipe you'll need, and what flour to choose!
Kneading Kneading Kneading
Kneading is a crucial part of perfecting homemade pizza dough. Kneading the dough helps develop the gluten found in the flour, creating a structure for your pizza. If you're making large batches of pizza, then we suggest using a stand mixer or food processor to help knead your dough and develop the gluten faster.
If you're learning how to make homemade pizza crust and don't have any equipment to help you knead the dough, then you can do the process by hand. Another option is to use a recipe that applies a no-knead technique. While the no-knead method does take a bit of time, it's relatively simple. Just stir together all your dough ingredients, cover your bowl/container with saran wrap, and let the mixture sit overnight. When you wake up, your homemade pizza dough will be ready to shape and stretch!
Stretch out your pizza dough
Before stretching out your homemade pizza dough, you must bring the mixture to room temperature. To do this, allow your cold dough to sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Leaving your dough out at room temperature will help the gluten in it loosen up. When cold, gluten tends to tighten and cause the pizza dough to lock back into place when stretched. Loosened gluten will allow your pizza dough to stretch more and make it easier to shape.
When learning how to make homemade pizza crust, we suggest skipping the rolling pin! Often when a rolling pin is used to flatten pizza dough, the dough is overstretched. Overstretched homemade pizza dough will create a super-thin and undesirable cracker-like crust. Rolling pins also cause all of the gas to escape from the dough. Keeping gas in your pizza dough is important, as it creates the light, airy crumb that many try to achieve. When making dough from scratch, we believe that stretching the mixture with your hands is the best method.
Now that you know to stretch your homemade pizza dough by hand, let’s talk about the best method to do so. To stretch your pizza dough to perfection, leave tossing the dough up in the air to the professionals, and instead take a more practical approach. We recommend stretching the mixture with both hands and using gravity to help extend it even more. To use gravity to your advantage, keep the dough close to you and carefully pick it up with your hands near the edge. Picking it up near the side will allow the rest of the mixture to hang down and begin to stretch out naturally. Once your dough starts to stretch, gently rotate it in one direction as if your turning the wheel of a car. Depending on the recipe and amount of dough used, you'll want to continue this method until you've stretched the dough out to about 11 inches in diameter. Stretch it out a little more than the recipes asks for to account for shrinking. That being said, It's important not to stretch your dough too thin. To tell if your dough is too thin, look for holes in your dough or spots that are nearly transparent. Healthy-looking pizza dough will be about ⅓-inch thick.
Once you stretch the dough to perfection, move it to a sheet pan or pizza peel to help it keep its form. If possible, we recommend cooking the dough on a pizza stone! A pizza stone will keep the dough from getting soggy, and the flour from sinking. If you don't have a pizza stone, then place parchment paper atop of a tray that's been preheating in the oven for at least an hour. This will help create a crispy, golden brown crust.
Cook your pizza at a high temperature
Restaurants cook pizzas at temperatures above 850°F! While we're not expecting your home oven to reach 850+ degrees, we do suggest putting the oven as high as possible before your homemade pizza dough is ready to go in. Preheating your oven to a high temperature of about 500°F for about an hour before your pizza enters the oven will allow that crispy crust to form without overcooking your toppings.
When choosing a temperature to cook a pizza at, it's also essential to consider the type of flour you've selected for your dough. While this high-temperature trick works well with all-purpose flour dough, other mixtures like gluten-free or paleo doughs may cook at a faster rate. We suggest doing your research and possibly attempting a test run before placing your pizza in that hot oven!
Now that you’ve learned all the tips and tricks you need to know to make the perfect pizza, it’s time to start cooking! For more pizza inspo and recipes visit our website at Bob’s Red Mill today.