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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)

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

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 days
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 1 days 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

58 Comments

  • My favorite kind of crust is a thin crust. This dough looks amazing!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Patty!

      Reply
    • Question: if I use a pizza stone do I need parchment paper?

      Reply
      • Kayla,

        You should preheat the pizza stone in the oven so it’s hot when you put the pizza in the oven. You can transfer the pizza to the hot stone on parchment paper (which is easy) or you can transfer the pizza to the stone using a floured peel (which takes some practice to get right). I recommend starting with parchment paper and then working on getting the hang of a peel later.

        Reply
    • I found the texture quite runny just before deviding into two. Have i missed something as its not ass “ball” shaped as shown in photographs? Cheers

      Reply
      • It shouldn’t be runny, but it is quite sticky. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on.

        There are a few possibilities: it may need to be worked longer (folded around itself a few more times), it may have too much water (add a little more flour and work it again). You should continue folding it around itself until it forms a ball. Hope that helps!

        Reply
        • We just tried the dough after adding some flour and it was really tasty! Our oven only goes up to 250oc ( 482f) so needed about 3-4 minutes more than the suggested temperature/ cooking time. We also using strong bread flour (as most of shelves are empty) and i think next batch we will use 350g water and then it should be perfect 🙂 many thanks for recipe!

          Reply
  • ooooooh. This sounds amazing. Do you have any photos of the finished product/pizza?

    Reply
    • I’m updating with finished photos today!

      Reply
      • Currently my dough is in the freezer after one rise. How should I thaw? Should I put in fridge for 2 days and then cook? Or let thaw at room temperature, rise again, and then refrigerate for 2 days?

        Reply
        • Put it in the fridge and let it thaw overnight, then bake!

          Reply
  • I love making pizza dough at home and pizza is such a great, week-night meal with pre-prepped dough. I have to try this recipe.

    Reply
  • Thanks, Luci!

    Reply
  • Homemade pizza is so much better and cheaper. Such a great tutoroial.

    Reply
  • Mouth. Watering. Ever since I was pregnant last year I can’t get enough of pizza. I have a new freezer now too where I can store dough, so am definitely going to give yours a try!

    Reply
  • Oh your dough and crust looks perfect!! I’ve never used bread flour for my pizza doughs but I’m trying it next time!

    Reply
  • Very accurate indeed. Yes, that is how we make the pizza in Italy

    Reply
  • I love your tips on how to get this right! Homemade pizza dough is a thing of beauty and I’m ready to dive into that pie – and honestly, I’m already getting “over” the holiday flavors — and a good pizza sounds perfect right now!

    Reply
  • Do you use a particular brand of parchment paper to accommodate the high temperature? My usual brands state an upper limit of 420-450 degrees Fahrenheit, and the paper browns at these temps and becomes brittle, although I’ve never had it burn or ruin my food. I’m a bit nervous about potentially destroying a homemade pizza. 😉

    Reply
    • I love King Arthur’s parchment paper. It technically has an upper limit of 450, but I’ve used it successfully with this literally hundreds of times now. It does get a little brittle and brown around the edges but nothing more. If it makes you too nervous, you could always use a peel like the pros–it does take a bit of practice to get the hang of using one and I think the parchment is much easier.

      Reply
  • Recipe sound yummy! Just like the pizza I grew up eating in NY. One question……is the 3 grams of instant yeast an accurate measurement? Each packet is 7 grams, so I’m to use just under a half packet, right??

    Reply
    • Rosine, yes, the 3 grams is accurate. It’s a half teaspoon and I’ll update the recipe to include that. (I use a big container of yeast so I don’t know off the top of my head how much is in a packet.)

      Reply
  • Did this dough in a stand mixer, total time about 12 minutes at varied speeds with a paddle. Two days in the fridge. Also baked it on parchment with a pizza steel at various temps between 650-750F.

    Very chewy and delicious. A good formula without sugar or oil in dough!

    Nice job!

