Perfect Pizza Dough

Perfect Pizza Dough

Pizza dough can be tricky but with a little bit of practice you can make better pizza than your local shop any time you'd like and for much less money. Checkout the most perfect pizza dough recipe ever after the jump.

16 oz all-purpose flour
1/4 cu Spent Grain Flour (optional for extra body)
10 oz warm water
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs chili oil
1 tbs dried active dried yeast
1 tbs kosher salt

Combine the dry ingredients well then add the oils and water. Using a spoon stir until the dough has clumped and absorbed most of the loose flour then remove it to a working surface. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, without adding flour being careful to not let the dough stick to the surface. The dough will try to stick but if you are careful it shouldn't. Always knead in one direction, stretch and not squeezing the dough. Fold over on itself and pull. There are plenty of videos on how to do this on YouTube (just don't add flour like she does). It should look about like this when you're done. You will also want to check to see if you got a good 'weave' of gluten by taking a small piece of dough, working it into a disk (like a pizza) and holding it up to the light, you should see a nice latticework of fibers that indicate you've done enough kneading.

Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until at least doubled in size (1 to 4 hours, depending on the temperature & humidity). Once the dough has risen, remove it and gently knead out the air on a very lightly floured surface. I like to make two pizzas and a small amount of bread sticks with this so I separate out two 10 oz dough balls and the remainder, which is around 5 oz.

Form the dough back into a solid ball and tighten the outer skin by rolling the ball around between your two open palms and the board. Let them rise under a towel, undisturbed, until doubled in size.

Time to stretch it out! Take a dough ball and flatten it with your knuckles into a disk, then use your palms to flatten it out more. Try to keep a slightly thicker lip around the outside of the dough. Begin to stretch the dough by gently pulling on one side and holding the rest of the disk flat with the palm of your hand and the board. Rotate and do this again, trying to keep the disk shape. Once it is big enough, pick it up and put it on top of your closed fists, knuckles facing up and stretch it. If you're comfortable this is when you would throw and spin the pizza. Try just a little at a time or continue to stretch by spreading your knuckles apart, pulling and turning. Again, there are lots of videos about this online, I may add one eventually.

Once your pizza is about 14 inches in diameter, place it on a floured board or peel, making sure it won't stick when you need to shake it onto the pizza stone (buy one or buy a large clay tile, otherwise your pizza will struggle to crisp up properly).

Top the pizza, remembering not to add too much stuff or it will ruin it and put it in the oven at 500 F or higher (if your oven can manage that).

Good luck, this is not the easiest thing to make on your first try. It has taken me years of working with dough to be confident about it, so keep practicing! The worst thing that can happen is you have extra pizza to eat!

Pro Tip: A slightly burnt crust is not a bad thing!