Classic Pizza Dough
With only four ingredients - flour, salt, yeast, and water, this classic pizza dough recipe yields airy, perfectly flavored crusts that pizza dreams are made of.
Makes 4 x 250g dough balls for 12 inch pizzas, or 3 x 330g dough balls for 16 inch pizzas.
- 365g cold water
- 18g salt
- 7g instant dried yeast (or 9.2g active dried yeast, or 20g fresh yeast) - change yeast quantities depending on proving time.
- 610g flour (preferably type 00 flour), plus extra for dusting
Bring one third of the water to boil, then add it to the cold water in a bowl. This creates the correct temperature for activating yeast. Whisk the salt and yeast into the warm water.
If mixing by hand: Place the flour in a large bowl and pour the yeast mixture into it. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. Continue mixing by hand until the pizza dough comes together in a ball. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead with both hands for about 10 minutes, until it is firm and stretchy. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
If using a mixer: Fit the mixer with the dough hook and place the flour in the mixer bowl. Turn the machine on at a low speed and gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour. Once combined, leave the dough to keep mixing to at the same speed for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is firm and stretchy. Cover the dough with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
When the dough has roughly doubled in size, divide it into 3 or 4 equal pieces, depending on what size you want your pizzas to be (either 12 inches or 16 inches wide). Place each piece of dough in a separate bowl or tray, cover with cling film and leave to rise for another 30 - 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Note: It’s also possible to cold-prove your pizza dough, a technique that allows the yeast to work on the sugars in the flour for longer, thus helping the dough to develop a deeper flavor. To do this, use half the amount of yeast listed in the ingredients, and leave the dough to rise in the fridge for 24-72 hours – basically, until the day you need it. Divide the dough and cover it with cling film, then keep outside the fridge for at least 5 hours, until it is up to room temperature.
Kneading and stretching the dough: Always to start with a perfectly rounded ball of pizza dough as this helps to keep the shape of the pizza base circular during the stretching process. Place the ball on a lightly floured surface, flour your hands and use your fingertips to press the dough into a small, flat disc. Working from the center, push the dough outwards while spreading your fingers, making the disc slightly bigger. Pick up the pizza dough and gently pinch it all around the edge, allowing gravity to pull it downwards into a 12-inch (30cm) circle. Neapolitan-style pizza bases are very thin, so you should be able to see through the base when you hold it up to the light. Take care when doing this – you don’t want it to tear.
Once the pizza dough is fully stretched, lightly flour your pizza peel and lay the base on it. If at this point you see any small holes in the dough, gently pinch them back together. Once you’re happy with the base, add your toppings and bake in your pizza oven as indicated in your chosen recipe.