The #1 reason people give me for not wanting to make their own pizza dough is that it takes too much time. They aren’t wrong, it can take all day to make pizza dough if you are doing it the old fashioned way. But through my lack of patience and procrastination I have managed find a way to cut the time down to about an hour. AND most of that time is passive, read a magazine, open a bottle of wine, wait for the dough to rise kind of time.
But even the active time isn’t all that difficult. It’s like making any other dough. The main difference with pizza dough compared to, say, cookie dough is the yeast which needs to bloom, or get all puffy. It takes about 10 minutes for the yeast to fully ‘bloom’, so I just use that time to measure out all the ingredients so that once the yeast is ready I can just breeze right on through the rest of the process.
The rest of the dough recipe is pretty simple. Flour, salt, and a bit of olive oil. While I always start with the exact recipe, every once and a while I have to add a bit more flour or oil depending on whether the dough is a bit sticky or dry. I know that the dough is perfect when it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl and it forms one single ball. It may still be slightly tacky to the touch, but shouldn’t stick to your fingers, if that makes sense.
Once the dough is just right, it’s time to knead. I let the stand mixer do this step for me since I am lazy, and it takes about half as long. The dough only needs to about 5 to 10 minutes in the mixer or about 10 to 15 if you want to knead it by hand.
Now here is where the passive part comes in. I transfer the dough into a oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap so that the dough can proof. In the dead of Winter it could take hours in a cool kitchen to get the dough to double in size. Even in the Summer, it’s not a quick process. To speed things up for me, I heat up my oven to the lowest possible temperature. Once it comes up to temp, I turn the oven off. I don’t want to bake the dough, I just want it to have a warm and cozy place to hang out for a while.
Putting the dough in the oven shaves hours off. This dough doubled in size in about 40 minutes. That means that this pizza dough only took about 1 hour to make start to finish.
Of course we make pizza dough for a reason – to be topped with gooey cheese and salty meats. But before I top the crust with anything, I like to brush it with with olive oil first. This keeps the top of the crust from drying out too much. The next step is par-baking the crust. Since I don’t own a pizza oven (#lifegoals) and my oven isn’t capable of getting hot enough to properly bake a pizza, I par-bake it until it gets all bubbly and a bit crispy on the bottom.
From here, there are unlimited ways you can dress up your pizza. You can top it with the classic tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Or you can get a little crazy and top it with some ricotta, kale, and prosciutto. Baking the toppings on the crust just takes minutes, until the cheese gets melted and bubbly. Sometimes I turn on the broiler just to get a extra char on the top of the pizza.
Now you can make your very own pizza from scratch that will rival just about any pizza that will be delivered to your house. We actually made this dough into a breakfast pizza topped with sausage, kale, and an egg. It was delicious! I highly recommend pizza for breakfast!