The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Pizza Primer

A Pizza Primer

If you've ever made French bread at home, you've made pizza dough. Traditional, DOC (Denominazione de Origine Controllata) designated pizza dough from Italy contains nothing but flour, salt, water, and yeast.

The dough at most neighborhood pizza joints contains a few more ingredients. Fats are added to make the dough more supple, and sugars are added to feed the yeast and give the bread a touch of sweetness.

I suggest that home bakers begin with a simple, versatile pizza dough recipe like the one below. Once you've got that under control you can experiment to find something more to your liking.

Realize that you are going to give your pizza a lot more TLC than the employees at most chain pizza places do. If teenagers working at Dominos for 6 bucks an hour can make a decent pizza, you shouldn't have any problem doing it yourself at home!

A Versatile Basic Pizza Dough

This is the Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough from Peter Reinhart's American Pie. It is a low-yeast, slow-rising dough with enough suppleness to make it easy to work with. I find it to be the most versatile dough recipe I've come across.

At the end of this article I will talk about how to modify it to better match your preference in pizza dough style. But, first things first:


The Dough:

Makes 4 10-inch pizzas
5 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
2 teaspoons salt (or 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 to 2 cups room-temperature water

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or mix in an electric mixer. After you've combined all of the ingredients, set the dough aside to rest for 5 minutes. Stir again for 3 to 5 minutes, adding more water or flour if necessary. Generally speaking, you want the dough to be wetter and stickier than your typical bread dough. It should be dry enough that it holds together and pulls away from the side of the bowl when you mix it, but it doesn't need to be dry enough to knead by hand.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Place each one into an oiled freezer bag. I just squirt a couple of sprays of spray oil into the bag. You can also brush the outside of the dough with olive oil and then place it into the bag. All that matters is that you be able to get the dough out of the bag later.

If you aren't going to bake them that day, you can throw the bags into the freezer. They'll stay good in there for at least a month. The evening before you intend to bake them, move the frozen dough balls to the refrigerator to thaw.

If you intend to bake them later that day, place the bagged dough balls in the refrigerator. Remove them from the fridge and let them warm to room temperature an hour or two before you intend to bake them.

Remember that, as a baker, time is your friend: longer, slower rises at reduced temperature result in better tasting bread. But sometimes you don't have the luxury of time - that is OK; this dough will still work well if only given an hour or so to rise at room temperature. Allowing pizza dough to rise is more about giving the yeast time to bring flavors out of the wheat than it is about leavening. Most of the leavening occurs when you put the active dough into the hot oven, so you don't need to wait until the dough balls double in size.

Surely you can prepare the dough an hour before baking, can't you? That'll give you time to make the sauce, grate the cheese, and get the oven hot. Speaking of which, it is time to put together a sauce.

Getting Saucy

Once again, there are a million different pizza sauces. If you already have one you like, feel free to stick with it. Or consider doing something totally different, like using pesto or barbecue sauce instead of a tomato sauce.

I throw this recipe out because it takes under 3 minutes to make and is quite good. Once again, it is from Peter Reinhart's pizza book.


The Sauce:

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon garlic powder or 4 or 5 cloves of crushed garlic
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice, or a combination of the two
salt and black pepper to taste

Stir everything together. If the tomatoes are too chunky, break them up with your fingers.

Fresh tomatoes or herbs can be substituted for canned tomatoes and dried herbs. The fresh tomatoes don't even need to be cooked first, since the time in the oven baking is enough to cook them.


I am not experienced enough to do the whole "throw the pizza into the air" thing. My technique for shaping the dough is extremely simple. I pick up a ball of dough and gentle stretch it into a circle. Once I've got a circle four or five inches across, I hold it up by the edge and, while rotating it, let the weight of the rest of the dough pull it down to stretch it out.

When I start feeling resistance in the dough, I set it down on a lightly greased plate to rest for 5 or 10 minutes. Then I pick it up again and stretch it a little thinner before lying it down to add the toppings.

I like to stretch my dough quite thin, until it is almost transparent. If you like thicker pizza dough then, obviously, don't stretch it out so much.

You can use rolling pin to shape the dough. Doing so results in a more uniform dough with numerous small holes. I personally like the dough to be thinner in the center than the edge and to have a thicker, bready crown full of large irregular holes around the outside. This effect is difficult to achieve with rolling pin, but if that suits your taste then go for it.

Topping and Preparing for Baking

Before you put the toppings on the dough, you need to know on what surface you intend to bake the pizza. If you have a pizza stone, it should be put in the oven and getting hot (450 or 500 degrees) by now. If not, the back of a cookie sheet works fine.

If you are going to try transferring your pizza from one surface (like a peel or a cookie sheet) to another (like a hot pizza stone), I strongly recommend using parchment paper under the pizza. Particularly if you are going to add a lot of toppings to the pie: the extra weight pressing down tends to make the dough stick to the surface you dressed it on. You could also try to sprinkle corn meal or semolina flour on the surface hoping that will be enough to let you slide the dough without sticking - in my experience, though, it rarely is; I've had many pizzas end up looking like roadkill because they wouldn't to come off the peel smoothly. I've cut the number of swear words I use in the kitchen in half just by springing for a 5 dollar roll of baking parchment and placing a piece of it under the pizza. I just grab a corner of the paper and tug it into place when it is time to slide the pizza into the oven. Much, much simpler.

Whatever surface you decide to dress the pizza on, sprinkle it with corn meal or semolina flour and spread the dough over it. Add the sauce, the grated cheese (typically mozarella and parmesan, but there is no reason you can't improvise), and toppings.


As I mentioned earlier, most of the rise you get from pizza dough actually happens in the oven. Professional pizza ovens are much hotter than home ovens. At home you typically want to make pizza at the highest temperature that your oven can safely handle, like 450 or 500 degrees. Baking on a pizza stone will give your dough a little more pop when it gets in the oven but it is not necessary to make good pizza.

If not the lowest shelf, then the second to lowest is probably the best place to bake your pie. You want the pizza to be as close to the heat source as is possible without burning. But every oven is different, so adjust accordly.

Place the pizza in the hot oven, close the door, and let it bake for 5 minutes. Check it every minute or two until the cheese is melted and the dough looks baked. In my oven with the size pizzas I make, I bake them for 7 to 9 minutes.

Pull them out, slice them, and eat!

The Pizza Spectrum

As I mentioned, there are dozens of dough recipes for the endless different styles of pizza. The most traditional recipe includes nothing but flour, yeast, salt, and water. Adding a little bit of oil makes the dough more supple so that it can be stretched easier and is softer to the bite. Adding a touch of sugar gives the yeast something to snack on. And more yeast can be added to guarantee a rise even for heavily topped pies.

Some general recommendations, based on a couple of the more popular styles of crust:

  • Thin and Crackery - Add less (or no) oil. Try using some high protein bread flour, like one out of five of the cups. Stretch the dough extremely thin. Bake it on a pizza stone or as close to the heat source as possible without burning it.
  • Thick and Chewy - Substitute milk for half of the water. Add more oil or shortening to the dough. Increase the sugar and the yeast by half again. Don't roll the dough out so thin. Bake it up a shelf or two in the oven so that it can bake longer without burning.

Any of the other techniques you've learned for baking bread can be adapted for pizza: sourdough, the sponge method, including whole wheat flour, even grilling, which I will write about when the weather warms up. So use your imagination!

If other folks have dough recipes they've had good experience with, I'd love to have them share them below. Please specify what style dough it makes.


Altaf's picture

WOW...your pizza looks if it was baked in a brick oven 8-). . Actually i was planing to buy this book ;-) plus a pizza stone and peel. i`ve tried a recipe from the ITALIAN BAKER and a recipe from FINE COOKING magazine(using pizza pans with holes) ... I`m searching for the best pizza dough. I can hardly wait to try this delicious recipe.

Did you use a pizza stone and a peel to bake this pizza??

TIP: I once read if you want the look of a resturant pizza, brush the edges of your pizza with olive oil when you pull it out from the oven.

Altaf's picture
Floydm's picture

Did you use a pizza stone and a peel to bake this pizza??

I did, but as I said, I've had really good luck in the past just using the back of a cookie sheet.

frog's picture

We really enjoyed the recipe for the dough AND the sauce! I had a little trouble with leaving the dough too sticky, but I think that is just something I learned from making the mistake. Still everything turned out perfectly! We made pizzas on Friday night and Sunday night, from the one recipe. We even had a few pieces left over from Friday night,reheated them Sunday night, and they even reheated super well! I can't wait to do this again! :-D

Floydm's picture

Glad to hear it turned out well.

Yeah, sticky dough takes practice to handle. A little flour on your hands can help, or a little extra olive oil on the outside of the dough. You can make it drier but you really want it to be as wet as you can handle so that it'll stretch real easily.

MrsRoc's picture

My husband and I LOVE to make our own pizzas and we do it quite often (something about meeting each other in Italy I assume) and I tried this dough recipe tonight and it is my new pizza dough recipe. I actually made it is my mixer, I usually always make is by hand, and though a little sticky it turned out great. I added just a tough of extra flour and kneaded is for about 2 mins just to combine well. We baked them on the bake of a cookiie sheet but I definately want to try our stone next!

I also love how this recipe makes enough for two nights of dinner! No more frozen pizzas for us!

Scottyj's picture

The page is no longer there. Good link to the website but the ifo is gone.


jexia's picture

We just made this pizza dough and it turned out excellently. We've got hungry men over for dinner, so we just made the bases and let them top them how they liked. It worked really well! We also did a plain one with olive oil, herbs and salt. Very tasty.

Elagins's picture

i generally use a local (southern california) wild-yeast starter that i built and make about a 65% water/breadflour dough, with about 2% salt. Per Peter Reinhart, I also bag my dough, but let it slow ferment overnight in the fridge before I freeze it. With that long ferment, I get gorgeous gluten chains,which lets me make my crusts ultra-thin. Lately, I've also been playing with a softer thicker crust, more like Sicilian ... add 5% olive oil and reduce the water accordingly.

Incidentally, I discovered that a generous dusting of semolina is usually more than enough to prevent sticking on the peel ... and I make sure the dough is free by wiggling it on the peel before I dress it.

I bake mine on one of those great made in Taiwan rectangular stones at 550 for 7-9 minutes, depending on the thickness of the crust.