    Reply
  • Hi. I just found your recipe and will make it this weekend. Why do you put it on the top shelf in the oven? I’ve always put pizza on the bottom shelf. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Cindy,

      I find that baking it on the top shelf helps get those lovely burnished brown spots on the top of the crust. The bottom of the crust gets plenty of heat if you’re cooking it on a well-preheated stone or steel. That said, ovens and personal preferences vary and this dough will still work pretty well baked on any shelf.

      Reply
  • Proofed up more than I expected, but remained cheesy and light, and not doughy. Against the author’s advice, I loaded it down with probably more than a pound of peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic, cheese, and sausage and yet the crust held up magnificently. Will definitely do this again! Baked at 450 on a pizza stone.

    Reply
  • I won my wife’s heart 26 years ago when I invited her to my house for homemade pizza on our second date. Her initial (unstated) reaction to that invitation was, “ Oh, no, another guy who thinks he can cook!” Well, that first pizza was a winner, and we recently celebrated our 25th anniversary. Over the years restaurant pizzas have improved, and recently I have been searching for a dough recipe that measures up to the good pizza joints. This recipe is it! Just tried it for the first time and served it to my wife and friends. Just outstanding! Anyone who says you can’t create a pizza at home that’s as good as a stone oven pizza restaurant is wrong. This recipe is spot on! Thank you!

    Reply
  • I’m just making the dough and wondering if I’ve done something wrong as it’s very wet and sticky even after folding over the second time?

    Reply
    • It’s a very wet dough–so you’re probably fine. When you fold it, eventually it will go from having a shaggy texture to looking smooth and taut when you form it into a ball–that’s when it’s ready to go into the refrigerator for its long proof.

      Reply
      • Hmm, last time I added extra flour and it came out great. I’m making it again and was very careful about my measurements but it’s as wet as cake batter.

        Reply
        • It looks like cake batter at the beginning, but should look like much more like a dough after the initial round of stirring. Are you using bread flour (high protein flour/strong flour)? That will help to develop the gluten structure to make it behave like a dough. If you’re using a lower protein dough (all-purpose flour/plain flour) you’d need to work it longer to develop the gluten structure.

          It is very wet and sticky intentionally, because that allows it to get those lovely air bubbles. But! All of that said, if you like the results you’re getting with a little extra flour by all means keep doing it your way!

          Reply
          • Mine is very very wet, like cake batter too! I’m using 00 pizza flour …? I’ve made it several times and sometimes the dough comes out silky smooth and indeed is the BEST pizza I’ve ever made and other times it just won’t work, after I stretch it out, it shrinks back! I’m guessing that when it’s too wet is when the end product isn’t as good. Do you know what the result is if your dough starts off too sticky?

          • Penny, I’ve just updated the post with an edit to offer my advice on this! I hope you have good luck with the adjustments!

  • I can’t believe how easy this pizza dough is. It’s so delicious and so simple that I made a batch last night to make a pizza and I’m having the other one tonight because I can’t wait any longer, lol.

    Reply
  • I have been using a recipe for years (6c flour, 2c water, 2 packets of yeast (~1 TBSP), 4 TBSP oil, 4 TBSP honey) and was intrigued to try this based on how different the flour-to-yeast ratio was compared to what I am used to. I used “regular” enriched white flour, and cooked it about 3 hours after initially mixing it together and it was AMAZING. The dough was far more elastic than what I was used to, but it was just a matter of getting a new method down.

    Thank you for this – it was exactly what I wanted from a taste and consistency perspective. I usually use a pizza stone, but lately have been using parchment paper on an upside down baking sheet and it is both crispy and chewy!

    Reply
  • Is there a way to use active dry yeast instead of instant? Like if I did the appropriate substitution amount, added a little sugar, and mixed it with water first, would that work at all?

    Reply
    • You could proof active dry yeast in some warm water (no need for sugar) and then add it with the rest of the water (which should be cold). I still recommend instant yeast, but active dry should work if separately proofed and the total amount of water remains the same.

      Reply
  • Do you mix the yeast with water first before adding it with the flour?
    This looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
    • No. With instant yeast you mix it directly with the flour and salt. Then add the water.

