Ever since my post about the bread bowl pasta hit the web, I have been receiving emails left and right regarding a basic pizza dough crust.  I made the bread bowl pasta out of sour dough pizza crust as that is what I had in the refrigerator.  Dumb me, not realizing that people would go out of their way to recreate the pasta bowl as I had originally made it.  Sourdough crust takes a long time.  I have tried many pizza dough recipes in my time.  The best that I have found is the one from the Joy of Cooking, page 752.

Not too thin, not too thick, perfect...
Not too thin, not too thick, perfect...

Like I said above, I have tried a ton of pizza dough recipes and this one always seems to taste the best.  Pizza dough is simple and should not contain a ton of ingredients.  I also believe that pizza dough should not be sweet but without sugars you loose the carmelization.  This recipe can include a optional tablespoon of sugar but I always leave it out.

Basic Pizza Dough – (From Joy of Cooking, page 752)

  • 1 package of active dry yeast – if you buy jars of yeast this is approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (105-115 degrees) – body temp is 98 so put your finger under the tap and when it starts to feel warm you are at the right temp.
  • 3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour – I find that if you use high gluten bread flour it comes out better
  • 2 tbs olive oil – standard works, no need to waste the extra virgin on baking
  • 1 tbs salt – (as always kosher of fine sea salt)
  • 1 tbs of sugar

Place the yeast, water and sugar in the bowl of your mixer and let it sit for 5 minutes or until it is nice and bubbly.

Add the salt and oil and then mix.  Then slowly add the flour to the mixture 1 cup at a time. Mix by hand or on low speed in your mixer for a minute or until the flour is incorporated. The amount of flour required to make a dough ball that is not too sticky will vary with temperature and humidity.  Mine took a little more than 3.5 cups.   Once you have a good dough ball, place it on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  If you have a mixer with a dough hook place it on medium speed for 10 minutes.

Using a dough hook takes all of the work out of pizza
Using a dough hook takes all of the work out of pizza

Next I place the dough on a floured surface and leave it covered with a cotton towel or a tea towel for an hour or so.  Basically until the dough doubled in size.  Then divide the dough into two separate dough balls.  If you only wish to make one pizza place the extra dough ball in the refrigerator.

Beautiful Dough
Beautiful Dough

To form the pizzas, place the dough on a well floured surface and slowly work the dough into a flat disk.  If you use a rolling pin you will end up with a flat pizza.  If you like big crusts then work the edges out by hand.  You can even through the dough up and spin it in the air to get a nice round shape.  The dough will make two 12inch pizzas, but I used it to make two 18in thin crust pizzas.

I busted my pizza peel making homemade tortillas last week so I am stuck making pizza on a pan insteak of on my pizza stone.
I busted my pizza peel making homemade tortillas last week so I am stuck making pizza on a pan insteak of on my pizza stone.

To cook the pizza preheat the oven to 475 and place the pizza on a pizza pan or on a preheated pizza stone for 10-16 minutes.

When fully cooked, the crust should be slightly golden the the cheese should be melted.  If you add some sugar to the dough you will get a browner crust, but then you also get the sweetness.  It is a fine line and I will let you experiment based on your own personal preference.

The cheese is golden and the pepperoni are glistening.  The perfect pie!!!
The cheese is golden and the pepperoni are glistening. The perfect pie!!!

Overall the recipe came out great.  There might be a few tweaks that I would make to make the crust a bit more chewy.  I would definitely use bread flour.  I might add a bit of honey just for browning purposes.  I find that honey adds the sugars to carmelize without adding too much sugary flavor.  I would give this crust a 4 out of 5.  Enjoy….

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


  1. The purpose of adding sugar when making doughs for breads and pizza is to assist in activating the yeast (in order for your dough to rise). It is not added for the purpose of flavour. And shouldn't make a large impact on the flavour of the dough. So perhaps you should reconsider adding it to your dough? 🙂

  2. My kids basically made their own pizza with their own toppings. So easy & so good. I may never buy pizza to-go again.

    One question : The pizza had some oil glistening over it when I removed it from the oven. We had to blot some of it off. Where does that oil come from? The only oil I added was that 2 tbs in the dough.

  3. Cheryl S. – Did you happen to have pepperoni to the pizza. Some brands have a high fat content and add a oily layer to the top of the pizza. Also, if you add too much sauce to the pizza you may get a bit of a sheen on the pizza. My big tip for pizza is to add toppings in moderation. More is not always better. Hope that helps.


  4. Ahh…yes. I did add pepperoni. Didn’t think of that. I’ll take it easier next time. Thanks.

  5. Followed directions but 1 tbs salt was way too much! Guessing you meant 1 tsp? :-/

  6. This is a marvelous pizza dough recipe. I have done this so many times & even substituted a 1/2 cup oat flour in the dough. We have stopped ordering pizza delivery. Many friends have asked for this recipe.

    • I forgot to add that I don't have a bread mixer so I actually do this by hand. Still great & the dough is so much better than store bought. 1 tbs salt is too much. I eye-ball the salt amount & add 2 tsp sugar to the yeast during fermentation. Then I add the yeast to the dough & mix with hand like crazy.

  7. I don't see where to add the salt and olive oil in this recipe. I'm guessing you add it in before you start incorporating the flour? I'll check some other sites just to double check.

    • You were right, I totally forgot to add that and you add it before you start incorporating the flour. I added it to the recipe above.

  8. OldProBaker Reply

    Add a half teaspoon of baking powder to help add lift and make a nicer crust. Use butter instead of olive oil, tastes better.

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