CarboKing's picture

Hi Elagins - this is really going back in time.  Where did you get your Taiwan pizza stones? What brand is it?  


Thanks for sharing.


CarboKing's picture

Hi Elagins - this is really going back in time.  Where did you get your Taiwan pizza stones? What brand is it?  


Thanks for sharing.


longlivegoku's picture

I recently purchased Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice and American Pie. I must say the crust and sauces are wonderful. Little work and tons of flavor. As for baking on stones, I've filled my little electric oven with unglazed quarry tile. It seems to do wonderfully in creating an extra crispy crust. And the best part, it only cost me $17 to get enough tile to create a 1" thinkness on top and bottom. I usually do 1" on the bottom and 1/2" on top though, saving the extra six for when I inevitably break one.

Here my question, has anyone used the Super Peel? ( I'm seriously thinking about purchasing one. I can work with semolina/cornmeal just fine but would like something a little easier if possible.

SteveB's picture

I use a Super Peel for my bread baking and consider it to be among my most valuable baking tools. I think of it as a mini oven loader for the home baker.

tgw1962_slo's picture


I saw your post and wanted to ask about the super peel. This is the first time I'd ever heard of it and wonder why its so spectacular.

I recently received a peel (14x16) metal sheet with wood handle. It seems to work fine for me. Very similar to what was used at a pizza restaurant I worked at some years ago and baked hundreds of pizzas and hot sandwiches using this kind of peel without any problems.

But when I use the peel, I use parchment paper rather than cornmeal for a smoother transport to the oven.

I think this peel I received only cost about $20 through Amazon.

So it brings me back to my question of... What makes the pizza peel so much better? (and I'm not trying to sound disrespectful or anything.) I'm just curious.





fbergthorson's picture

I got a pizza stone from the thrift shop for a couple of bucks & loved the difference it made to my pizza. 

Getting pizza to stone was a problem, and after half a pizza spread all over the stone & oven I searched online and found the superpeel.

Since my stone was so cheap, I figured I would spring for the superpeel.  Very glad I did - it's incredibly useful.  I still use wax paper and flour to keep the pizza from sticking to the counter, but the superpeel makes is really easy to lift and place the pizza onto the stone, keeping the topping in place (on top of the pizza, instead of all over the oven).  I would reccomend it to anyone who wants to bake their own pizza on a stone.  Compared to take out pizza prices, it is 'paid for' in fewer than five baking sessions, and is a tool I also use for tranferring bread to the pizza stone as well. 

If you search superpeel, you can see their website and a video of how it works - it really is amazing.

karol59's picture

Hi, I haven't been here for awhile and have a question, I have a plain old pizza stone and recently have seen the emile henry one on QVC at a good price, is there a difference enough to buy the emile henry one? please advise asap, thanks

Gingit's picture


I'm new to baking.  Maybe the answer is clear, but when you use parchment paper under your pizza when the pizza is on the peel, do you remove the parchment paper when you put the pizza in the oven? Do you just pull it out or do you leave it in?  Thanks!


jcking's picture

Depending how hot your oven is will tell you when to remove the parch. Example; 550F, remove parch after 99 sec, that's my way. Otherwise when the parch gets very dark/brown lift pie with large spatula and pull out parch.


Ricardo's picture

Superpeel cool tool created by a guy that calls himself Gaspar AKA Pizza Meister. Too expensive to consider so been far from USA shiping costs will kill me.

pizzameister's picture


You are correct about the shipping. Just sent one to Australia and shipping alone was 36.90. But, I have shipped all over the globe. I have a work-around which can make this product available to anyone/anywhere for only a very small surcharge over the advertized price. If you are interested, you can contact me for details.


Ricardo's picture

I sure will Pizzameister
Thank you

RichC's picture

I made this dough earlier in the week and froze it. We ended up eating some last night and the taste was great, but one problem I had was that the dough wasn't elastic enough. Just picking it up caused it to stretch paper thin and the pizza ended up more like a roman pizza than one that has a thicker crust.

Is this normal for this dough? What would be the best way to make the crust a little thicker and chewier without altering the flavor to much? It was almost impossible not to get the dough paper thin.

wdsgfm's picture

I just had to try these recipes.  I made half the recipe and did one fresh pizza and placed the other ball of dough in the freezer to see how well it will work later.  I'm not sure how much later I'll be able to go though because I really enjoyed my finished product.  The dough was easy to work with and my only personal taste would be to add perhaps a bit more sugar.  I like a bit of a sweet taste to my bread.  

This was my first attempt at these recipes but I'm sure I'll be experimenting some with this in the near future.  I liked the sauce recipe as well.  I used basically the sauce, bell peppers, onions, mozarella cheese and topped mine with some sliced tomato as well. 

As things would go, as soon as I cut a slice and sat down the phone rang.  I ended up having to reheat the pizza about 45 minutes later but it was still very good.  Thanks for the recipes and the photo's to guide me along as well.  I love this website!!! 

"We're Making Footprints In The Sand"

pizzaman's picture

wow i got to give this a try but even if this bans me for life domino is not good pizza the dough is too spongy and the sauce taste like chemical stew and now they are advertising bklyn style even in new york pizza in new york

beanfromex's picture

Floydm-dinner was to be seared tuna and a salad...we now have pizza dough in the fridge...I blame the picture!! Too good to pass by.

Thank you..I think.... 

Jimbosox04's picture

This is what I do

Stretch the pizza dough out on a floured surface to get the shape you want, roll it then around a rolling pin and then onto a teflon coated cookie sheet, then add what you would like for toppings.  From here I place the cookie sheet on top of a  rectangular pizza stone of the same or larger size, preheated to about 475 degrees.  I bake the pizza on the cookie sheet for approx. 5 minutes then transfer it very easily using a spatula onto the stone to give it that crispy bottom...mmmm !!!

Good Luck...the pizza horizon is endless !!!

Melissa Bakes's picture
Melissa Bakes

but doesn't all that let all the heat out of the oven and not get hot enough ?


rholcomb1's picture

You can freeze more than just the dough!  I make pizza all the time and stick them in the freezer already stretched and topped.  You only have to rearrange the topping order.  Make sure the cheese is next to the crust and the sauce is on top of everything.  This keeps the crust from absorbing the sauce and getting soggy.  I don't even thaw them.  Just in the oven until crispy and melted!

gdennist's picture

Hi, I tried the recipe and I couldn't get the dough to the consistency I wanted. Every time I would stretch the dough out instead of creating the baker's window pane, it would just break (this was after kneading it and letting it rest for 18 hours in the frig, the letting it warm to room temp for 2 hours). Do you have any ideas why this is? Was it too much or too little flour? Too much kneading by hand (I don't have a mixer and I kneaded it for an hour because it wouldn't do what I wanted)? The water was warm, but could it have not been warm enough?

 Sorry for so many questions I just want to learn how to do this because the results look  and sound so delicious.



big_al's picture

I didn't knead mine at all.  Just followed the instructions.  I just mixed the ingredients with a wooden spoon, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then mixed for 5 more minutes with the wooden spoon.  I guess that is all the kneading it 'needed'.  Came out perfect tasting, but kind of sticky to work with.  It's worth it though.

Gourmand2go's picture

Hi all--

I'm really enjoying the site!  I'd been searching all over for instructions for using the sponge method since watching Aston Brown bake on a pizza stone, and I'm find the recipes here are inspiring.

I have a pizza crust recipe I've developed that has a lot of ingredients in it, including fresh garlic, honey, and herbs:

As you can see from the first pic, the focus of the pizza is the crust, and it's quite filling.  At the bottom of the page is a recipe for yeastless crust with buttermilk, which is handy when you have less time and also makes a thinner, crisper alternative.

 Let me know how it turns out if you decide to try it!

 I've just found a great book on peppers written by a publisher: <i>The Pepper Harvest Cookebook<i> by Barbara Ciletti.  It includes a Marinara Pizza Sauce which I haven't yet tried, but intend to.

 5-6 lbs. ripe tomatoes, chopped

2 purple or red bell peppers, chopped

1 cayenne chile, or 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbls salt

1/2 cup fresh oregano

5 cloves garlic, chopped

Combine ingredients in large saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat 35-45 minutes, or until bubbly.  Stir to prevent sticking.

When mixture reaches desired thickness, pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Screw lids and rings tightly and process 20 minutes in boiling-water bath.

Yield: 5 pints

I think I'd be inclined to use the tiny jam jars so I wouldn't have left-overs from one or two pizzas, but at least the hot chili will discourage mold growth if kept in the frige.  I'd also like to try roasted jalapenos and pure with a hand blender toward the end.


Clover's picture

Hello!  I just made this dough, two bags in the freezer and two are sitting out for tonight!  It looks great, I can't wait to bake it!!

A question though, for some reason this article cuts off right at "Getting Saucy", where the sauce recipe should be (I think...) there are ads and then the comments.  Is this where it ends and I am just crazy?! ^_-



ehanner's picture

I made this tonight instead of finishing up the corned beef and cabbage. My wife and daughter loved it and the crust was perfect. I used 1 cup of King Arthur Italian style flour and 4 cups of AP as called for. The other thing I did outside of the recipe is before I top the pie, I bake the shell for about 3 minutes completely clean. It started to raise like focaccia but even with multiple toppings it didn't get soggy on the bottom center. My wife paid me the ultimate complement when she said "you made it look so easy". Which of course it was. Our last attempt was more entertaining since the dough was more like rubber. This was nice and smooth and easy to work with.

Thanks Floyd for all you do!


januszkam's picture

The last pizza I made, I did bake the shell first. It did puff up, but turned out to be my best pizza yet!

bluezebra's picture

Hi Floyd! Just wanted to report that the pizza turned out the best yet! It was exceptional from my perspective. So the technique part helped and the PR recipe was terrific!

I think I need to make a tweek to the sauce because my canned tomatoes were pretty watery. If I used Del Monte again, I will probably drain them first before squishing them (I used the diced tomatoes) so they were a little wet. But the flavor of the crust was awesome.

Crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. By the time I baked the second pizza, the dough was so supple. I'm learning that term should really be extensible.

Thanks again for this step by step guide, Floyd!


