How to Make Pizza Dough.
Jeff Crump from Earth to Table’s Recipe

The very first thing I ever learned to cook was pizza.  I started around grade 8 and spent the next 472 years trying to perfect it.  I’m about halfway there.

The first big breakthrough I had was a couple of years ago when I started to BBQ my pizza.  Up until then I’d tried everything from on the stove, to in the oven, to using a pizza stone.  None of those things gave me the result I was looking for.  Which was to replicate a wood oven pizza.

If I hadn’t figured out that a BBQ produces a really great pizza, I’m sure I would have built a pizza oven by now with random things from my shed.   Leftover patio stones, some plastic pots and half  a bag of solidified Miracle Grow.

Anyhow … I’m rambling.  As you may know I got the Earth to Table cookbook for Christmas and I’ve been trying out recipes since I got it.  The first recipe I had to try was pizza dough.  I’ve tried a few homemade pizza doughs in my time but none of them seemed any better than that big blob of dough you can buy in a plastic bag at the grocery store.  The faux dough.    So I’ve always used the gloppy dough from the grocery store to mixed results.  Sometimes it’s O.K., other times I roll out the dough to a 9 ” circle r and by the time I grab my sauce the dough has reverted to a 3″ circle.  And it’s smirking.

So I was pretty excited to have a promising pizza dough to try out.  Nothing gets me more excited than the possibility of coming to the end of my quest for the perfect pizza.  Except maybe a new episode of Modern Family.

So on New Year’s Eve I opened the cookbook and gave it a shot.  Sure enough the recipe was a complete and utter success.  It was perfect.  The dough was perfectly crisp on the outside and light on the inside.  (not gummy … sometimes the grocery store glop is gummy inside for some reason)  I ate so much I cursed the dough, the pizza, the cookbook, the recipe, Jeff Crump, the fella, my cats and my 3rd grade teacher.  I felt kindda sick.  Totally my fault.  (and the fault of the dough, the pizza, the cookbook, the recipe, Jeff Crump, the fella, my cats and for some reason … my 3rd grade teacher.)

After I calmed down and digested a bit I knew I had to let you all in on this recipe, so I stood on my porch and screamed at Jeff Crump.  HEY!!!!!  JEFFF!!!!!!  CAN I PUBLISH YOUR PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE???!!!!    I didn’t hear a “No.” back, so I figure, we’re good.

Recipe 3

Gather your ingredients.

Notice my local honey?  It’s my pal Russell’s honey.  No wait … it’s his Uncle’s honey.  I already ate all of Russell’s honey.

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Combine flour, yeast and salt in stand mixer.

(If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a Cuisinart or mix the ingredients in a bowl by hand with a wooden spoon)

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Add one cup of water, oil and honey.  Mix with flat beater on low speed until combined.

Remove flat beater.

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Add dough hook.

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Gradually add the remaining water (you may not need to add all of it) while continuing to mix on low speed.  When dough pulls away from sides of bowl and hangs off of hook, you’re done.

(Again … just mix by hand with wooden spoon until dough forms into ball)

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Knead dough until it’s smooth and elastic.  About 3 minutes.

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Place in a large greased bowl, turning dough so it’s greased all over.  Cover with damp towel and let rise for about an hour or until …

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it’s about doubled in size.  Ta da.

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You can either divide the dough in half for 2 normal sized pizzas, or you can divide into 4 for individual sized pizzas.

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Work each ball of dough by pulling down the sides and tucking them under the bottom a few times.

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See all that stretched gluten?  That’s what you’re lookin’ for.

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Roll the dough under the palm of your hand until smooth.

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It should be soft and smooth and perfect feeling.  If you’ve fallen in love with your ball of dough, you’ve done it right.

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They will be 4 little things of beauty.  That need to be protected.

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At this point you can either freeze your dough, refrigerate it for use the next day or GET READY TO MAKE PIZZA RIGHT NOW!!!

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If you plan on making pizza right away, then cover the dough up with a damp towel for 15 – 20 minutes and let it rest.

Once you’ve done that, you can roll it out and make your pizza.

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 printable recipe

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I BBQ my pizza all the time now.  I bought a couple of non stick pans for the job.  They’re just circular pans with holes all over the bottom to allow the bottom to crisp up.  You can read my entire post on BBQ pizza here (it’s kind of a love story not unlike Pioneer Woman’s Marlboro Man story, only there’s more swearing and a monster involved) or I can give you the quick version.

Preheat your BBQ to HOT.  As hot as possible.  500 degrees at least.  Make your pizzas on their pans and then put them on the BBQ.  Close the lid immediately and turn the burners down to medium or medium low so you don’t burn the crusts.  Leave them for 8 – 11 minutes depending on how hot your BBQ gets.  Remove the pizzas and then stick them under your broiler for a few minutes to get a bit of crisping on the pepperoni and some browning on the cheese.

A flavour the fella gets when we go to Jeff’s restaurant “Earth to Table, Bread Bar” is bacon, scallions and goat’s cheese pizza.  It’s DELICIOUS.  Just not as delicious as a classic pepperoni, which is always my choice.  (when I make it at home I add fresh basil leaves after it’s removed from the oven)

So, the quest for the perfect pizza is almost complete. I have the sauce, the dough and the method.  The only thing remaining?

I am now on a quest, for the perfect pizza cheese.  I expect it will take me approximately 3 years, 4 mental breakdowns, 7 bottles of sedatives and quite possibly a black eye.

Wish me luck.

p.s.  I would like to thank Jeff Crump who kindly gave me permission (for reals) to publish his pizza dough recipe.

