How to Make Pizza Dough

This Neapolitan-style dough is made using a no-knead method.

Thinkstock - Magone

This Neapolitan-style dough is made using a no-knead method.

Want a slice of your favorite pie for dinner? First, you will need the perfect pizza dough recipe. There are three major camps when it comes to pizza dough styles; From thick chewy crusts to thin crisped flat breads, the pizza dough recipe you choose can make or break pizza night.

Click here for the 15 Better-Than-Takeout Pizza Recipes slideshow.

Luckily, this guide will send you down the path to pizza perfection providing you with all the pizza know-how you need to make pizza dough from scratch. First, pick your dough style: Neapolitan, New York-style, or Sicilian-Style doughs.

Neapolitan Pizza

This is a Neapolitan-style pizza.

Neapolitan pizza is simple and uses few ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast. It requires a scorching hot oven heated to an excess of 900 degrees F to create that characteristic charred crust. For tender yet chewy crust, choose high protein flour like double-zero flour, which is finely ground. For that deep, almost sour-dough taste leave the dough must undergo a long fermentation process so that the starches breakdown into sugar.

Make this dough by sprinkling 2 ½ teaspoons dry active yeast on ¼ cup warm water. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. Then, combine 5 ½ cups “OO” flour with 1 ¾ cup warm water, the water/yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons of salt. Combine, form a ball and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave the dough in the fridge for at least three days, and up to five. This process is called cold fermentation. When you are ready to make pizza just remove the dough from the fridge and shape the pizza.

New York-style Pizza

This is a New York-style pizza.

New York-style doughs include the addition of oil and sugar. This allows them to cook for the full 12 to 15 minutes without drying out. Bread flour is ideal for this crust. To make this style pizza dough, combine 1 cup warm water, 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast, ½ tablespoon sugar, and 1 ½ cup bread flour. Stir the ingredients to combine and let sit for about 20 minutes. Then, add another 1 ½ cup bread flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Combine to form the dough. Then knead for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface. Finally, place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, rub the dough with a teaspoon or two of olive oil, place a kitchen towel over top, and place in a warm spot to rise for two hours or until doubled in size. Then shape the dough according to your pizza recipe.

Sicilian-style Pizza

This is a Sicilian-style pizza.

If you prefer Sicilian-style pizza, this deep dish-style dough is simple to make and requires absolutely no rolling or shaping. For this dough you can use either all-purpose or bread flour. Using a stand mixer, whisk together 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 ½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Slowly add about 1 ½ tablespoons of water, mixing to ensure all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add additional water if necessary a tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough is elastic, smooth, and shiny, about 6 minutes. Coat a 13 by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with a little less than ½ cup of olive oil. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and rub olive oil on the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to spread out and cover the baking sheet, about 2 hours. Your dough is now shaped and ready for toppings.

Now you are equipped to tackle whatever style pizza you desire to make at your next pizza night or dinner party. 

The accompanying slideshow is provided by special contributor, Emily Jacobs.

Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.