      Reply
  • Why do you use cool water instead of 105 to 110 water?

    Reply
    • Cool water slows down the rise which is helpful for a long fermentation like the one here.

      Warm water is better if you’re using active dry yeast and need to proof it or in doughs designed to be baked the same day.

      Reply
  • This dough is easy and delicious. We have made pizza using it several times. I just made a bunch to freeze so I always have it on hand. I really appreciate the tips with the explanation of why it works. It has helped me to be a better Baker. Thanks

    Reply
    • I’m so thrilled!

      Reply
  • Second pizza dough I ever made, I stopped looking for recipes. Pizzeria dough is what this is! I didn’t have instant yeast, so I used active dry, put it in the water with half the salt, same quantity of water and a quarter cup of the flour (added a pinch of sugar), used bread flour and the recipe turned out absolutely perfect. I’m lucky that my oven goes up to insanely temperatures too 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

    Reply
    • how many pizzas did u make out of one recipe?

      Reply
  • Didn’t work for me. Dough came out way too springy, couldn’t shape it without using a rolling pin and lost faith before cooking, Best pizza dough, should tame that hyperbole.

    Reply
    • I’m not sure what you mean by “springy” in this case. It’s a wet dough that can take some practice to handle and shape.

      I note above that “best” is a bit tongue-in-cheek because best is a moving target. The vast majority of folks who’ve made this report good results. Simmer down, fella.

      Reply
  • Hello! I am wondering how many pizzas this recipe will make! im hoping to make it woth my boyfriend for valentines day and we want like 3 pizzas.
    I really hope it turns out!!!

    Reply
    • Diandra,

      This makes 2 14-inch pizzas.

      Reply
  • This is hands down the best dough recipe! I’ve tried so many, searching for the perfect one and this is it!! Thin and crisp with a bubbly and chewy crust. Thank you for posting this! I will probably use it forever. I never write reviews and came back to this just to thank you!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much!

      Reply
  • Hmm… this dough doesn’t appear to be rising at all. I’ve done everything the way specified, and I’m using instant yeast which I know is alive and kicking (tested a few days prior, and have kept refrigerated since). But the dough doesn’t appear to be rising at all, even after leaving it at room temp for 2 hours. Is it supposed to? It also remains very sticky to the touch.

    So what might I be doing wrong? Could my water be too cold? I used room temp bottled water, but you said to use cool, so I added a bit of ice until it felt cool to the touch, before adding it to the mixture. Or maybe the yeast need to sit at room temp for a while after removal from the fridge, prior to using? Any other possibilities?

    Reply
    • It’s a very sticky dough, so that part sounds right.

      It should rise in that time, but because it continues to proof overnight in the refrigerator it uses less yeast than many other doughs and doesn’t rise as dramatically for the first rise as you may be used to.

      I use cool tap water when making this, but ice may have slowed down the rise a little. It should all work itself out if you divide it and let it rise overnight. Good luck!

      (P.S. Use wet hands when handling the sticky dough!)

      Reply
      • Ah, thanks for your response, that makes me feel a bit better. I’ll wait it out the full 3 days, and see how it turns out. I’ll also try a second batch and use room temp water to see if that helps. I’ll report back with any findings.

        One other thing that occurs to me is that I recently tried a same-day dough recipe that involved much more yeast and also sugar, and proofing in water prior to mixing with flour. The recipe stated that it should only take a couple minutes for the yeast to activate, but in reality it took 20 mins. A quick Google search revealed that the dryness of Canadian Prairie provinces (or perhaps the elevation) necessitates longer proofing times. So maybe in this part of the world yeast just needs a little more help getting started

        Reply
      • I cooked both batches today. Verdict: the one I was initially worried about, turned out the best! It was wetter/stickier and almost unmanageable, and didn’t appear to rise much (it had a droopy/soupy appearance compared to the other). But in the end, it was the most slack and easy to stretch, and came out PERFECTLY. It had a thin crust that was sturdy yet foldable, with a light crispy bubbly chewy cornice. It even had some nice leopard spotting. It was far better than anything I can get at restaurants in Calgary — much closer to what I’ve had in Montreal or New York! My family was very impressed.