Loafer's picture

I try to avoid developing brand loyalties, but I have to admit, the best and most consistent pizza sauce that I have made so far has been with 6 in 1 brand tomatoes.  Of course some sort of labor intensive, home-grown, organic something or other would be better.  However, I have found that a can of 6 in 1, with all your favorite herbs in a one quart mason jar with lid makes a very good sauce in just minutes.  Nothing extra to clean, not much of anything to prep. You don't even need a spoon!  Just put in all the ingredients, tighten the lid and shake.  In fact, if you make the sauce ahead of time, you can use dried herbs and allow the sauce to mellow and mix, and the sauce will actually be nice and deep with plenty of flavor.  That makes it about a 2 minute sauce!  And it is already in a jar, so if you don't use it all, you can just pop it right in the fridge.



SDbaker's picture

Has anyone cooked P. Reinhart's dough (thanks Floyd for the recipe) on a grill?  Do you just do the standard cook one side, flip, cover in olive oil, toppings, place back on grill?


SD Baker

 PS, made the dough on the Cooks Illustrated homepage.  If you don't have an account, it's a free link at the moment. Approx 90 min rise time.  Taste was great, but my pizza dough spreading skills could use some work.  The sticky dough was hard to roll, so the hand method worked ok - just not round.  Artisan Pizza?

Squid's picture

I'd love to hear feedback on this. Grilled pizza's one of my projects for the summer. I'm taking a cooking class next month that's featuring grilled pizza so it should be interesting to compare.

SDbaker's picture

One lesson is that wetter doughs are probably pressed/worked better OFF the peel..had some sticking on the peel after I put pressure on the dough.

Oh.. don't forget to place the toppins on the 1st cooked side!  Made that mistake once.  One side gets VERY cooked if you don't.

Fewer toppings seems to work better given the relatively quick cooking time.

I am experimenting with adding wood chips to increase the smoke flavor.

What a great summertime project!

SD Baker

Elagins's picture

I tried pizza on the grill once ... used my standard very slack pizza dough 65% water, 10% olive oil, 2% salt, 1% active dry yeast and Costco (ConAgra) bread flour (~13% protein). Basically, I put my stone onto the grill used the Weber gas grill to replicate my oven -- heat from the bottom, covered, with temp about 525-550 according to the built-in thermometer. I gave the stone a good long preheat and found that the pizza wasn't much different from what comes out of my electric oven (I bake my pizza at 550). Maybe a bit smokier and slightly crisper crust because of higher temp, but I can't be certain. All in all, not very different.

weavershouse's picture

That's what I thought would happen with pizza on a gas or electric grill. I'm sure a woodfired grill would make all the difference. If grilling for company and eating outside I can see the fun of making some pizzas on the grill but otherwise the oven is just as easy or easier. But then I don't know much about grilling so I may be missing something. 
We used to have a Weber that just took wood or charcoal and we cooked everything on it, always using wood, but I never made pizza, darn it. Wish we had that Weber still, I'd try it. It would be hard to get the heat just right I guess. Would take some experience.   Thanks for your post.                                                                                                                                             weavershouse

naschol's picture

When I do pizza on the grill, I just skip the stone and grill right on the grate.  With or without wood chips, it turns out nice and smoky flavored.



Squid's picture

Mmmmm, smoking chips. What a great idea.

SDbaker's picture

Lately I haven't even been soaking the chips in water for short cooking foods.  I just throw a small handfull on the back grate.  If they are too small, they will fall through the grate.

 SD Baker

Squid's picture

That's a good idea. I'll try that.

Zero_Kalvin's picture

The pizza came out great just need a little advice on something that has baffled me. Whenever I bake bread or pizza the crust always comes out looking pale, it's done through and through but the pale white color isn't all too appetizing. With the pizza, the bottom is done but the sides are pale. I was baking in my gas oven, had an inverted roasting tray right ontop of the heating elements, measured the temp to be 500 F before putting in the pizza, took around 7 mins, came out perfect except for the darned pale crust.

I just get plain simple all purpose flour in the country where I live, no labels with protein content or anything like that. Although I am looking into it. But what gives? Why does my bread and pizza come out so pale???


cipizza's picture

I'm not a pro by any stretch but I've made PR's recipe many times now and lately, I am getting consistently excellent results. I would suggest a few different things to try:

  1. Reposition your baking sheet/stone to a higher spot in the oven to see if the top and crust browns a little better. Make sure you are preheating it for around an hour before you put the pie in.
  2. Switch to a bread flour from the APF and see if that helps.
  3. I also read somewhere that you can alternate between the oven and the broiler settings to get a better brown on the top. I've tried that and it works pretty well.

Hope that helps!


Floydm's picture

I'd definitely agree with tip 1 as the most likely fix.

A couple of other things you could try would be to throw in an extra tablespoon of sugar (more sugars to caramelize) or let the dough rise longer (which releases more of the naturally occurring sugars, also resulting in more sugar to caramelize).

Good luck.

ilovebread143's picture

I am new to pizza baking but to get the crust browned we used a glaze with garlic and butter brushed on just before going into the oven. 

Before putting the pizza into the pan for baking we drizzle some olive oil and spread across and sprinkle on some sesame seeds and corn meal.  This combination at 475 degrees gets our crust browned, sturd and with a little crunch.  We bake on the middle rack for 5 minutes and it spends the last 2-4 minutes on the bottom of the oven.  Just when I start smelling a little burning I take it out.


Good Luck! My flour is regular all purpose flour

polarkern's picture

I  am trying to use my new wolf baking stone and can not find any information. The instructions are unclear.  Does anyone know if there is a special rack that this fits on or does it fit on the regular racks? The one picture it looks as if the stone is as large as the bottom of the oven.  Mine is about half the size of the oven. Has anyone had any experience with this?

lisah's picture

I've been studying pizza making for about 6 months and after a lot of trials and recieving great advice, I learned a few tricks that may be helpful to you.  With these tips, I finally made what I felt was a true NY pizza.

I buy my cheese from a local pizzeria.  It is a brand called Grande.  They sell it to me already grated for $6 a pound.  To my knowledge you can only buy it through a commercial food service and it is a fabulous cheese.  They say they mix it with a little grated provolone, but I have not.  My pizzeria shared with me the importance of using part skim mozzarella cheese.  They said it has more moisture in it and that makes the cheese melt more freely than whole milk mozzarella.

Another very tasty spice to put into your sauce (in addition to garlic, oregano, basil, sugar, salt and pepper) is fennel.  Several of the pizza chef's I've corresponded with say they use it.  I did and it gave the sauce that little flavor that made it taste just like a delicious NY pizza. Note, some chefs only use basil and some only oregano.  Some don't use pepper.  Others use only red pepper, not black.  I just needed to find the recipe for the sauce that suited my taste.

I bought the stone that goes into your gas BBQ.  It was about $80 if I remember correctly.  I fire up the BBQ on high as I begin to assemble my pizza.  I put the dough, after shaping it, onto a pizza screen that I bought from our local restaurant supply company (only a few dollars). I know Williams-Sonoma sells it, but you can Froogle it and find it cheaper.

Then when assembled I put the screen in the BBQ on the stone, close the lid and lower the heat down to medium.  The use of the BBQ to bake the pizza was an incredible find.

Just about 3 minutes later the pizza is perfect.

Key to a great crust is to let it sit in a platic bag coated with olive oil in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  It makes a significant difference.  You can use either a basic french dough recipe, or add some sourdough starter to the dough and it tastes even better. One basic french bread recipe will make several pizza's depending on the size of the pizza (i.e. three to four 12inch pizzas).

Also, the BBQ fires up to over 900 degrees, which is what you really need to bake an amazing pizza.  My home oven only goes to 500, and until I bought the BBQ stone, I never could get the pizza quite right.  I also didn't know before to let the dough develop flavor in the refrigerator.  It helps the sauce too to sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

The chef's also taught me to drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle with oregano.  This was another step that gave the pizza a much more authentic NY taste.

Finally, there are several pizza chefs who you can correspond with who love to share information on their passion.  It is a lot of fun to write them and learn about their techniques.  There are also some good DVD's out there that I've enjoyed watching.  They also gave me some additional insights around perspectives on flour and favorite millers as well.

Hope these tips are helpful. 

ludwig's picture

When I was a kid; my Dad use to make spaghetti once a week; slow cooking the sauce for as much as two days. IT contained Rosemary, Oregano, Bay leaves, Thyme, Marjoram, sometimes Sage, and Basil and perhaps Cayenne and Anise seed---Guaranteed to open you up if you had a cold and   or a stuffy nose.When I got older, I used this sauce along with more traditional sauces to make Pizza. The spices add a presence to the pizza that is not obtainable any other way.

The Sauce begins as a basic Marinara sauce to which is added Chianti or Burgundy, lean ground beef and Italian sweet sausage to which are then added Bell Peppers, Celery, Onions, Garlic, Mushrooms, and Olives.  Proportions are to your tastes. If you like more of something by all means add more but be aware that too much of a good thing can be very bad and spoil the sauce. This sauce, as I make it, tastes much better if removed from the pot and placed in the refrigerator for a few days to 'ripen'.  However, it can be used fresh out of the pot or crock-pot.

To use as a Pizza sauce, one simply ladles the sauce on the dough, mixed with shredded Mozzarella Cheese, and other toppings which may also include fresher mushrooms et al added and baked until the dough is lightly browned and the cheese has melted and appears as done as you like it. One then can add any other more exotic (in some quarters) ingredients such a Pineapple, Guavas, Smithfield Ham, Anchovies or Proscuito. I have noticed that while Anchovies were commonly found on Pizza Toppings in the 1950s and 1960s---one rarely sees them any more in the US and I have often wondered why---whether this is because some folks do not know that the salt that they are often packed in is supposed to be washed out of them

tmac's picture

have been making pizza for years but thought i would try this dough recipe.  it is the best!  best crust i have ever made.  thanks!  tom


myrrh's picture

This is the recipe for crust and sauce that my mom has used as long as I can remember (I'm 40) and it's delicious. It makes a crust in between thick and thin - what I think of as 'homestyle'. I've used the dough for quick focaccia in a pinch, mix in some herbs and sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkle with caramelized onion and fresh parmesan. The sauce is tangy and not too thick. Hope you enjoy it!

I'm planning to try the recipe above and see how they compare. I'd like to be able to make a thin, cracker type crust and might try to modify Mom's recipe to this effect. I'll keep you posted!



