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The best pizza dough, chewy thin crust with a puffy rim

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The best pizza dough is a bold claim. I know.

And it’s obviously highly subjective.

At any given time there is a heated argument on the Internet on the relative merits of New York style pizza versus Chicago style pizza, with some arguing the latter isn’t pizza at all.

Adding flour to bowl on scal

So, I’m here to say I get it. I will never please everyone. Nevertheless, my opinion here is absolutely correct.

This is, as of now, the best pizza you can make at home without installing a special high temperature oven or disabling the self-cleaning cycle lock on your oven.

Water added to flour

This dough results in a pizza with a thin crust and a puffy, chewy cornicione (which is the fancy Italian term for the edge of crust around the rim).

It’s simple to make. It’s just flour, water, salt, and yeast.

But there are a few tricks to getting it right.

One is a long fermentation. The dough should rest overnight, and I think it gets even better after two or three days of resting in the refrigerator.

Another is using bread flour for the extra gluten formation, which is so helpful for developing that pleasing chew. (I usually use King Arthur which has a protein content of 12.7%)

Pizza dough covered with plastic wrap for proofing

The other is using more salt than you think. Salt inhibits yeast, and it helps prevent the dough from over-rising during its long rest in the refrigerator. It also makes everything taste better.

And while you can use active dry yeast, your life will be easier and results more reliable if you use instant yeast, which you don’t have to proof in water and can just mix in with the flour.

Pizza Dough from Blossom to Stem | www.blossomtostem.net

The other tricks are not ingredient-based, they’re in the handling and cooking.

Step away from the rolling pin and gently stretch your dough into place.

This makes a very wet, sticky, slack dough that can take some practice to handle.

One trick to make handling easier is to wet your hands before touching the dough. Damp hands won’t stick to it so much.

When people ask me what temperature to cook pizza at, my answer is always as high as your oven will go. For most of us, that’s 500-550°F.

And preheat the oven with the pizza steel or pizza stone inside for a half-hour before you put your pizza in the oven.

Best Pizza Dough. From Blossom to Stem | www.blossomtostem.net

You can use a peel if you want. Or just build your pizza on a piece of parchment paper and slide it into the oven from the back of a baking sheet.

Also, don’t overtop your pizza.

Apply a very thin layer of simple sauce. Go easy on a layer of grated dry aged mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano. And apply your other toppings sparingly or you’re apt to wind up with a soggy mess.

Best Pizza Dough. From Blossom to Stem | www.blossomtostem.net

But keep this one bookmarked. Or print it out and laminate it.

You’ll be making it again and again.

Best Pizza Dough. From Blossom to Stem | www.blossomtostem.net
Best Pizza Dough. From Blossom to Stem | www.blossomtostem.net

[Edit 6/5/2019: I think I figured out where a few folks have run into trouble. This recipe is not designed for Italian-style 00 pizza flour, which is generally only available from specialty suppliers in the US and why I’ve opted for the much more widely available bread flour.

The tipo “00” (doppio zero) refers to the fineness of the milling and has nothing to do with the protein content of the flour.

It is much finer than American all-purpose or bread flours. Tipo “00” is less absorbent than bread flour, which means if you use the amount of water called for here, it will be too runny.

If you are using 00 flour, try reducing the water to 275 g or a 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons to get the hydration right. And note that the texture will be more delicate and crisp and less chewy than the bread flour version I’ve described.

I’ve tested this dough with bread flour hundreds of times and that’s still what I recommend for this recipe.

It also works pretty well with all-purpose flour (especially if you have a higher protein all-purpose flour like King Arthur). You can reduce the water to 350 g or 1 1/2 cups for an easier to handle dough.]

Yield: 2 14-inch pizzas

Best Pizza Dough (for thin crust pizza with a chewy, puffy rim)

Pizza Dough from Blossom to Stem | www.blossomtostem.net

This dough needs to be made a day ahead of time (though it can hang out in the refrigerator for another four days and in the freezer for a few months). The slow overnight rise in the refrigerator allows the dough to develop a complex flavor and improve its browning and crumb structure. Bread flour helps to give pizza that pleasing chewy texture, and instant yeast lets you skip the step you find in many recipes for proofing the yeast in water ahead of time. I strongly recommend applying your toppings with a light hand. I like baking pizzas on a baking steel, which is totally worth the investment, but you can also bake it on a baking sheet. This makes enough dough for two pizzas, which means you can have pizza again later in the week or you can tuck the extra dough in the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight the next time you want pizza.

