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Pizza Dough

Serves: Makes 2 (12-inch) pizzas or 4 (8-inch) pizzas


  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) warm water (110° to 115°F)
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, or 1¾ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) water
  • 3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
  • 3¼ cups (16¼ ounces) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Semolina or cornmeal


Pizza is a hands-down favorite anytime, anywhere. And while you can get good pizza when eating out, truly great pizza is much easier to find at home, mostly because you can top it exactly the way you want. This dough is a good starting point for your creations and can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours or frozen for up to 1 month. If you like lots of toppings, roll the crust a bit thicker so it can support their weight and moisture. If you like a thin crust, keep your toppings spare and packed with flavor. To help the dough slide onto the pizza stone, dust your pizza peel with semolina. If you don’t have semolina, cornmeal will work, but it burns more quickly.

Mix, rest, and knead the dough: Pour the warm water into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the yeast, whisk by hand to blend, and allow the mixture to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and looks creamy. Add the 1 cup water and the 3 tablespoons olive oil and whisk by hand to blend. Add the flour and salt. Knead the dough on low speed for 2 minutes, or until it comes together in a cohesive mass. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp, lint-free cotton towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes to allow it to fully hydrate before further kneading. Turn the mixer to medium-low and continue to knead until the dough is firm, elastic, and smooth, 3 to 6 minutes.

Rise the dough: Lightly oil the tub or bowl, scrape the dough into the tub, and lightly coat the surface of the dough with a little oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

Prepare the oven: Place the baking or pizza stone in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Be sure to allow 30 minutes to 1 hour for the stone to fully heat.

Divide and shape the dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press down on the dough firmly to expel some of the air bubbles, but don’t knead the dough again or it will be too springy and difficult to shape. Divide the dough in half (or quarters if making smaller individual pizzas). At this point, you can refrigerate or freeze all or some of the dough.

Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour, then press down with your fingers (or use a rolling pin) to flatten the dough into a disk about 12 inches in diameter. Alternatively, slip your hands, knuckles up, under the dough and lift it up, then gently stretch the dough by pulling your fists apart. Rotate the dough a little each time you pull so the dough is stretched into an even circle. Brush any excess flour from the surface and underside of the dough.

Top the pizza: Dust the pizza peel with semolina and set the dough round in the center of the peel. Apply the toppings of your choice, leaving a ½-inch border at the edges. The toppings should be in a fairly thin layer, otherwise they will weigh down the dough and make it soggy.

Bake the pizza: Shake the peel or sheet forward and back to make sure the pizza is loose enough to slide. If it’s stuck, use a spatula to lift up the dough and toss a bit of semolina underneath. Once the pizza moves freely, gently shake the peel or sheet until the pizza is at the very front edge. Open the oven door and set the front edge of the peel at the back of the baking stone. With a quick jerk, remove the peel and allow the pizza to settle on the stone. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until the dough is golden brown at the edges and across the bottom. Slip the peel under the pizza to remove it from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Brush the edge of the pizza with the 1 tablespoon olive oil to give the golden crust a beautiful shine. Use a pizza cutter or chef’s knife to cut the pizza into 8 wedges and serve immediately.

by Sur La Table & Andrews McMeel Publishing, The Art & Soul of Baking

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