Mom’s pizza recipe


Crust (makes 2)



1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

Let stand 10 minutes to dissolve



1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 cups unsifted flour


Knead in bowl until smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl to rise. Let rise 1 hour in warm location.


After dough has risen, roll in oil and spread on pizza pan. Bake 10 minutes at 400° F. Top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.


Sauce (enough for 4 pizzas – may be frozen)


28oz can tomato sauce

6 oz. can tomato paste

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, depending on taste

1 tsp. Italian spices

1 tsp. sugar


Mix all ingredients in saucepan, and simmer 1 hour.

big_al's picture

Would it make a big difference if I use Bread Flour instead of AP?



sphealey's picture

=== Would it make a big difference if I use Bread Flour instead of AP? ===

I use whatever I have on the shelf; usually KA bread flour but KA or Gold Medal AP if that was cheaper last week. You will find pizza crust recipes that call flours ranging in strenth from KA's commerical bagel flour (which is one step _above_ their consumer bread flour) through AP all the way down to lower strenth Italian dough flours. Every recipe insists that only that flour type will work!

This recipe is similar to my base recipe and it will work with any reasonable flour.

Have fun!


big_al's picture

I used bread flour.  Turned out PERFECT!!!  I have finally found THE recipe for pizza crust!  Eating some right now actually.  Anyone else like Anchovies?

Thank you very much

nbicomputers's picture

i guess you found out that the flour makes a big diferance

and i love alici!!!!

veggie's picture

Hi .... new here. I make homemade pizza all the time. I have had great luck with many different dough recipes. Currently the one i use the most is the one that is in the manual that came with my Kitchenaid mixer. I double the recipe and divide the dough into 4 or 5 pieces. It does freese very well after rising. I use unbleached all purpose flour and have had great luck. Sometimes I use a pizza pan...but the best is using a pizza stone. After hunting awhile for the right pizza peel, I gave up and found another way to transport the pizza to the stone. i use either regular or nonstick foil with a little oil or spray on it. I turn over one of the larger pizza pans I have and place the foil on top. I then place my hand stretched dough on top. I add the cheese and toppings. When done i pull out the rack in the oven that has the heated stone on it, and I slide the foil off the pizza pan onto the stone. I let the pizza bake about 2 minutes. I then carefully pull the foil out from under the pizza and bake till the pizza looks yummy. I want pizza!!!  Hmm....I do have dough in the freezer...maybe in a couple of days when it thaws out.

Have a great day!!!!!

DakotaRose's picture

Love the crust recipe and stuck completely to it the first two times, but after that it was a free for all.  LOL  My additions to the recipe were 1/4 c. of leftover sourdough starter to give it a little added taste beings we sometimes make the dough at the last minute, about 4 hours before we need it.  We also like parmesan cheese in our crust, Italian seasoning and garlic salt.  I add a T. each of the parmesan and Italian seasoning and replace half the salt with garlic salt.  Just thought I would share.


HollyPreston7's picture

I made the pizza dough according to the recipe but had to use bread flour instead of AP flour.
So I started by making the dough and then shaping it into a pizza and then, of course, topping it with sauce and cheese. Then I put cooked the pizza at 500 degrees for about 7 minutes until the cheese was brown and bubbly. The pizza looked beautiful! The problem is that when I went to slice it I saw that the dough didnt cook though at all. The top of the crust was the only part of the dough that actually cooked. Was my oven on too high? How come this didnt happen to anyone else?

Floydm's picture

Try lowering the rack in the oven. I bake pizza on the lowest shelf.

Were you using a baking stone? A super hot stone also helps cook it longer.

Worst case, leave it in the oven an extra 4 or 5 minutes.

sharsilber's picture

Made the dough last night and this afternoon let it warm up on the counter.  This evening my 4 year old daughter and I piled cheese, sauce, olives, broccoli and vegi meatballs on top and then folded each one in half.

I baked them on preheated pizza stones (used parchment paper to slide them in) and they came out crispy and chewy - perfect.  Will make some more to freeze for our next pizza night. 


rosiePearl's picture

I made this again tonight, and it was the best ever so far.  One tomato sauce/mozzarella pizza, and one pesto/mozzarella/sliced tomato pizza.

Also, I substituted about 3/4 c. of whole wheat flour for the same amount of white, and liked it a lot.  It's interesting how little whole wheat flour you need to add to give it a whole new taste and texture!  And I added an extra half-teaspoon or so of yeast.

Perfect!  I did some mental math and realized each pizza cost me about $2.00 to make.  How can you not love it?

Thanks so much; I'm ever so happy making my own pizzas these days....

Dough Nut's picture
Dough Nut

Can somebody give me some guidance on topping a pizza? In the past, my toppings have been too wet and leave my pizza soggy in the centre. I see on this site that the pizza has to be baked at a very high temperature, so that could be my downfall. Maybe my dough is soft too long, giving the toppings time to soak it?? Any thoughts would be welcome.

xaipete's picture

Go really easy on saucing it. On a 10 inch pizza, I bet I don't use more than 1/4 cup of sauce, and I especially avoid the center!


SylviaH's picture

Sounds like you might not be cooking your pizza at a hot enough temperature...550 is the temperature I use...I also start with a nice thick tomatoe sauce...not to heavy on the sauce or toppings...takes a little practice but you will be able to work up to more toppings....but a very hot stone and oven will make a difference in a crispy crust!


frankie g's picture
frankie g

Hey Dough Nut....

Veggies can produce a lot of water... i like to sautee my veggies (on high heat). Mushrooms, peppers, onions, Zucchini etc.

If I do raw onions, I slice them paper thin.

And yes, Pizza should cook on high heat.  500 deg, on a pizza stone in a home oven.  I even have some friends that cook their pizza in their home oven on the "clean" cycle.  (crazy and committed - or should be... :)

Frankie G

mattie405's picture

Around here we are real pizza junkies......if it was against the law they would have put us under the jail by now. I guess you crave what you grew up on and we both grew up in NYC eating the famous Patsy's for all of our lives. Now living in the south they have nothing that compares with it, so for years I tried to get something even close to it. Finally I did and the photos are the result. I have a HearthKit in my oven and it stays there all the time. To do the pizza I make the dough at least 24 hours ahead and portion it out into balls, then it sits very nicely in the fridge until the next evening. The oven gets pre-heated to 550 for at least a half hour, then it gets turned on Hi Broil for at least 10 minutes, then back to 550 bake. I take as many dough balls as we will be using out of the fridge about one hour before we plan to eat to allow them to warm up. For sauce I typically use one 28 ounce can of san marzano tomatoes,well drained then coarsely chopped with about a tablespoon or so of fresh oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper and a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes taste a little bitter. The dough is stretched very thinly and topped with about 1/2- 3/4 cup of the sauce, then sliced deli part skim mozzarella is put on top followed by any other topping we are in the mood for. If the oven is hot enough they cook in about 5-7 minutes, depending on how well done we want them.....we are I guess a little odd in that we like them charred. If I am making some to bring over to the grandkids I don't bake them as much and when they decide they want some their parents re-heat them on a Pizza Pizzazz, they come out tasting as if they had just been freshly made. I guess the light bulb in my head is still too dim to be able to figure out how to put in the pictures here. If my son connects into my PC tomorrow night I will see if he can show me how to manage to do the photo posting. mattie

mattie405's picture

I am so hoping that this works and the link to some pictures can be clicked on.

SylviaH's picture

Nice pics. mattie...everything looks very tastey....nice job....have you tried the crushed S.M. tomatoes!  I love them and so easy to spice up for a quick and easy very tastey sauce!


mattie405's picture

Sylvia, thanks for the compliments. There is only one local place that carries the SM tomatoes and they usually only keep one in stock, either whole, crushed or diced. These last ones were whole, next time I go buy they might only have the crushed in stock. The manager told me that people just don't want to pay the price for them and I am pretty much one of the only customers who buy them so they may not even get any shlf space too much longer. When I go buy them I usually get them in groups of at least 10 cans because I know one day when I go they won't be there anymore.  mattie

rainwater's picture

Okay....In "Bread Baker's Apprentice, the Neopolitan dough calls for a choice of 'high-gluten', 'bread', or 'all purpose' flour.  Using the "pain a l' ancienne" technique. 

In "American Pie", the Neopolitan dough calls for 'all purpose' flour using a slightly different technique.

The "Neo-Neapolitan" at the top of the page calls for 'all purpose', and the "Neo-Neapolitan" in "American Pie" calls for 'high-gluten', or 'bread' flour.

Presently, I have the Neo-Neapolitan with 'all purpose' working in the fridge from last night.  I also used a little milk.....

After making some thin neopolitans, that were bubbly and crisp(!)...a touch chewy...I've decided I'm not so crazy about really thin pizza.  I'm trying for bubbly, crispy, not too thin, and soft on the inside....maybe not possible, but it's worth my effort to try. 

The first two photos are the thin neopolitans that were a bit too chewy for me, but very crispy, flavorful, and good bite.  The third is two doughs I threw together and kneaded a bit when I removed from the fridge.  You can see this pizza's diameter is the same as the first two, but much thicker (a bit too thick)...bubbly, crispy, good bite, and the inside was softer to chew....maybe kneading the last time when I removed from the fridge.  Let's see if I can get the photos in the right order.....  :)

ivyb's picture

..... are absolutely wonderful! I especially like the 2nd one, looks like I will be making pizza tonight after all!

Thanks for sharing!


ivy, ny

xaipete's picture

If you want a slightly chewy, thicker crust try the Sourdough version from American Pie.


rainwater's picture

I've given up on my sourdough pizza crusts.....I'm die-hard for sourdough bread, but sourdough pizza crust doesn't work for me.....The first pizza crust is usually good, but the sourdough pizza dough doesn't perform consistently when stored in the freezer for me....the yeasted pizza doughs actually perform better after spending a little time in the freezer for me....

