Dough or Dough Not, There is No Try

This is the way a typical Thursday night in the Flaherty household begins.

This could be the start of something beautiful.

This could be the start of something beautiful.

We combine yeast and water, two basic requirements for pizza dough. Within minutes, the two ingredients are working their magic in a humble liquid measuring cup. After adding flour and letting a stand mixer do the kneading for us, much of the work is done for pizza the next day (with a second dough ready to freeze or use over the weekend.) If it sounds simple, that's because it is, and we wouldn't have it any other way. 

Yet getting to this kind of dough nirvana was far more complicated.  I rarely make a recipe more than once - unless I make it tens or hundreds of times. In the case of pizza dough, finding and tweaking the right recipe took nearly two years. I've tried everything from KitchenAid's stand mixer booklet recipe to Smitten Kitchen's Lazy Pizza Dough (and many more in between) before settling on my current recipe.

While each recipe has its merits and drawbacks - KitchenAid makes a wonderfully pliable dough but has little flavor, while Lazy Pizza Dough packs a ton of flavor but is hard to work with - I think the recipe I'm sharing with you provides the best balance of a developed flavor and a completely docile dough. If you don't believe the latter is important, write me after you've tried to roll out a sticky, stretchy dough and are covered in specks of flour.

Take a gander at the recipe below. Try it out & let me know what you think. With a little practice, I hope homemade pizza night will become a tradition you love, too.

Homemade Pizza Dough 

Adapted from Sur La Table

Yield: Makes enough for 2 12-inch pizzas

  • 1/4 cup warm water (110+ degrees F)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour (we use King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Measure warm water directly into measuring cup and add in yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve if necessary. Use this "blooming" time to prepare your other ingredients.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed and allow two ingredients to combine; then add in "blossomed" yeast mixture. Add the water and olive oil and allow machine to knead until dough completely pulls off the sides of the mixer and looks smooth and elastic - generally 3-4 minutes. (If you don't have a stand mixer, you can simply knead the dough by hand for a total of 10 minutes.)
  3. Allow the dough to proof for roughly 90 minutes by turning out onto a lightly floured board (we use a simple IKEA cutting board) and covering with either a damp cloth or the cleaned out bowl of the stand mixer. The dough should be doubled in size; you can adjust the proofing time based on the temperature of your room. Once proofed, form into two balls and pop into Tupperware for storage in the fridge (generally 1-2 days) or freezer (indefinitely).