The Best Pizza Dough for Your Oven
If you’ve been following our blog, a few things can probably be safely surmised. You either have your own wood-fired pizza oven already, or you’ve finished constructing one from our handy DIY kits and are now staring at it in your backyard, wondering what you’re actually going to cook in it. Thankfully, we have an answer to that question!
Pizza oven cooking is a culinary tradition that dates back to the 1700s in Naples, Italy, which means over 300 years of careful dedication to the craft has left us a treasure trove of practices and tips when it comes to baking the delicious dish. Just like your brick oven is built on a sturdy foundation of concrete, a perfect pizza is built on a foundation of great dough. Here’s some insight into how to make pizza dough, and a wood fired pizza dough recipe you can cook for yourself!
The three big names in pizza dough
Napa Flats put together a concise explanation of the main types of pizza dough you’ll see in restaurants and in recipes for home cooking. Here’s a summary of them:Neapolitan
This is the quintessential pizza dough, named after the city of Naples. It’s a dough that bakes into a thin crust with a wide brim, and creates a crunchy, airy pie with a heritage that dates back centuries. It has a low moisture content, so it bakes fast; it also usually entails the use of a knife and fork to eat because of its thin crust.
The New York slice is probably the most popular kind of dough, if you measure by simple volume of pizza eaten around the world. It has a little more moisture and is characteristically made with oil, giving it a thicker bottom crust. It can also fold in half without breaking!
Sicilian pies are very similar to the New York, but are made with much more water and are doused in oil before baking. The end result is that the dough fries in the bottom of the pan while rapidly expanding during the baking process, creating a thick slice capable of carrying a lot of toppings.
Importance of hydration and flour
All of the pizza dough varieties are united in their use of common ingredients, but the key factor that differentiates them is how much water is used when creating the dough. A drier dough is better for a thinner crust, but a wetter dough with the right treatment creates pan-style pizzas.
When making your own homemade pizza dough, you can experiment with how much water is used to create the dough right for you; a wetter dough also tends to be much easier to knead.
Pizza dough flour is also a very important consideration. The masters use Caputo 00 flour pizza dough, according to Saveur, because of 00 flour’s incredibly fine grind. This is the best flour for pizza dough because its grind gives pizza its characteristic softer center, but crunchier edges.
Making your own dough
For a quick easy Italian recipe using instant yeast, learn from Chef Diana, owner of Italian Cooking Lessons.
- 1-1/2 Cups Water
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1 Packet Instant Dry Yeast
- 3-1/2 cups Caputo Tipo "00" Flour
- 2-3 TableSpoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Oil
- 1 Pinch salt
Follow along as Diana shows how to make her authentic Italian dough.
For a slightly different recipe, use the following to make your own awesome homemade pizza dough, and don’t be afraid to experiment with these ingredients! Modification to ratios can create different doughs, and who knows; you might go down in the pizza history books by inventing your own style of crust.
- 1-1/2 cups warm water (about 110°F to 115°F)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 ounce active dry yeast - this is necessary for your dough to rise
- 3-1/2 cups Artisan "00" Pizza Flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour or fine ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup olive oil Black Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir.
- Let this combination sit until foamy on top.
- Add 1/2 cup flour, the semolina flour, and 1/3 cup olive oil with the salt.
- Mix and continue working in the flour a 1/4 cup at a time until completed.
- Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and tacky.
- Prepare a large mixing bowl coated with olive oil and place the dough in it.
- Cover the bowl with wax paper or a wet towel.
- Place in a warm area and let double in size; this usually takes more than an hour.
- Knead the dough a little and separate into 2 equal portions.
- At this point, store in airtight bags; your dough is ready to use as directed in recipes.
Can you freeze homemade pizza dough?
After your carefully crafted pizza dough has finished being blended, kneaded, and set, you might end up staring at a pan full of dough you can’t use that night. Not to worry! Pizza dough is a very resilient baked good, and can handle storage if you need to use it at a later date. Here’s some information on what to do with leftover pizza dough.
Freezing your dough
The Kitchn has some great advice on how to freeze pizza dough. Start by portioning out your dough into one-pizza-sized balls before coating them in a thin layer of oil. Afterward, simply place the dough into a suitable freezer bag and squeeze the air out. Throw it in the freezer, and then call it a day!
How long can dough stay frozen?
After you’ve learned how you can freeze the dough, it’s also important to know how long it will keep. According to The Spruce Eats, dough hypothetically can be kept frozen indefinitely but will taste best if used within 3 months. It might be tempting, but try not to keep a year’s supply of pizza dough in the freezer!
Can you freeze pizza dough with yeast?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer? Yes, but remember where you left off. Dough with yeast can be frozen, either before or after it begins to rise based on your preference, explained by Serious Eats; if you want to save time when baking, you can freeze the dough after it has risen, or you can freeze it beforehand. Just make sure you remember when it was frozen so you can allow it enough time to defrost and finish rising if necessary!
If you are looking for pre-made dough, check out the Pizza Dough Mixes available from our friends at the Prepared Pantry!
Looking for even more recipes? Click now to visit the Patio & Pizza Recipe Collection or get a copy of our 7 Days of Wood-Fired Oven Recipes ebook for more recipes for your pizza oven! Use the code EBOOK5 to take $5 off the Recipe Book's price.