I'm thinking the eventual answer will be 'all-purpose' flour....and changing up the technique a little....I had good luck with the last pizza when I kneaded it a little when I pulled it from the refrigerator.  ....still crusty and crisp, and it seemed to soften the inside noticeably.

rcrabtree's picture

I didn't see any discussion here about Jeff Varasano's pizza page

but Mattie405 mentioned Patsy's so I thought I'd bring it up for anyone who has not reviewed his page.  He really does a great job talking about technique for the dough as well as the various ingredients.  I went to school just outside NYC and now living in the midwest, there's no comparable pizza.  NY pizza is unique and delicious but obviously just a single style of pizza, but it is my favorite.  I use his dough recipe and let it rise in the refrigerator or out in the garage until it is doubled in bulk (24-72 hours), then portion and freeze.  The dough is so slack it really stretches itself, in fact it can be a challenge to not OVER-stretch it.  Mine takes about 7 minutes in my 500F oven, and is certainly the best pizza in the town where I live. :)

mattie405's picture

I've followed Jeffs page for a few years but never have tried his technique, guess I'll give it a go someday. After Patsys was sold back in the mid 90's the pizza changed, soon there were Patsys popping up in other places but the pizza, while good never compared to the original. I have to admit tho I haven't had any of theirs since about 2002 so maybe they went back to the way it was way back years ago.

I admit I had even considered disabling the lock feature on my oven a la Jeff but then decided against it..........had bought a new stove and didn't want to tear it apart. I find that with the HearthKit stone really heated well the crusts come out perfect. I always make our dough at least 24 hours at a bare minimum before we use it.

We are supposed to go up to NYC later this year so I'll look forward to trying Patsys again and see if it is back to the original taste again.  mattie

mbaileybend's picture

Used this formula today for the 1st time.  Wouldnt you no it I right off the bat screwed up and put in 5 1/2 cups of flour.  so addes more water until it was a pretty soft dough.  Best Dough ever.  Tried it on the grill but the stone I have I think is to large so didnt get enough air flow and by the time I slid my 1st Pizza on to the stone the coals had died down to much and couldnt get up much past 300.  So just baked a bit longer.  So I am off to get a round (mine is Square) about 12" stone for the BBQ as I have a 22 1/2 in.  and hope that will be small enough to 1 add more coals and 2 get better air circulation.  Used the sauce recipe also and it was really good.  Both were fine but took a while to get done. 

tjkoko's picture

Which oregano do you recommend?  Mexican lurches forward with a distinctive bite where Turkish Oregano offers a mild lemony pungency.

xaipete's picture

I always use Greek oregano. Greek is what a lot of my cookbooks by well-known authors seem to prefer. It might be the same as Turkish.



dmsnyder's picture

Just don't suggest that to a Greek! Or a Turk.

BTW, I also use Greek oregano, except for Mexican food. I keep both always.


xaipete's picture

I didn't even think about the Greco-Turkish connection, or non connection as it may be. I guess I do have a few recipes that call for Mexican oregano, but the place where I store all of these little tins and jars is already so horribly jam packed I have to make sacrifices where I can.

BTW, I make this exact pizza sauce all the time--even currently have some in my fridge. I think the vinegar is the secret ingredient; it really makes the sauce taste like pizza sauce instead of tomato.


mattie405's picture

Hubby bought me a new small pizza oven this week, goes to high temps (800) and works nice for us. Pre-heats in less than half the time the big stove oven does and cooks a nice pizza, should save a few $$ on energy costs to have our favorite food. This was the first pizza from it, I have to make smaller balls of dough as it doesn't bake a large sized pizza as the big oven does, this little oven makes about a 12-13 inch pie, has 2 cooking chambers and now has a permanent place on the counter, the chambers have stones in them and can be heated independently from each other. The longer we had it on the quicker that the subsequent pizzas were coming out as the heat in it really built up.   mattie

Crider's picture

Is it this oven from Hammaker Schlemmer? Cheaper than a stand mixer.

mattie405's picture

Thats the one! Great little hasn't produced a 90 second pizza yet but as the heat builds I imagine it would be possible on subsequent pizzas in a long pizza making day. We are very pleased with it so far and we've only had it a few days so far. I imagine it will be more cost effective to use over the cost of heating up our big oven.  mattie

mickisdaddy's picture

I was browsing around this thread earlier today and it inspired me to make pizza tonight.  I followed a lot of these tips.  I usually make the dough on the drier side and in the past I had problems forming the crust by hand.  It would turn out good, but I would not get it as thin as was needed.

Tonight I started out using my bread machine on dough setting to mix and knead, but then when all the ingredients were incorporated I decided to pull it out and give the folding techniques a try.  I was suprised at how well it worked.  I could really feel the dough coming together to form the gluten strains.  After a rise I punched it down and split it in half.  It was so easy forming the crust.  I was able to get it nice and thin and it cooked up really well.  I topped the first one and put it in the oven.  Then went and put the second one together.  When I went to put the second one in and looked at the first it cooked up so much better than any other pizza I ever made.

There were two bad things that happened.  First I got the second pizza a little too thin in the middle and there ended up being a hole in the middle and it made a little mess on my tiles.  The other bad thing that happened is there was only one piece left after we gobbled it all down.

I watched some of the videos and one of them had them blowing under the pizza on the peel.  I was surprised at how well that worked.

EDIT:Unfortunately no pics.

mattie405's picture

Try making your dough a little wetter if you want a really thin crusted pizza, also try making it at least 24 hours before you want to use it, the increased flavor will amaze you, you can make quite a few and let them sit in your fridge for several days and the flavor will keep getting better, if you aren't going to use them within about 6 days then freeze them. It's much easier to get the dough thinner when it is wetter, when my dough is drier I really have to fight to get it to the thiness we like.....seems like it should be the opposite but try it and see, your crust will also be lighter with a higher hydration, you won't have a stuffed feeling when you have eaten a few slices. Also try not to use too much flour when you form the crust on your table or peel, if you get the temp of your stone and oven up really high the excess flour will probably burn and leave a bitter taste. It's taken me a while to get to the point that my family actually won't eat pizza out anymore, they say it tastes like cardboard....makes more work for me so they are happy that my favorite place to be is in my kitchen and I love making pizza! Welcome to the fun world of pizzamaking.      mattie

JoeV's picture

I use this recipe for my "backup dough" when we have company and I need to make multiple pizzas. I have even taken the dough from freezer to the peel (via the microwave on 30% power to defrost it) in less than 15 minutes in a pinch. I normally like to use Artisan 5 minute fridge dough for pizza, but my current batch went bad tonight so I pulled my last frozen dough from the freezer and in 15 minutes had my dough. Here are the prebaked and baked pics from tonight:

This one had bottled spaghetti sauce (Barilla Marinarra), Vadalia onions, fire roased red peppers, pepperroni and a 4-cheese blend of mozzarela, provolone, romano and parmesan. Delicious! BTW, I use a peel with cornmeal dusted parchment paper for all of my pizzas. That way I can load them up and safely get them to and from the oven.

Dragonbones's picture

Here in Taiwan we get big bags of fresh basil at the wet market for only about 30 US cents, and I can never finish using one before the leaves start wilting and turning dark. Here's a great way to not only preserve the basil for future use at a moment's notice, but also an excellent way to incorporate it evenly through a pizza dough:

Wash a large amount (many cups) of fresh basil, shake or spin dry, then pick the good leaves, and place in a blender. Add just enough good quality olive oil to blend into a pesto-like paste. Pour into a dedicated ice cube tray, and freeze. Once well frozen, transfer to a freezer-weight zippered bag for storage.

When making pizza dough, simply thaw as many cubes as needed to substitute for any olive oil in a recipe. Your dough will have a heavenly basil fragrance.  The cubes are also a convenient way to have basil and olive oil ready for other recipes.

xaipete's picture

That's a great idea. Thanks for posting it.


dmsnyder's picture

I grow my own basel. At the end of the season, I harvest it and make pesto with basel, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts (but no cheese) and freeze it in ice cube trays, as dragonbones does. I then store the pesto cubes in Ziploc freezer bags for use during the rest of the year.

BTW, my favorite sauce for pasta is one I had with tortelloni in Como, Italy in 1984: Mix 1 cup of Bolognese sauce with 3 T of pesto (1 or 2 frozen pesto cubes).  Serve with grated cheese over pasta. Try it. It's totally amazing. Note: Add the pesto at the last minute. If you heat it too long, you lose the wonderful aromatic flavors of the basel.

When I first had this sauce, I loved it so much I went back to the same restaurant for 3 consecutive nights to eat it.


proth5's picture

Once again, great minds...

I use the freezer pesto for sauce, but since I aways seem to have fresh ricotta hanging around the house, I mix it with ricotta, additional olive oil, and some grated parmesan (no cooking required).  Toss with the cooked pasta and a little pasta water. Yum.

I've done a similar sauce to yours for pizza when I start to run low on the tomato sauce.  Yes.  Very good...

hullaf's picture

I do as above for making the pesto but I store about a cup's worth into a freezer-safe baggie/ziploc and then freeze it flat. Then when I need some I just break off the amount I want. Put it in a small cup near the oven and it'll thaw by the time you need it!  Anet

kikicooks's picture

Thanks E1! I was all set to make a curried chicken dinner tonight, but I stumbled upon this thread and whalla I made pizza instead.  Cheddar cheese and Chicken topped a garlic and basil crust. No sauce here, I am allergic to `Maters.

Looks as good as it tasted!

Flour's picture

I don't know why it took me so long to try this! I think this dough recipe is perfection:) Thank you so much for posting this.

I used 2 dough balls for pizza the first evening and let the remaining 2 sit in the refrigerator for 4 days. I've never had a pizza crust taste so flavorful with a chewy crispy texture. The leftover slice even held up well reheated the next day.  Amazing!

Scottyj's picture

and leting it sit in the fridge for a few days. More than likely make the pizza on Mondsy or Tuesday, mabe even on both days. The dough was sticky to work with but it was still fun.

LA Baker's picture
LA Baker

This is such a great recipe!  Best pizza I've ever made!!  I'm making my second batch today!


Thank you : )

whollyfool's picture

Has anyone tried using baking soda or powder in their crust?  (In addition to yeast, of course!)  I notice that the King Arthur Pizza Mix contains baking soda.

Ursula Haigh's picture
Ursula Haigh

When remodeling our kitchen 4 years ago, I was lucky enough to have my long held dream of owning an AGA finally installed! It's perfect for pizza which is my husband's favorite food and I make it at least once a week. I've finally decided to try making my own dough after using Trader Joe's dough for years. Now when using Trader Joe's dough, I feel like I'm cheating and call it "fast food" I love this site and will soon be attempting to make my own Artisan Breads after reading up on this site, so I'll be lurking :- )

My method of pizza making is quite simple and feel I do it with my eyes closed some days. I bring the crust to room temp. On floured counter place the dough shaping & stretching to desired thick/thiness.

