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Homemade Pizza Dough That Won’t Fail

I had a dinner party disaster a few weeks ago when my gorgeous mini pizzas were completely ruined by store-bought dough. Is there an easy and delicious pizza dough recipe you can share, and even better, one that doesn’t require yeast and lots of time and attention?

You already know what I’m going to tell you, but it’s the cold, hard truth (well… ok, in this situation, it’s the warm, soft truth): yeast is a fact of life when it comes to pizza dough.

You can make a flatbread imitation to get around it, but if you want to be authentic, you’re going to have to deal with the gassy little buggers every time.

Luckily, I am in possession of a fantastic recipe that requires only 15 minutes of active duty and is a wonderfully simple introduction to the world of yeasted doughs.

Photo: Casey Barber

Beer is the thing that makes this pizza dough foolproof—think of it as a rocket booster for the yeast, providing a nice food feast for them to munch on and do their magical burpy thing.

Just make sure your beer is at room temperature, not straight from the fridge, when you add it to the bowl.

Yeast needs warmth, sugar, and moisture to make the magic happen, and a cold beer is going to freeze the little guys right in their tracks.

pan pizza with cheese and pepperoni
Photo: Casey Barber

And while I’m normally a fan of instant yeast for most of my dough-making needs, in this case, I’m using 1 package of active dry yeast.

It’s pre-portioned and it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the recipe for home bakers who might otherwise be intimidated by this project.

(Which you shouldn’t be! This one’s a confidence-builder!)

Pizza dough is also a great excuse to use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer.

It’s meant to be soft and pliant, not rich and eggy like pasta dough, so it’ll remain a little sticky as it rises.

garlic knot calzones
Photo: Casey Barber

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix the ingredients together in a large bowl and knead by hand on a well-floured work surface.

Your dough will likely be a bit crispy-crunchier instead of chewy, since you’ll need to add more flour to keep everything from sticking all over the place as you knead, but it’s pizza.

People are still gonna eat it no matter what.

Homemade pizza dough

Pizza Dough

Yield: 4 14-inch round pizzas or 2 slab pizzas
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Homemade pizza dough comes together in just over an hour for crispy, crunchy, Italian goodness. Use the stand mixer or knead by hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water about (105-110 degrees F)
  • 4 cups (17 ounces; 480 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup room-temperature beer
  • vegetable oil or baking spray

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let rest for 5 minutes until the yeast has bloomed and the water is cloudy.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  3. Stir with a fork or whisk a few times to incorporate.
  4. Pour the bloomed yeast and the beer over the flour. 
  5. Knead on medium-low for about 5 minutes. The dough will go from a shaggy and messy pile to a cohesive ball. When it's ready, the dough will be smooth, but still very soft and sticky.

If you'll be letting the dough rise overnight:

  1. Add a splash of vegetable oil (about 1 tablespoon) to a 1-gallon zip-top bag, or spray the inside of the bag with baking spray. 
  2. Add the dough and seal the bag. 
  3. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. 
  4. Bring the dough to room temperature before shaping and baking.

If you'll be making pizza the same day you make the dough:

  1. Grease a large bowl with vegetable oil or spritz with baking spray. 
  2. Place the dough in the bowl and toss to coat. 
  3. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours, until it has just about doubled in size.
  4. If you're not baking it all right away, divide the dough into 2 to 4 pieces. You can freeze the dough in quart-size zip-top bags as noted above in the overnight rise section. 
  5. Thaw in the refrigerator at least 8 hours before you want to bake the dough, and let it come to room temperature before shaping and baking.

Your pizza dough is now ready to use as you please! 

  1. You can either grill the pizza or bake it in the oven.
  2. If oven-baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Place a large baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well.
  3. If you're not doing deep-dish, line a separate unrimmed baking sheet or a pizza peel with a piece of parchment paper.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the pizza dough into 2-4 pieces, depending on how many people you're feeding. 
  5. Shape the pieces into rounds, squares, or rectangles--your call!--then transfer to the parchment paper. (You can use a rolling pin! I totally do!)
  6. Top with your choice of sauce and toppings.
  7. With oven mitts, remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven and carefully slide the pizza on its parchment onto the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is crispy and golden brown. 
  9. Slice and serve.

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This post was originally published on October 8, 2009 and has been updated with a new recipe on September 27, 2016.

FTC Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Good. Food. Stories. receives a minuscule commission on all purchases made through Amazon links in our posts.

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3 Comments

  1. Just made the dough and it’s rising nicely. Looking forward to pizza night with the family! Thanks, Casey!!

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