Pizza Dough

Pizza dough is basically a bread dough that is spread out flat on a wide pan. Yet the recipes for pizza dough do generally vary slightly from standard bread dough. Generally, the oil component is olive oil. Milk is usually not found in pizza dough while it is frequently used in bread for a richer flavor. Another difference is that pizza dough is normally only allowed to rise once, and not after it has been formed on a pizza pan.

The following is a basic recipe. This can be used directly after having been mixed it up, but it is far better if it has been kneaded and risen once. Try sprinkling a bit of cornmeal on the pizza pan before laying on the dough. It adds an interesting texture and helps prevent sticking.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (olive oil is best)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110° F or 45° C)
1 teaspoon yeast

Directions:

Combine the dry ingredients (except yeast) in a large bowl. Mix with a fork to make sure that all ingredients are thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add in oil and warm water. A thick dough should form. The dough can immediately be spread onto a pizza pan. However, to improve texture knead dough for about one minute, then set dough aside in oiled bowl, covered and in a warm place, for about 45 minutes. Now spread dough on a large oiled pizza pan. Do NOT put on sauce or toppings just yet. Bake crust at about 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius) for 12 to 15 minutes.

This basic recipe can be adjusted. Try adding Italian herbs such as oregano or basil directly to the dough. A teaspoon of garlic powder will also make a crust that comes out nicely.

For bread sticks, cut the spread dough into strips before baking. Brush on olive oil or butter. Sprinkle on garlic powder and Parmesan cheese before baking.

A bread machine in the dough cycle will make very good pizza dough. This takes away the necessity of kneading the dough. The product only needs to be handled when removed from the bread pan. Try the following bread machine pizza dough recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (olive oil is best)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon yeast

Directions:

Put water and oil in bread pan first. Be sure to set the bread machine to make dough only. Beginning with the flour add in dry ingredients, with yeast being last. Set the timer to complete the dough about 1/2 hour before dinner is served. The bread machine will mix and knead the dough. When removed from the pan it can be spread directly on an oiled pizza pan. Bake crust at about 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius) for 12 to 15 minutes, then add sauce and toppings. Like the standard pizza dough recipe, other ingredients may be added to taste.

How to Hand Toss Pizza Dough

How not to toss pizza dough.

To toss pizza dough, first prepare dough as per one of the recipes above. Next heavily flour a flat surface. Place the dough on the flour and sprinkle some flour on top of the dough. Press the center of the dough ball so that there is an imprint leaving the dough at that point about 1/2-inch thick (a little more than one centimeter).

Place the dough with the indention on top of a closed fist. Place the other fist right next to it. Begin to rotate the dough by moving fists in a circular pattern while also moving them gradually farther from each other. As the dough thins it can be spun more quickly (but still gently). It will flair out at the edges and with a slight lift of the hands can be tossed in the air. It should be caught on the closed fists while still spinning. The dough can be tossed directly onto an oiled pizza pan.

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