We like a thinner crust and stretch by hand only using enough flour to keep it from sticking to counter. I don't use a rolling pin as I feel it pushes & breaks down the action of the gas not allowing bubbles to form providing a preferably   rustic looking crust. I'm not too picky about getting it perfectly round, but rather in a size and shape similar to the peel. 

Once close to the finished size, transfer to parchment and finalize the crust before adding sauce & toppings. I usually start by spreading a bit of olive oil over the crust & a couple cloves of minced garlic. Sauce is bottled SM sauce or crushed. I buy these in case lots as they are versatile with not added herbs or spices. Not too much about a 1/4 cup will do. Top this with fresh basil leaves, red pepper flakes, etc. The point being don't add the cheese yet as this will allow for the sauce to take on the flavor of the added herbs & spices. 

Now add the cheese ~ Mozzarella, provolone,and parmesan are the ones we like. That's it, for us we like ours simple and serve it with a large salad.

Now I grab the Peel and slide it under the parchment and transfer it to the floor of the Roasting oven in my AGA. The direct heat forms a consistently crisp crust and takes about 16 mins. WHen finished I remove with the peel, transfer to a cooling rack , sliding the parchment out from under the pizza and cool a bit before cutting. I have a pair of dedicated Fiskers (scissors) for this task and nothing else!

 Before the AGA, i used a round pizza stone and would preheat my oven for 30 min or so to 450.

Here are a couple pics of a pizza made with fresh tomatoes & olives instead of sauce!


Hope this helps someone !



Rose and Thorn's picture
Rose and Thorn


I make pizza often, my family love it and it is much cheaper than take-outs.

After much experimenting I have found that adding some semolina flour to the dough (3 parts flour to 1 part semolina) I get the perfect texture.

I realize that traditionalists will frown at the idea, but it works for us - and those that have tried it love it too.

The only thing is the dough much have a long slow rise - I usually leave it for at least 4-6 hours. That way the semolina has time to soften. 




RichardB's picture


My 1st pizza using this pizza dough recipe.

It turned out to have a very good taste BUT I

plan to brown the curst a little longer on my next

one.  I just could not wait as I was very hungry!

I also used 1 whole cup of sauce and will only use 3/4

of a cup next pizza.

RichardB's picture

My 2nd Pizza truned out a lot better then my 1st try!

Tasted GREAT!


Girltron's picture

I'm a huge fan of Reinhart, I always make my pizza doughs from American Pie.  I've always chickened out of trying his sauces, though, because of the added vinegar. 

To someone used to sweeter, slow-cooked sauces, will this taste horribly harsh?  Does it sweeten in the high temps in the oven, if applied sparingly?

Floydm's picture

I don't think it will taste harsh, but it has a bite to it.  Personally I love the raw garlic and vinegar bite and am not a fan of sweet, catsup-y pizza sauces, but you could reduce the vinegar and add a little sugar to get it to the place you want it.


Girltron's picture

I thought of that, but I do wonder what it tastes like after cooking.  I doubt I'd like the raw sauce much, but on the pizza it might be another thing entirely.  Eh, I'll try it once!

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

While at a wood-fired pizza establishment, I asked what came on the pizza I ordered, and one of the ingredients was balsamic vinegar.  Today I made the best pizza I've made yet, and I used the sauce recipe at the top of this thread, but instead of the 2 T. red wine vinegar, I used about 1/4- 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar PER PIZZA in the sauce.  I'd never used crushed tomatoes before, but I'm a convert now  --and it's incredibly easy and delicious.  That and the balsamic....yum!  

Mary Clare

douglitas's picture

First, thanks so much for the wonderful post. This website so rocks, and this is my first time venturing out on any of the boards.

So, here's my comment: I've been using a pizza dough recipe that I found elsewhere, and I want to try yours tonight. BUT...the recipe I'm familiar with cooks for 20-25 minutes, and you recommend 7-9 minutes. There is such a discrepancy there, I must ask how this can be? I should mention that the 20-25 minutes recipe is cooked at 500F and is not a thin, cracker-like crust. It's just kinda normal pizza crust.

Floydm's picture

20-25 minutes seems like an insanely long time to bake a pizza to me.  Even those take-and-bake pizzas from chains like Papa Murphy's only take about 15 minutes and I think they recommend baking at 425 degrees.  A thin crusted, lightly topped pie in an as-hot-as-you-can-get-it-safely oven with a preheated stone shouldn't take more than 10 minutes.

douglitas's picture

Well, I'll take your advice (minus the stone, as I don't own one) and your recipe and try it tonight. Happy New Year!

(Just in case you're interested, here's the recipe I've been using:

Floydm's picture

Without a stone you are probably looking at closer to 15 minutes.

Good luck!


Elagins's picture

and it seems pretty standard, although two things stand out. first, at 70% hydration (water to flour), plus the olive oil, you're going to have a pretty slack dough. i used to make my pizza doughs at about 70-75% hydration and found that they were pretty hard to handle; i've since lowered my water content to around 60% and am having much better results.

second, 1 tablespoon of AD yeast (about 10 grams), at 2% of flour weight, is excessive, in my view. even for normal doughs, the standard ratio for AD yeast is 1%; for pizza doughs, which do best when you let them retard in the fridge for a day or so, 0.3% is more than enough.

next time you make this pizza, try mixing and dividing the dough the night before and cut the yeast down to about 1/2 teaspoon for that recipe.

Stan Ginsberg

sandy2's picture

Stan, you're right, an= Tablespoon of yeast would be too much; the recipe calls for a teaspoon, however....

Wonderful read!! I've been obsessing with homemade pizza for years and below are some of the things I've learned, most of which others of you have already suggested:

1.  Preheat the oven &/or stone for one hour.  When your oven says its ready, that's only the air temp. in the oven that is up to speed; the walls of the oven have not gotten hot yet.  Then when you open the oven to put in the pizza, that hot air escapes and the oven stays too cool for quite some time.

2.  For grilled pizza, precook ALL toppings.  Then you can concentrate on getting the dough done correctly instead of worrying about the doneness of the toppings (cheese obviously excluded from the precooking).

3.  For wet doughs, which are the best, dump your dough onto a generously floured work surface, dump more flour on top of it, then pick up the dough a toss and flip it around in the air until most of the flour falls off.  Then sweep aside most of the flour from your work surface, put the dough back down, and proceed.  You have given your wet dough a very thin coating of flour to prevent stickage.

4.  Fennel is a great secret spice - it is the main flavoring in Italian sausage and adds a lot to your pizza.

5.  Oregano sprinkled over the finished product is great.  I have read that Turkish and Greek oregano are botanically the same.  Mexican oregano is a different species.

6.  We like to use mozzarella, muenster, romano, and parmesan.

7.  We use a peel, sometimes with flour, sometimes with semolina, sometimes with cornmeal.  You have to scoop off the darkened bits from your stone in between pizzas.  Wiggle the untopped dough on the peel before topping it; after the toppings are on, give it a practice wiggle over the kitchen sink.

8.  Wet, aged dough is best.

9.  Fresh basil can be washed, dried, and frozen in freezer bags as bare leaves.  It turns dark and looks ugly shen done this way, but the flavor is great.  Either put it into the sauce dd it to the top of the pizza after it is baked; the basil can't take the high heat of the oven.


Happy Pizza!!!!  Thanks for all of the great info!!!

MotoJack's picture

Hi all.I have made this crust 4 times and it's turned out good every attempt.I have made it using flour I bought from my favorite pizza joint and I have made it using bread flour and AP flour.Doesn't seem to matter what flour I use as it's always GREAT pizza crust.Keep in mind please that I'd never made pizza dough till a week ago so this is my only formula and it's so good I probably won't use anything else.Using the AP flour I add Vital Wheat Gluten.I really do enjoy making this.Couple pics.

GovtMule's picture

Looks really good!  Especially picture #1  Thanks for sharing helpful photos....

chip c's picture
chip c

  why does the page come up blank when I try to print? Why can't I save it?

chesbaygirl's picture

This was a fantastic crust. I am a beginner and I know nothing about the chemistry of baking bread. I unintentionally abused this recipe and it still turned out great! I made two pizzas instead of four. Lightly, oiled hands work well with the very sticky dough. I rolled the dough in oiled plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator until dinner about 4-5 hours. I was working on the other while one was cooking and had to abruptly leave the second dough pressed out on parchment paper for 3 hours. The surface was dry when I came back. The sauce was perfect I used 1/2 wine and half lemon. I hunt for recipes that allow me room to play them by ear. I try them to see if they can handle my time lapses and abuse. This one did by far! I'm sticking to this one.

Gourmand2go's picture

I have some suggestions here:

that include things like oiling the crust before applying the sauce, pre-baking the crust (lightly), and putting juicy toppings like pineapple and tomatoes on top of the cheese.  You can also squeeze excess juice out in advance, but usually the cheese protects the dough well enough.

What could be more disappointing than a soggy crust?  :@\

GovtMule's picture

Wow loved how this pizza dough recipe worked out and the tomato

sauce recipe was a very good addition!  I did add a packet (from a pizza place)

of crushed red pepper flakes to this recipe for added zip and a tablespoon of

tomato paste to thicken it slightly.  I didn't add the red wine vinegar/lemon juice.

What a great pizza making experience here at home!!!  Looking forward to making

this again in the very near future....

Dragonbones's picture

Sandy2 wrote:

9.  Fresh basil can be washed, dried, and frozen in freezer bags as bare leaves.  It turns dark and looks ugly shen done this way, but the flavor is great.  Either put it into the sauce dd it to the top of the pizza after it is baked; the basil can't take the high heat of the oven.

You can also wash and dry fresh basil, then pop it into a blender and add olive oil to make a paste. Pour this into ice cube trays and freeze, then transfer to freezer ziplock bags.  Pull a couple cubes out in advance and let melt, then use this in the dough recipe or in the sauce or to brush onto the crust after the prebake and before adding toppings.  It's similar to your method but you don't have the dark ugly appearance, and the finely textured paste can easily be incorporated into things (including the dough recipe itself for pizza or other breads if you wish).


kaaren's picture

Hey there, oh I'm so excited to be on the Fresh Loaf :) I did this pizza dough this evening.  I have been seeking success with a recipe for years, but admittedly I seem to have fallen consistently flat.  :( I put my dough in a bag but my only concern is that I did not make it into a ball before freezing, instead I flattened it (rolling it in the bag with oil sprayed on it) will it make a difference?
Second question, The recipe looks really manageable, can I add something like nutmeg or cinammon to the dough - will it damage the process?
Lastly, You mention making the dough and putting it in the freezer, what if I make this and want to make it that evening, do I need to let it raise? rest?  not sure.

