Growing up, I was blessed with two amazing Italian grandmas, Josephine and Nanina, the namesakes of this site. My grandmas made practically everything homemade. If it could be grown in a garden, it was on the table for dinner.

At my grandma Josephine’s (Josie to you), we never ordered pizza. Why order pizza when you could make homemade pizza dough to a classic white pizza with ricotta?

Plus, making pizza at home is communal (a great activity for the kids especially) and less expensive. Win!

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An Italian pizza love story

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza on a wooden peel with honey glaze next to it in a white bowl

Grandma Jo (as her sisters called her) used to make a sheet pan pizza like the kind you’ll find in Rome. Her pizza was the stuff of memories. I can still taste it.

She made the pizza in a huge sheet pan that my grandpa Dominic made at the steel mill where he worked. The pan fit the whole width and depth of her oven and that pizza fed our pretty large family. 

Girls —pay attention. Now that’s love.

The best pizza dough recipe

pizza dough on walnut board with bench scraper

This pizza dough:

  • Makes a chewy homemade pizza
  • Makes two 12”-14” crusts
  • Can be doubled as needed
  • Is easy to make ahead of time and freeze
  • Works for thin crust, deep dish, calzones or any pizza-like recipe

Essential pizza-making tools

Here’s everything you’ll need to make pizza dough at home:

Large mixing bowls. One of my favorite kitchen tools from my days working at Williams-Sonoma is this 10 piece set of glass mixing bowls. Great for rising pizza dough. (Talk about a great bridal or wedding gift too!)

Pizza peel. When it comes to pizza peels, one is great and 2 is better, especially when making multiple pizzas like you will for breakfast pizza. I use both this wooden pizza peel (similar to the one linked) and this Epicurean pizza peel in tandem. So good!

Stone or steel. I use these Emile Henry ceramic pizza stones and they help make the BEST crispy pizza crust ever! You preheat them at 500˚ for 20 minutes or so and pop your pizza on them using a peel. Crispy pizza (even in the center) in 10 minutes!

Pizza cutter. I have a Cutco pizza cutter that is a gem but also love these long rocker pizza cutters that come in different versions.

“00” flour. While “00” flour isn’t necessarily a tool, it makes the best homemade pizza dough. This post on homemade ravioli dough shares more info on “00” flour.

Nice to have

Stand mixer. A stand mixer is a pizza maker’s dream helping with mixing and kneading leaving you time to work on the toppings. My 7qt. KitchenAid Mixer is my go-to but I’m also a fan of any size!

Best type of flour for homemade pizza dough

stainless cup of flour on walnut board with white bowl of flour in background

For this recipe, we are using bread flour which has a higher gluten content resulting in a “fluffier dough.” 

You can use all-purpose flour with excellent results if that’s all you have. Pizza crust with AP flour works too and is especially great if you’re making a thin crust.

Classic pizza dough: step by step instructions

Following are instructions for making this in a stand mixer; however, if you don’t have one, you’re not off the hook! You are going to put those gorgeous muscles of yours to work!

(Directions for hand mixing and kneading are in the recipe below.)

1. Proof or prepare yeast

glass measuring cup of foamy yeast and water next to mixer.
1. Active dry yeast: Proof in 105-110˚ water until foamy about 10 minutes.
Instant yeast mixed in flour for homemade pizza dough in black bowl with wooden spoon
2. Instant yeast: Mix into flour until combined

How to proof yeast

Proofing yeast can be one of the most intimidating parts of making homemade bread doughs. And I think the “what ifs” are the reason most home cooks don’t do it. As in what if…”the yeast doesn’t foam” or the dough doesn’t rise”?

FIRST

  • Use active dry yeast or instant yeast – just not rapid rise.
  • Always buy an extra pack or two of yeast (or in bulk and store in the freezer).
  • Check the expiration date on your yeast packet.

NEXT

  • For active dry yeast (image 1):
    • Run your tap water until it’s warm to the touch.
    • Take a thermometer you trust and place the tip under the running water until the temperature reaches approximately 110˚. 
    • Fill your measuring cup to the desired amount.
    • Add your sweetener which feeds the yeast.
    • Wait approximately 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy on top. If it doesn’t foam, either the yeast is dead or your water was too hot.
  • For instant yeast (image 2): I use Saf-Instant Yeast which can be mixed directly in the dry ingredients (but not in contact with the salt) as shown in image #2 above.