        So I would say to anyone worried about dough that’s initially stickier and less active, to wait it out. You really won’t see much rise at all initially, and I’d almost say the shaggier/wetter the better! If you’re worried about how much of it remains stuck to your hands after working with it, then you’re actually doing it right.

        Reply
  • Ok, I tried a second batch, this time attempting to first bloom the yeast in room temp water with a pinch of sugar. I confirmed that the yeast is alive (yet slow, as desired).

    Anyway I added it to the flour/salt mixture, and after mixing, it was sticky/shaggy but this time workable enough that I COULD shape it with wet hands without a large portion of it sticking to my hands. Whereas with the previous batch, I’d have to keep re-wetting my hands throughout and even still it never formed a smooth ball, so think that means I must have used a tad too much water last time.

    As for rising, this new batch indeed does seem to be rising the appropriate amount, and I was able to shape it perfectly. I checked up on the previous batch that’s been in the fridge for a couple days, and it’s still flat as a pancake. So it would seem that indeed, room temp water may be more appropriate for some situations, since the cool water method caused my yeast not to activate at all. Or maybe it was the act of pre-blooming with sugar, then adding to the salt/flour mixture afterwards. Heh… I guess it’s not what you’d call a controlled experiment, but at least I’m happy now that I’m getting the expected results so far.

    Reply
  • (Sorry, the above two messages somehow got switched in sequence. Weird.)

    Reply
  • Hi from Bermuda!

    Have made this dough at least 25-30 times, and having tried countless other recipes to perfect my NYC-style dough – in my opinion, the author’s bold claim is warranted. My wife refuses to allow me to experiment with any other new recipe, and she’s right.

    I use a stand-mixer and a pizza steel, which I can’t praise enough as essential (but yes, expensive) tools. I can say the stand-mixer is definitely a plus for this recipe in particular, as I had made this before using wooden spoons and my hands and the wetness was very difficult to get used to.

    My oven goes to 550F. I’ve played around with rack height and found middle and top work best. Takes anywhere from 6-8 mins total. I like to broil on high for 30-35 seconds at the end to really brown the crust and cheese. (I know this recipe is just for dough, but once I was able to track down whole milk mozza, this was a game changer as well, FYI.)

    I generally try to keep toppings light as suggested, but I’ve definitely tried overloading the toppings out of temptation and this crust will hold it up if done just as instructed. If your crust is floppy and you need a second hand to hold it up, you are doing something wrong. And I cut big slices.

    Unbleached bread flour is also a must – I definitely noticed the difference between all-purpose and bread, the latter resulting in a chewier product, no question about it.

    As stated many times above – yep – this is a super wet dough. Be patient and learn to love it and not over flour during the process, especially during the mixing stage, as I find it can result in a harder and less chewy dough once baked (and harder to stretch). The wet hands trick works (but I do use generous flour sprinklings, but only after the first proof to avoid sticking to my wooden cutting board and hands – though always end up sacrificing a little amount that inevitably clumps to my fingers.

    I use Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast packets (each a 1/4 oz or 7.09 g). My scale (use a scale!) doesn’t show fractions and I find the tsp conversion is not precise enough. I also like to make 1.5x the posted recipe (which gives me 4 nice sized pizzas) and lets me use almost all of the yeast packet in one go. But as I can’t get 0.5 measurements, and until I get a micro-scale, is best that my estimates veer towards the lower end or the higher end of the yeast measurements. I’ve read elsewhere to use just enough yeast as needed and never more, so I tend to veer to the lower guesstimate range but wanted to check your thoughts? Also, how do you feel about cake yeast? Sometimes we get it out here but I’ve never tried. Just wondering if you think it’s worth the hassle vs. instant in terms of flavor.

    Apologies for the lengthy comments, but had to share as this is one great recipe. Thank you!

    – how do you feel

    Reply

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