If you haven't noticed I completely lack confidence in my ability  - that's why I ask

Gardenwife's picture

The dough recipe sounds great, and the comments are very helpful! My favorite pizza sauce follows. I found it at

I scaled the recipe up so these ingredients represent enough sauce for four 10" pizzas. It's just easier to make a big batch, then divide and freeze the remaining sauce. 



  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

  • 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

  • salt to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, anchovy paste, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese.

  2. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.


la vecchia saggia's picture
la vecchia saggia

Your pizza is very nice.

I'm not from Naples, but if we like to reach a real "Pizza Napoletana", maybe we all have to look at this for a while...

This is my test for this pizza:

You'll find my recipe here (sorry, in italian):

Daisy_A's picture

Ciao Linda,

What a great pizza - particularly with the natural leaven.

I've been reading through your recipe and translating it into English for my own purposes when I wondered if it would be useful to have an English translation for this site also?

I am sure lots of people will be interested in this recipe so do let me know what you think and we can take it from there.  Regards  Daisy_A

la vecchia saggia's picture
la vecchia saggia

unfortunately, the only quick translator I use is google translator, to harry a little bit..

His englis is worst than mine, but is helpful..

hope you can translate, but if I can help you I'm here ... sometimes, ciaoo


Daisy_A's picture

Hi Linda,  Sorry should have made myself clearer. Thanks for your offer of help. I'd be glad to share the English translation I'm doing for myself. I would just need to send you some messages, probably easiest through the message site on your account, to check a few odd things and show you the English draft. Hope that would be okay.  Ciao Daisy_A

la vecchia saggia's picture
la vecchia saggia

Hi Daisy,

I just said that I'm new in this forum and my english is so and so.

But if you tell me what I have to do to help you, I'll do it..

ciao .. Linda

Daisy_A's picture

That's great Linda. Many thanks.

No problem on the English. I've done a first English draft down to condimento/topping now - what a lovely recipe!

It would just help if you could clarify some of the more technical words or phrases.

Hope to be back in touch in the next couple of days. Been out all day, going to rest now .... be in touch again when I know all the things I need to ask. 

Thanks again for your offer of help.

ciao  Daisy_A

junebugatl's picture

I am so happy to have found this site!  While the dough was rising, I read all of the fine posts and made a pretty darn awesome first attempt.  Super hot oven, preheated pizza stone, parchment - the crust was beautiful and hubby said I "nailed it".  I think a minute or so less on the cook time will be better.

Looking forward to the next three batches and learning more from this site.


Peacola's picture

I saw a post that Alton Brown at Food Network used unglazed quarry stone from Home Depot. They didn't have quarry stone, but showed me an 18 x 18 inch of half inch travatine stone. I had him cut it to 15 x 18 for my oven. I'm going to fire it up this weekend to see how it performs. Has anyone tried it?

mrfrost's picture

Lots of hits here on travertine when using the search box.

First hit:

spriolo's picture

My family enjoyed the pizza dough recipe last night!

Thanks!  I'm so encouraged to make more and better pizza!

protzies's picture

I tried this recipe for our dinner last night, and am very happy with the results!  I made the dough Thursday night.  We like our dough thick and on the softer side, so I substituted warm milk for half of the water, added an extra tablespoon of olive oil, and used brown sugar instead of white (my nephew worked at a pizzeria for a while and told us the secret to their crust was brown sugar!).  I also divided it into three balls instead of four.  Refrigerated until about 4 Friday afternoon (around 18 hrs. total).  Dough was pretty sticky, but a good coating of flour on my hands made it easy to work with.  Made three 11x11 square-ish pies.  Found your suggestion of using parchment paper under the pizza to transfer it to a hot stone very helpful!  Baked the pizzas at 460 for 8 or 9 minutes each, and they were FANTASTIC!  We really liked the sauce recipe, as well.  It made twice as much as we needed, so I froze it for next Friday's pizza night!  Thank you for posting this great recipe with the variations for personal tastes, as well such great instructions and tips!  I am loving this site!

bellyxray's picture

I've been using this recipe for awhile now, probably because it's so easy and produces a decent pizza, however it's my dang oven that does not seem to  put out a "good" pizza.  My crust never gets brown before all the toppings are cooked beyond burnt.

My heat element/source comes from the top.  But I always cook on a stone on the lowest possible rack, if not the bottom of the oven.  Preheat the oven at 450-500 for at least 1/2 hr with the stone in it.  So why does my crust NEVER seem to brown??  Not even the top of it?  The last time I made the pizza I took a suggestion from a friend and covered the top with a piece of foil so that the toppings wouldn't burn to being unrecognizable before the bottom even got any color to it and that didn't even work very well, AND I even pre-baked the crust for a few minutes  thinking that might help it, but it didn't really.

All I can say is I really hate my oven!  But what else can I do or try?

I might add too that I've pre-heated the oven before at 500 for over an hour and still have gotten the same results.

klarence's picture

This is the recipe that we have developed and works very well.

1  cup Whole wheat flour                                                  2 1/2 yeast ( I use regular or quick rise)                                                1 1/2 tsp. sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

Mix these together until well blended.


2/3 cups of very warm water with

3 Tablespoons of oil

Add to flour mixture.  Mix together until well blended.

Add 1/2 cup flour until soft dough is formed. will be slightly sticky.  Add additional flour if needed to dough ball.

Knead on flour surface adding additional flour if needed until smooth and elastic.  (I use my mixer for this part.  About 5 minutes of using the dough hook.)

I use a rolling pin to roll out.  We like a thin crust - so we roll quite thin and bake our pizza on a cookie sheet.

This recipe has worked very well on a pizza stone on our Weber Grill




willwork4SD's picture

Hi Bellyxray,

I had that problem, too. I have started pre-baking the crust, then adding the toppings. I even flip the crust over to get both sides fully cooked and crispy. Once you put on the sauce and cheese, the top crust softens nicely. I usually only need to do this with my sourdough crust, but it would probably help with your issue.

Good luck,


AbeCross's picture

Just made my 2nd pie using this recipe. AMAZING.  Thank you. 

A tip for people that like ultra thin crust, I was having problems stretching it as thin as I wanted it, grabbed a fork and laying it flat against the dough pulled it to the desired thinness.  I dig it almost transparent, and it worked out perfectly. As someone new to baking (but LOVING it!) this site is a treasure trove of info.  THANKS!

ronhol's picture

Excellent primer Floyd, thanks!

These past weeks, I've been playing with pizza quite a bit, and decided to give this crust a test run.

It's a major hit! Best crust I've made to date, and that was two hours after mixing the dough!

My step son said it tasted exactly like a pizza parlor pizza, which was a complement.

I also made a neat discovery. I was out of parchment paper, which I usually place under the crust to make it easier getting it off the pizza stone.

So I used aluminum foil, which I misted with olive oil and dusted with cornmeal, so it would not stick. It did not stick, but then I noticed the crust had a wonderful crispness to the bottom, something I had wanted, but gave up on. It resembled Pizza Huts Pan Crust, one of my favorites.

I already have my preferences as to sauce cheese etc, but the crust is the thing I was not quite satisfied with.

I followed the directions exactly, and now next batch, I'm gonna try increasing the honey by 2 tablespoons, and maybe double the yeast to compensate. I've read that adding sugar slows down the yeast.

I am going for a slightly sweeter crust, like Papa Johns hand tossed crust.

But, if it does not work out, I'm very pleased with this tried and true recipe.

TFL pulls through again, thanks!

ronhol's picture

I notice all the NY Style Pizza joints where I live make garlic rolls out of their pizza dough.

They all are pretty similar except the difference in the garlic topping, which varies from one place to the other.

Does anyone here know how to transform your pizza dough into garlic rolls?

rolls's picture

i am planning to try this recipe, maybe next time. i haven't made too many pizzas totally on my own, as my hubby made pizzas professionally so i jus rely on him usually lol. although he likes my dough more than his so i'd make a big  batch. not too long ago we bought a used gas pizza cooker and im thinking since it gets so marvelously hot, pretty much any dough is going to turn out great. not sure, but this is my theory lol.

i will share my dough, which is really versatile and i have used it even for fatayir and lahme bi ajeen, which are like pastries with various fillings, you have the spinach fatayir which are like spinach triangles, and you have sfeeha which have a meat mixture filling. they are my next project actually, to try on the pizza oven


 i'll jus quickly mention my dough that i always use:


2 cups flour

2 cups water

1/4 cup sugar

1 spoon yeast

sprinkle of salt (i add extra)

leave alone for a bout ten mins. then add:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 cups flour


mix and knead till you have a smooth dough. you could leave it to rest for a little while if you like, but i just immediately separate into balls and leave them to rest a bit while i get on with everything else.

if anyone tries this please let me know how it turns out for you :)


thehomefoodcook's picture

I used a roughly ground semolina to make my pizza dough tonight and it came out really thin and crispy. I used a rolling pin to get it real thin. Although the dough did rise while it was resting, it did not rise at all in the oven and even though it was really nice, the dough was pretty much a biscuit. Would I have to use a thicker dough for it to rise? Or perhaps I should let it rise once I've shaped it?

Also, to avoid problems with the base sticking, I like to bake it a little first...with no topping. This way, the dough also doesn't get soggy if a lot of topping is used. Does anyone else do this too?

dabrownman's picture

par bake my pizza before loading on the goodies - really tend to load them on too!  Roll it thin, dock the center, brush with garlic olive oil (or Mojo de ) on it and bake it 3 minutes or so at 500 F.  Then out it comes for sauce and toppings and then back in for about another 4 minutes untilo it looks done. No matter how loaded the crust always comes out perfectly baked even though you can't get the heat at home needed unless you have a WFO. 

I sometimes put some Chi Chi flour in the dough to make it roll out thinner, especially when adding some cornmeal or corn flour too but, we always include garlic, sun dried tomato and fresh rosemary chopped very fine in the dough, no matter what variety.

thehomefoodcook's picture

What is chi chi flour? i like your idea of putting herbs in the dough. Think I'll try that out when I next make pizza again.