2. Mix the dough

stand mixer with dough hook with bowl of pizza dough ingredients.
You can use a stand mixer with a paddle and then a dough hook to mix pizza dough.
white bowl with pizza dough in it and a bench scraper next to it.
Place smooth ball of dough in a clean bowl to rise.

With a stand mixer:

  • On low, mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of the mixer
  • Add the yeast mixture to the flour. 
  • Using a paddle, mix the yeast until the dough comes together. 
  • Use a dough hook to knead the dough for two minutes until a smooth ball is formed. 
  • Place dough in a bowl brushed with olive oil and cover with a clean cloth to rise.

By hand:

Add water to the flour and yeast mixture in a bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. It’ll be shaggy. Follow rising directions.

See, wasn’t that easy?

3. Rising time and tips

white bowl of pizza dough on walnut board with white towel
Risen bubbly pizza dough ready for shaping
two halves of pizza dough on walnut board with wooden bowl of flour.
Divide the dough into two pieces.
  • Allow the pizza dough to rise for approximately 2 hours until bubbly.
  • Remove the dough to a floured baking sheet and cut into 2 pieces.
  • If it’s chillier than normal in your room, place the bowl in an unheated oven for the dough to rise.

4. How to stretch and shape pizza dough

By hand – no need to become an expert, but first take the dough and press it into a circle on a floured board while turning the dough in a circle at the same time. Once it is about 6” in diameter, pick up the dough.

By rolling pin – Rolling pizza dough is more than acceptable, especially if you’re making a thin crust pizza. Use a wooden rolling pin (I recommend one without handles for more control) and make sure to roll consistently from the inside out shifting the rolling pin counterclockwise as you work your way around the edges of the circle.

5. Baking homemade pizza

a pizza on a wooden pizza peel with a marble trivet next to it
Use this simple pizza dough to make a cast iron skillet pizza.

With a pizza stone: Preheat the stone for about 20 minutes in a 500˚ oven. Slide the topped pizza on the stone using a pizza peel and bake for 10 minutes until crispy and bubbly in the center.

Only have a baking sheet? Pre-bake the pizza crust on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes for the crust to crisp up on the bottom and prevents undercooking from too many heavy toppings.

Make ahead suggestions

  • You can make this pizza dough recipe a day ahead.
  • If you don’t plan on using it within a day, then wrap in plastic wrap followed by foil and freeze. Defrost completely in the fridge before resting on the counter for an hour or more before shaping.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


pizza dough on a floured walnut board with a scraper, a white and black towel and olive oil bottle.
4.84 from 6 votes

Homemade Pizza Dough

An easy homemade pizza dough recipe that answers all the questions like how to make, shape and freeze pizza dough. Makes the perfect pizza crust as a base for homemade pizza sauce sprinkled with your favorite pizza toppings. Gather the family for Friday night pizza night!
Prep Time:15 minutes
Rise Time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2 pizza crusts (10-12″ each)

Ingredients
 

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast, equal to 1 packet* ; I've used Saf-Instant yeast per the directions with success
  • 1 ¾ cup water, 110˚ degrees; *see below regarding a traditional Neapolitan pizza dough
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ½ – ¾ cup bread flour, divided, can substitute all-purpose flour*
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

Stand Mixer Instructions

  • Fill a glass measuring cup with 110˚ water using a reliable thermometer to check the water's temperature.
  • Add the sugar to the water and sprinkle the yeast in. Gently stir the yeast.
  • Allow the yeast to rise for 10 minutes until foamy and happy.
  • Starting with 3 ½ cups of flour, combine the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Reserve the additional flour on the side.
  • Add yeast mixture along with the olive oil to the bowl and using the mixing paddle, mix on low until incorporated and the dough starts to come together. Add an additional 1/4 cup of flour if the dough is too wet until the dough comes together to make a shaggy ball. Don't be worried – it won't be perfectly smooth.
  • Remove the paddle attachment and add the dough hook. Mix the dough on medium for two minutes until the dough is smooth. If it's still not coming together, add the remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the hook from the mixer and place the dough into a bowl drizzled with olive oil.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set the bowl in a warm dry place to rise for 1 hour.

