How to Make Homemade Pizza Dough

It's very easy to make homemade pizza dough, but it can take some practice. Don't be intimidated if you aren't used to working with yeast, and don't give up if the crust doesn't turn out the first few times you make it. Persistent diligence will pay off in a delicious crust that tastes much better than anything you can buy. Besides, a homemade pizza costs about $5 to make, which is a significant savings over popular takeout options.

Ingredients

Pizza crust recipes use six basic ingredients; flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and olive oil. The only measurements that really matter in homemade pizza dough recipes are those of the flour and the water, the rest can be estimated. One cup of water and two or three cups of flour is sufficient for one large pizza.

Time

Before you start making homemade pizza dough, please be sure you have enough time to let it rise and bake the pizza. You'll need about 20 minutes to mix the dough and a minimum of an hour for the dough to rise. Baking the finished product takes 30 to 40 minutes.

Homemade Pizza Dough Instructions

1. To start, put a dollop of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and about a generous dash of sugar in a mixing bowl. If vague measurements make you nervous, aim for 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar, but really, the yeast doesn't care about the ratios of these ingredients. Once you've made a few pizzas, you'll stop measuring.

2. Add 1 cup of hot tap water and stir. The water should be measured.

3. Sprinkle yeast on top and give it ten minutes to foam (i.e. feed on the sugar). Note: Grocery store yeast can get expensive. Bulk yeast at warehouse stores like Sam's Club or Costco is much cheaper.

4. Add 2 to 3 cups of flour, a half cup at a time. Assess the homemade pizza dough as you go. Some times the dough may need 3 cups of flour, others 2. The goal is a soft, dry dough that doesn't stick to fingers too much. A mixer with a dough hook makes this step easier, but even with a mixer it's a good idea to pick the dough up and knead it a bit by hand to get a feel for its texture. With experience, you'll become an expert at 'reading' the pizza dough.

5. Set the dough aside to rise. The oven with just the baking light on is a great environment for rising dough. The homemade pizza dough will need at least an hour to rise before it can be used, but can be left to rise for 3 or 4 hours with no ill effects.

Cooking Homemade Pizza Dough

For a crisp pizza crust, heat oven to 375F and  liberally brush the pizza pan with olive oil along with a sprinkling of garlic salt. Or invest in a pizza stone, especially if you start to get serious about making homemade pizza.

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