 

 

130 Comments

  1. Missnicoleo says:

    Its been longer than 3 years, and maybe more than 4 mental breakdowns, so did I ,is the perfect pizza cheese???

  2. Jerrica says:

    I tried this recipe and I liked it the best of all the ones I tried! Thank you for posting it. I am going to keep practicing with this recipe — I loved the crust and it was very forgiving. I actually made mine in my food processor with the dough attachment. Thanks again Karen. XO

    • Karen says:

      Phew. You’re welcome! 🙂 It has a lot to do with technique as well. How you stretch the dough out for instance. If you like you can add more water to make a looser dough for a thinner crust. Now that you have a good base you can practice. ~ karen!

  3. Cath says:

    This is an old post with a lot of replies which I am not prepared to read through. So, I’m wondering if you ever found local run it. I bought my run at in the store in Elmira. Can’t remember the name of it but it was manned (or womaned) by the local Mennonites. They had other supplies for making cheese. Not to mention, they had some pretty awesome cheeses to purchase. And as we all now it’s always worth a drive to Elmira. I’m hoping to try this ASAP as the only pizza dough I usually use is from that large grocery chain that starts with the letter F.

  4. Andrea says:

    Finally made this. Rolled it veeery thin, which was part of the charm, and made personal pizzas to celebrate Pi Day with my sons. So delicious! am going to quadruple the recipe and have loads of it in the freezer from now on — super easy, very popular weeknight dinner. Thanks, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome Andrea. Funny story. 2 nights ago I thought .. I’m gonna make pizza with store bought dough just to see how it is. It’s probably just fine, dough is dough. It wasn’t fine. Dough is not just dough, lol. If you’d like an even better dough and you have the time to experiment, let your pizza dough sit in the fridge for 3-4 days before using it. This is slow fermenting it. As soon as you’re done mixing and kneading it initially you put it in the fridge and it goes through a slowwwwwww rise for those 3-4 days. You get better taste, better texture and better leoparding on the crust. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • Andrea says:

        I’ve tried that Whole Grain Artisan Bread in Five Minutes recipe, which is a variant on what you suggest here — somehow I always screw up the lid part of things. Lid on tight? Dough doesn’t get air, gets too moist, general ick. Lid on loose? Dough airs out, doesn’t rise right, doesn’t quite ferment. I live in the New Mexico desert, so maybe it’s too arid here to play with fridging dough? But I made this dough again tonight — doubled it for a dinner party — and we all pretty much ate our weight in pizza. This recipe is a keeper. Yours from the depths of carbohydrate coma…

  5. Bobbie says:

    Hi Karen~
    When I was a kid (in the 50’s) in NJ, pizza was called “tomato pies”. Sauce wasn’t used, but tomatoes, and these are what I use on my own homemade pizza. I can my own tomatoes (nothing sadder than opening a can of store bought tomatoes!), let them stand in a colander to drain, and spread on the dough. The cheese was so stretchy, and if you weren’t careful, burnt the roof of your mouth, but oh so yummy!! Today’s store bought cheese doesn’t compare, so I WILL TRY to make my own. Thanks for this dough recipe, along with your special blend of humor ;-0!

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome Bobbie! I’ve tried using just San Marzano tomatoes on my pizza and for some reason I wasn’t in love with it. I’ll try it again this summer when I have a few ripe ones though because I really want to love it, lol. Look for “pizza” cheese. It has a different fat and moisture content than regular mozzarella and has the stretchy, gooey, pull you’re looking for. Plus it can withstand cooking so it doesn’t go all rubbery and hard when baked at high temperatures. ~ karen!

  6. Pablo says:

    Great recipe. Thanks! Where did you get the book stand?

    • Karen says:

      Oh, it was my boyfriend’s mothers and she originally got it from a craft fair in the 70’s or 80’s! It’d be easy enough to make though. ~ karen!

  7. Irina says:

    Hi, have lost count as to how many times I’ve made this dough. It’s super easy and turns out perfect every time. The kids love the pizza that we make with it.
    Sunny regards from London.
    Irina xx

    • Karen says:

      I’m glad you like it Irina! If you want a thinner, crispier crust you can just add a bit more water to the dough. Just to mix things up a bit. 🙂 ~ karen!

  8. Brittney says:

    Can you use active dry yeast instead of instant active? It’s all I have:/

    • Karen says:

      HI Brittney. You can absolutely use regular yeast. Just add some to warm water like you normally would with yeast and instead of adding the yeast in with the dry ingredients, add it in with the wet. (if you mix the yeast with 1/4 cup of water, then use 1/4 less of water than the recipe calls for). ~ karen!

  9. James S says:

    Still trying to figure out the perfect cheese combos….mozzarella + ??

  10. Bee-Naz says:

    Okay, I’m ashamed to admit that I FINALLY tried this recipe for the first time tonight. It had been sitting on my “things to get to one day” list for way too long.
    So. My first time making pizza dough and as much as I loved it I found it a bit chewy. It was crisp on the outside and not doughy but light on the inside. Just had a chew to it. So I was hoping someone could tell me, did I screw something up? I don’t have a stand mixer so put the bf to work mixing with a wooden spoon. Did he get over zealous and mix too much? Tips appreciated. We’ll most certainly be trying if again! Thanks Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hey! It sounds like you maybe just need to make the crust thinner. You can also try adding a bit more water to the dough to make it a bit “looser” next time. One or both of those things should do the trick. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • Bee-Naz says:

        Well, I got around to making pizza again – who am I kidding?! I could eat it every day!! – and added a bit more water for excellent results. Thanks Karen!

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