Hand Mixing Instructions

  • Follow Steps 1-4 above.
  • Flour a clean wooden board or counter (you can use the remaining flour if you haven't used it yet). Turn the dough out onto a board and knead by pushing the dough away with the palm of your hand and turning it clockwise a quarter of a turn each time.
  • Continue kneading until the dough is soft and smooth for about two minutes. Play or sing your favorite song while you knead.
  • Place the dough in a mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set the bowl in a warm dry place to rise for 1 hour.

Shaping the Pizza

  • Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces**
  • On a floured board, using either a rolling pin or your hands, press the dough into a circle, rotating the disk as you work your way from the middle out. When it's about 6-8" in diameter, pick up the dough and rest it on your knuckles and slowly stretch the dough working your way in a circle. Here is an easy tutorial on how to stretch pizza dough.
  • Once the pizza is in your desired shape, place on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel and top with your favorite sauce recipe and toppings
  • To cook the pizza using a stone: preheat a baking stone to 500° for 20 minutes. Slide the dough onto the stone and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Check out our Cast Iron Skillet Pizza recipe for another awesome way to make pizza.

Notes

* Don’t use fast-rising yeast. Also, use the additional flour as needed. The dough is on the wet side but feel free to add the extra if the weather is affecting your dough and you feel you need it.
*For a more authentic Neapolitan pizza dough: use 1 1/3 cup water (315 grams) and 3 3/4 cup of flour (450 grams) with the rest of the ingredients the same per the recipe card.
**Freezing Instructions
  • If only making one pizza, save the other for another time by spraying a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and wrapping it up. Place in a labeled ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the fridge to come to room temperature on the counter for at least an hour before rolling to make a pizza
MORE TIPS
  • Only have a baking sheet? Then pre-bake the pizza crust. Pre-baking for about 5 minutes allows the crust to crisp up on the bottom and prevents undercooking from too many heavy toppings.
  • Dough keep springing back? Let it rest for another 20 minutes or so at room temperature. It should have relaxed enough to be able to be spread out to the size you want.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!
4.84 from 6 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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15 Comments

  1. Hi,
    My family loved your pizza crust recipe!!! The only issue I seemed to have was, I found it almost impossible to transfer the pizza to the stone. The dough would only bunch up. It wouldn’t slide off no matter how much flour I had underneath it. Please help. Because I will be making pizza at home from now on. No more take out pizza!!!4 stars

    1. Hi Matthew! Thank you so much and so glad you liked it! Did you try cornmeal? I find cornmeal is best as it works almost like little beads underneath the dough that it can glide right over to the stone. I agree flour can be less predictable and a lot also depends on how warm your kitchen is temp-wise and how many toppings I’ve piled on the pie. One more thought – what did you use to transfer the pizza? I find a pizza peel super helpful. Having that handle helps shimmy the dough to the stone. I so appreciate your taking the time to comment!!

  2. We just got a pizza stone for our grill and I wanted to make my own pizza dough. I am so glad I came across your post. All your tips and tricks had me feeling very confident about this venture. It turned out perfect. Thank you!!5 stars

    1. Hi Ann – I use instant yeast all the time…it’s the fast acting yeast (a finer, smaller granulated type of instant yeast) that I don’t recommend as it doesn’t work as well in a recipe that requires a longer rise time. I clarified it in the post in case it was confusing. Thanks for the question!

  3. This is my first attempt at making pizza from scratch. Your step by step instructions were perfect. I did have to add extra flour until it reached the right consistency. Came out perfect. Froze the other half.

  4. This is 100% hydration, way too wet. I’ve made hundreds of batches of dough, and can’t see how this works. 3.33 cups flour (400g) to 1 cup water (240g) is more like it. 60% hydration.

    1. Hi Mark- it is a wetter dough for sure which may or may not be to your liking -give it a try! I’m definitely going to play around with the percentages per your suggestion as I know a Neopolitan pizza is traditionally at 60% hydration. I learned from and watched my Italian grandmas (one from Naples actually!) make dough from memory and for them it was all about feel and the science was never a consideration. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  5. I recently made dough and added some extra pow with Italian dried herbs and crushed red pepper into the dough mixture. Huge hit! I also oiled the hot stone for a more crispier crust. Try it. Let me know what you think!! Your recipes are amazing!!!