Look What I Made: Pizza Dough Recipe

Homemade pizza (photos by Travis Awalt)

People are impressed when you can make something from scratch that they’re accustomed only to ordering. Most people who even consider making something like pizza dough from scratch, think it’s a complicated process.

And it is. Very. If you’re confused by throwing a bunch of stuff in a food processor, hitting a button and then walking away and waiting*, this may not be the recipe for you, and, in fact, recipes may not be for you. Stop wasting your time.

What follows a pretty basic dough pizza formula, so it’s easily adaptable (I’ve done wheat and oat flour variations). Learn it, tailor it to your taste, and brag to your friends about how much smarter you are**. They’ll be impressed, possibly to the point that they will kinda hate you.  But you can make pizza and they can’t.

Pizza envy after the jump

Pizza Dough
(makes about 3 pies)

2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup water (maybe mless)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 packet of rapid rise yeast (1/8oz)
tsp salt
corn meal for dusting

Special equipment:
pizza stone or a large, unglazed tile
Pizza peel or a large, wooden cutting board


1. Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
2. With the blade running, slowly incorporate the olive oil and water. The mixture will eventually come together into a shaggy ball that seems to ride the top of the blade. Takes about 30 seconds, all told.
3. Remove dough to a bowl covered with a towel and allow to rise at room temperature until more than double its original size. You can also let it rise in a freezer bag in the fridge overnight.

Dough ball and its sequel: dough ball rises

4. Preheat oven, with pizza stone in it, to 500 degrees. You want the pizza stone exposed to full heat for at least an hour.
5. After dough has risen, punch it down and knead the dough by hand for a couple of minutes, then divide the dough ball into  2 or 3 equal portions, freezing whatever you’re not going to use now (stays good frozen for several months).

6. With a rolling pin (or with an empty wine bottle, if you’re as classy as me), press one of the dough balls down and roll it to the thickness you like (I prefer a thinner crust, so I roll it 14″ or so), rolling the perimeter of the pie flat for a neapolitan style crust (see pic below) or leaving it a little thicker than the rest, for a more pizzeria style crust (see pic above).

7. Dust a pizza peel or wooden cutting board with corn meal. This helps the pie slide onto the stone cleanly, so that you don’t end up with a calzone instead. Transfer the dough to the pizza peel, and, with a fork, lightly pierce the top all over (this will prevent the middle from puffing up like the outer crust), to about where the toppings will end.

Ready for the oven…

8. Top pie with sauce and quickly transfer to pizza stone in preheated oven. Bake about 4 minutes, then top with cheese and/or additional toppings and bake another 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and browning. I usually brush the outer crust with a little additional olive oil after cooking, with gives it some nice additional color/tastes delicious.

Super thin crust version

*and maybe playing some Sega Genesis.
**you’ll just have to live with being a liar.


  • Erin Ahlfinger

    I made one from a similar recipe last week and it rose more than I had expected in the oven. It was crunchy on the bottom and pillowy on top, which made for a nice contrast, but I do prefer a thinner crust. Lesson learned: roll it out until you think it’s a little too thin.

  • travis awalt

    @erin ahlfinger I’ve done the same thing before, that’s a good tip for anybody that prefers a thinner crust. You can also pierce the perimeter with a fork to avoid over-puffage.

  • Check out a book called American Pie by Peter Reinhart. Best book for home pizzamakers!