Prep Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 day
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 8 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add the flour, salt, and yeast to a large mixing bowl and stir. Add the water and stir until you don't see any dry flour. Then stir with a metal or wooden spoon for about 50 strokes (your arm should be getting tired and the dough should be shaggy but starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl as you stir). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour.
  2. After about a 30 minutes of rising, gently stretch and fold the dough over itself a few times. The dough should start to feel stretchier and sturdier. Cover again and let rise for another 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough over itself two or three more times. The dough should no longer look shaggy, but have a smooth appearance when pulled into a taut ball. Divide the dough in half and stretch each half into a ball. Coat lightly in olive oil and place each dough ball into a quart-sized zip top bag and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. (If there is any dough you don't plan to use in 4 days, put it in the freezer now. When ready to use, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight and continue as directed.) 
  3. On the day you plan to make the pizza, pull the dough out of the refrigerator about an hour before you want to eat. If you have a baking steel or baking stone, make sure it's in the oven on the top rack. Preheat the oven as high as your oven will go (500°F or 550°F) about a half hour before you want to eat.
  4. After the dough has been at room temperature for about an hour, gently stretch the dough into a circle about 14-inches in diameter and place on a sheet of parchment paper set on the back of a baking sheet (if you feel comfortable using a peel you can, of course skip the parchment paper and build your pizza on a floured peel). Top the pizza lightly with whatever toppings you want. Slide the parchment paper and pizza onto your baking steel or stone (or if you don't have either of those, slide the whole inverted baking sheet into the oven on the top rack).
  5. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the dough is deeply browned in spots. Slide the pizza onto a wire cooling rack and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cutting board and slicing.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 602mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
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suzy d

Saturday 10th of October 2020

This is the crust we crave.Thank you for the many helpful tips too. Question: Are we putting the parchment paper in 500-550 oven? I hesitate to exceed the paper’s recommended 400 max.

Mary Kasprzak

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Yes to the parchment (unless you're comfortable with a pizza peel). I use King Arthur parchment paper, and they say it's safe to use at higher temperatures, and they only give 450°F as an upper limit for reusing the parchment. (You can't reuse the parchment after being in a 550°F oven, it gets brittle.) I can't guarantee all manufacturers are the same, but would guess the general principles apply.

I've done this many times and never had a problem. Good luck!

Sandra

Monday 21st of September 2020

Went back and read it again. It clearly states 2 14inch pizzas. Sorry! : )

Diandra Cocco

Saturday 12th of September 2020

I made this dough for the second time today because i really liked it the first time! i cant remember exactly what it was like last time but its really wet this time. i did everything by weight and double checked so i dont think i messed up the recipe. i can still pull it with my hands but once i put it in the bag it didnt stay in a ball at all... is this okay or should i try mixing in some more flour? maybe my yeast was bad. my question is can i still use this dough lol im hoping its still fine.

Mary Kasprzak

Saturday 12th of September 2020

It's a very wet dough! You're probably fine!

Zoe

Friday 11th of September 2020

I’m so excited to try this! I’m curious, have you ever tried using the dough for bagels?

Zoe

Friday 25th of September 2020

@Mary Kasprzak, I tried this tonight, and I think I had everything right based on your description of the wet dough. With wet hands, I could get a nice smooth ball, but I had a REALLY hard time trying to stretch it out. In the end, I had an odd shaped pizza that wasn’t as thin as I think it should be. I could only get it to about 8-10 inches because it kept shrinking back on itself and sticking to the parchment and my hands. I was a mess. ;) I know you said it takes practice, but do you have any other tips for the final step of stretching out the crust into a thin 14” circle? Thanks so much!

Mary Kasprzak

Saturday 12th of September 2020

This dough is way too wet for bagels—they wouldn't hold their shape. I have a favorite bagel recipe here.

Cindy

Friday 11th of September 2020

Hello from Western Maine!!! Truly amazing pizza dough recipe! Followed it exactly and it was nothing short of AMAZING!! Thank you Mary! Its my forever pizza crust recipe! Cindy

Mary Kasprzak

Saturday 12th of September 2020

You're welcome!!!