Irutigliano's picture

Love, love, love this recipe. It is thin and crispy and perfect


Perfect Pizza Crust(from Cooks Illustrated)1 1/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast1 cup water, slightly warm or room temperature1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface1 cup (4 oz) cake flour1 1/2 tsp salt2 tsp sugar



Preheat the oven to 500F with your baking stone on the oven rack.Combine yeast and water and stir to dissolve.Combine flours, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. With the motor running, stream in water/yeast mixture. Continue to process for 1-2 minutes, until dough becomes smooth and satiny. Add an extra tablespoon of flour if the dough becomes too sticky (see photos).Divide dough into two and shape each piece into a tight ball. Place on a lightly floured surface and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.Working with one ball of dough at a time, place on a lightly floured surface. Flatten the dough into an 8-inch disk, then stretch the edges gently until the dough is about 12-inches in diameter, rotating the dough by quarter turns as you work. You can also gently stretch the dough by placing it on the backs of your hands, letting the weight of the dough stretch it out.Transfer the stretched dough onto a baking sheet that has been covered with cornmeal (you can use a pizza peel, if you have one). Spread it with a small amount of the sauce (see recipe below), toppings of your choice and slide it quickly into the oven.Bake pizza at 500F for 5-10 minutes, until well browned.Retrieve pizza with baking sheet or pizza peel.Serve immediately and repeat process with second piece of dough.Makes 2, 12-inch pizzas

 ***I usually let it rise overnight in the fridge and then take it out abut an our before I want to bake it

Toshiko Suisei's picture
Toshiko Suisei

Hi, I love this crust recipe! The sauce recipe is really nice too, except I just use red wine instead of the acidic (I'll try it some day).

A sticky, goopy dough isn't a problem; I just coat my hands with extra-virgin olive oil and the dough stretches beautifully.  I like AP flour for pizza crusts. I even like Italian zero-protein flour. Not a fan of really chewy crusts that result from using higher protein flours or from kneading up serious gluten chains. Also, big flavor boost if the dough sits overnight in the fridge <- I won't skip this part.

I'll never buy a peel; I just use a rimless cooking sheet instead and the parchment paper as suggested (trimmed to about 1 cm wider then the crust's final dimension).

Pizza stone trick:  Buy a very serious oven mitt - like grayish-silver space-age super-padded fabric heat protection, stick-your-hand-down-next-to-the-blazing-coals-to-reposition-a-grill's-drip-pan oven mitt. (I got mine in from the grilling department at Home Depot.) Place your pizza stone on the rack 4 inches or so above the bottom of the oven. Preheat to 500 F.  Once the oven preheats to 500, use your super mitt and move the stone to a rack placed just under the broiler. Turn the broiler on high and blast the stone while you shape and top your pizza crust.  When the pizza is ready to go in, turn off the broiler, set the oven back to 500 degrees, move the stone back to the lower rack and slide your pizza onto it.  (I learned the broiler trick from a video posted by Adam Ragusea of Radio Boston in 2010. He used a infra-red thermometer gun and it registered the stone at close to 600 degrees.)  This is home pizza crust magic!  DO NOT even try this without a VERY serious oven mitt! (With this heat it's not really necessary to move the stone back down; I just can't see cooking progress in the top of my oven space without opening the door.)

My breakfast pizza =D  Light coating of pasta or pizza sauce, topped with fresh mushrooms and crumbled bacon, a little Italian-blend shredded cheese, and two room-temperature eggs sunny-side up (I broke the yokes so they wouldn't overcook while I grabbed my camera).

doudou's picture

Awesome pizza!

sarafina's picture

Love all the ideas ; -) letting the dough sit for a few days made a nice improvement to the crust!

I find that using 000 Flour improves my crispy thin crusts a great deal. I was suprised to not see anyone else mention it.

Using cherry tomatoes , halved, works really nicely as well. They have a lower water content than larger tomatoes so they cook down fast and well, with out making the pizza soggy.

Basil in frozen cubes is great, but oregano can be treated the same way as well, so you have "fresh" year round.

I even keep the sauce frozen in cubes so I can just pull out a few cubes to defrost. When I make sauce I use what I need that night, and then freeze the rest and bag it, the same as the basil and oregano. I am going to try the freezing of the dough balls and see if I like the results. That way Iwould pretty much have 'Frozen Pizza', homemade. Add toppings and bake!



Xenophon's picture

Will try it out one of these days but thanks for posting this!

What I do to get a super crisp thin crust even when feeding people who -sacrilege- want an absolutely overloaded pizza is the following:

- As you said, use about 25% high protein bread flour

- lightly oil the stretched dough (if you put on sun dried  tomatoes, use the oil in which they're stored)

- Apply the base tomato sauce, then pre-bake in a maxed out oven for 4 minutes, this will give a nice rise and you'll end up with a half-baked crust that's no longer floppy.

- Put on the rest of the toppings, when using mushrooms or bell peppers, sautee them briefly first.

- Put the pizza on a wire rack in your oven so air can reach the underside of the dough and bake off for 6-7 minutes in a very hot oven, using air circulation.

The result will be a thin, super crisp crust that doesn't turn soggy even when using relatively wet toppings and after sitting on a plate for a couple of minutes.

Bon appétit!

arummel's picture

I don't know what I'm doing wrong with this recipe. There is to be no kneading correct? Everytime I make it I get a pizza dough that is very dense with itsy bitsy holes, not the large irregular holes I was expecting. I make the dough in a mixer then let rise for 2 hours then shape, top, and bake. Could someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong?

Kilo's picture

yes you need to knead. after kneading the dough cut a small piece off and make a small pizza out of it stretching it until you can see through it (window pane) if it rips, knead it some more until you get a window pane. also you may not be letting it rise long enough. it is best to make the dough a day or two before making the pizza and letting it slow rise in the fridge. then take out 2 hours before baking

Melissa Bakes's picture
Melissa Bakes

what are your thoughts on using my bread machine to knead the pizza dough ?

Puttson2's picture

Spread your dough out on your Peel and put your toppings on.

The last thing you do after putting the toppings on, lift up one small spot of the edge of the dough and gently blow air under the dough, (it doesn't take much) the air gets trapped and your pizza will slide off the Peel onto your stone like it's on ball bearings!

Bread winer's picture
Bread winer

Floyd - you're the best.  Just finished the thread (took a while), and gained a whole lot of confidence.  To the grill we go. Thanks to all for the exchange.

sunqueen's picture

I'm a relative newcomer to the bread baking world. I tried back in the early 90s and baked a lot of tasty bricks with my brand new KA mixer. I tried again last year and actually made a few loaves with recipes from this site that were quite tasty. Then I fried my KA. I've been doing some no knead breads for awhile. Santa brought me a Bosch and I've been baking daily since.

The grocery store near me sells balls of fresh pizza dough in their bakery dept. I grew up in NY and seriously can not buy a decent pizza in South Central FL. I have to drive 20 miles to the next town and the pizza is meh. Last spring I bought Saltillo tiles and lined both racks in my over. I heat it to 525 and have been able to make some amazing pies with store bought dough. I tried making this dough a little while ago. I assembled all of the ingredients and got them all mixed. It seemed REALLY wet! I kept coming back to the screen to make sure I followed the recipe correctly. I added some more bread flour (about a cup) to the four cups of AP plus one bread that I used. Then it hit me. I thought I filled a pint container but it was a quart. I used three cups of water instead of two. It's very, very sticky.

Since I like a cracker crisp kind of crust, I'm hoping that if I flour my hands well, I'll be able to form a decent crust on a sheet of parchment paper. I've been using a flat cookie sheet for transferring to the hot tiles for some time now and it has worked great!

tiffanyjoy's picture

Is this a good recipe for a wood fired oven? 

Also, is this recipe figured out for a 50 pound bag of hi protein flour?

philjacobs's picture

You almost got the sauce right. You have to cook it though. And let it stand. I am focused on the sauce. I have seen so many dud-sauces on the web, but yours is close.

As for dough, I prefer whole wheat French bread to dough.

T. Fargo's picture
T. Fargo

  A fine article!  I use my french bread dough for my pizza, although when I worked for a Greek Family Restaurant years ago, they added oil and eggs to theirs.  It took me years to figure out how wrong that was.  One thing I do recommend for a flavorful crust is to use a good water.  I have experimented with different mineral waters in mine and have settled on San Pellegrino when making pies that will not have sturdy toppings on them. Here's my recipe for 4 pies (Or loaves or bread boules for soup etc.)

680 g water - 10 g yeast - 25 g kosher salt - 910 g AP flour - dough whisk all together and let rise for 2 hours, lightly covered.  Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks (will develop a better flavor after 2 to 3 days and in easier to work with when cold).

Since we're on the topic:

I cook all my pizzas free form now.  I start on parchment dusted with cornmeal / polenta, then slide the parchment out directly on stones after the first 10-12 minutes at 450 deg. F.  I preheat the stones and oven to 500 degrees and drop down to 450 after inserting the pie.  This gives my stones enough latent heat to make a nice golden brown crust under the pie.


T. Fargo's picture
T. Fargo

  Some shots of pie.  Pie Pixels?

Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

I might have missed references to the frying pan pizza making method - apologies if I have - which is definitely the second best to an authentic pizza or bread oven. My dough is pretty much the same as here except I think you get better flavour from slower, longer fermentation. So basically you start off the pizza on a smoking hot (cast iron if possible) pan or skillet, build it while the crust is cooking, then stick it for just less than a minute under red hot grill, like here, plus pic: frying pan pizza

almatec's picture

The pizza looks super yum. Nothing better than home made pizza dough with gorgeous sauce, veggies, and herbs!

jameseng's picture

I enjoyed reading this thread! I just bought two pieces of steel to replace my baking stone as I am experimenting with getting a great crust in my oven. It was cheap for the steel too! Around $30 for a 14" x 16" piece of metal. I looked on Amazon and a comparative one would be almost $100 ( ). I thought others might be interested in doing this also. So if you want a baking steel, the fellow's name is Keith and he's located in Chambersburg, PA.

I am looking forward to the next pizza baking day!

gwschenk's picture

I used this crust to make the tarte flambee from Bread. It came out great!