This homemade dough can be used to make a lot of different types of bread. Once baked, this dough comes out nicely crunchy with a chewy bite.
Whenever I used to go to pizzerias as a kid, I used to always wonder how to make pizza by hand. It looked super complicated and difficult! But making pizza dough at home is actually easier than it looks. It only takes 6 ingredients and a bit of time, and you can have your own homemade pizza crust!
I personally love using this recipe to make homemade pizza dough from scratch, but it also has plenty of different uses! This dough can be used to make anything from dinner rolls to breadsticks, all the way to artisan style bread and pita bread.
1. Lukewarm water: is the perfect temperature for the yeast to work quickly without killing it. The best temperature is 110°F, or body temperature. If you test the water with your finger, it shouldn't feel significantly colder or warmer than your hand.
Using water as your liquid also gives a chewier and crunchier finished bread. If you like a softer dough, you can substitute the water for some milk! Just keep in mind that yeast dissolves better in water than in a fatty liquid like milk. So it's still a good idea to use a bit of water just to dissolve your yeast and sugar first.
2. Granulated sugar: gives the yeast something to feed on so it'll start to produce CO2 more quickly. CO2 is what gives the dough it's air pockets and helps it rise.
3. Yeast: makes the dough rise and gives the dough its signature flavor (a hint of sour and a hint of alcohol). Yeast also makes the dough stretchy and gives it chewiness.
4. Extra-virgin olive oil: gives the dough added flavor. The oil also helps make the dough more smooth and easy to knead. And oil helps make your dough less sticky, so you don't need to add as much flour to get it to the right feel. More flour = tougher dough.
5. Flour: is the body of the dough. The gluten in the all-purpose flour traps the CO2 that the yeast produces. This combination gives you a lighter and airier dough.
6. Salt: gives the dough flavor and seasoning.
How to freeze pizza dough
Freezing pizza dough (or any yeast dough really) used to scare me like crazy! I was always worried that the freezer would kill the yeast and ruin the dough's rise. But after a lot of encouragement and a lot more research, I finally decided to try freezing this dough. And it was surprisingly successful!
The dough still raised and baked normally. The only thing I noticed was that the dough had lost a bit of its flavor, which is kind of normal when it comes to freezing food. Since this dough doesn't have any dairy or eggs, I don't feel like the flavor lost is so noticeable that it would keep me from freezing the dough again.
To freeze the dough, you should let it rise normally until doubled in size. Then, punch the air out of the dough and shape into your desired portions (I decided to just go with two balls of dough). Place each portion of dough into its own freezer plastic bag. Push the air out of the bag and seal well.
Frozen dough will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How to defrost pizza dough
There are 3 main ways I like to defrost this dough.
1. In the fridge: This method takes the longest to defrost the dough, but it's great if you want to make your dough first thing in the morning. Take the dough out of the freezer and place in the fridge overnight to defrost slowly. I also recommend placing a plate or some paper towels under the dough just in case it produces any water while defrosting.
2. On the counter: This method takes around 3 to 4 hours to defrost the dough (depending on how you portioned it out before freezing). Leave the dough out at room temperature to defrost for a few hours. Again, I like to put a plate or paper towels under the dough to catch any condensation.
3. In cool water: This is definitely the fastest way to defrost pizza dough. Before starting, make sure the plastic bag that your dough is in is sealed very well and that there aren't any holes in the bag. Place the dough in cool tap water for around 1 to 2 hours, or until defrosted. Make sure to replace the water every 30 minutes or so as well. The frozen dough can make your water colder, and if you don't change the water regularly, it may take longer to defrost.
Homemade Dough Recipe
Description: This homemade dough can be used to make a lot of different types of bread. Once baked, this dough comes out nicely crunchy with a chewy bite.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 35-40 minutes
Yield: 2 (9 inch) round pizza crusts
- 1 & ½ cups lukewarm water (about 110°F) * See notes
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 & ½ teaspoons (1 package) active dry or instant yeast ** See notes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 to 3 & ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
- 1 & ½ teaspoons salt
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, and yeast. Stir to incorporate. Let the mixture sit for about 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy and bubbly on top.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 cups of flour, and salt to the water mixture. Using a spoon or a mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed, mix together the wet and dry ingredients until a rough ball of dough starts to form.
3. If making the dough by hand, lightly flour your hands and knead the dough for about 8 minutes. To knead dough by hand, simply stretch and fold the dough onto itself. Repeat the stretching and folding until the dough is ready.
If using a mixture, increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
How to tell if dough is kneaded enough: When it's done, your dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. It should also be smooth and elastic. When you press the dough with your fingers, it should feel tacky, but you shouldn't have any of it sticking to your hands. If the dough seems too wet, knead in more flour until you get the right consistency.
4. Take your dough out of the bowl. Add your remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl. Place your dough back in and turn it over to coat all sides with the oil (to prevent the dough from drying out on top).
5. Cover the dough and let it rest and rise for about 25 to 30 minutes. The dough is ready to shape once it's just about doubled in size.
* Lukewarm water: Whenever working with yeast, it's always best to test the water with your hand or a thermometer to make sure it's a good temperature for the yeast. Yeast can die if the water is too hot and it may take longer to rise if the water is too cold. A good test is to put your finger in the water before adding your yeast. The water should be about the same temperature as your body.
** Yeast: I've made bread with both active dry and instant yeast. I find they both work fantastically. The main difference is that instant yeast tends to work faster than active dry yeast, so your dough may rise sooner than expected.
I would love to hear any tips you’d like to add to this post and how your dough turned out in the comments below!
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