There’s no denying that pizza is one of our favorite foods; in fact, the USDA reports that in America alone, one in eight people eats pizza on any given day. The reason we’re crazy for piping hot slices of pie should be clear — pizza is downright delicious.
Ask anyone about his or her favorite pizza and we’re willing to bet that, while many will mention the toppings and some people will mention the sauce, almost every single person polled with have something to say about the crust. In the words of Craig Whitson and Tore Gjesteland, authors of Passion for Pizza: A Journey Through Thick and Thin to Find the Pizza Elite, “good ingredients on a poorly made crust do not a great pizza make.” Luckily, excellent pizza dough is easy to make from scratch.mixing, kneading, shaping, and proofing the perfect pizza crust does take time and planning. Regardless of the style of pizza dough you’re making (deep-dish, Neapolitan, New York, Sicilian, etc.), you’ll want to plan ahead. Though pizza dough can be made and used the same day, it benefits from being made a day or two in advance; this gives the dough time to develop a more complex flavor and a better texture. Even if you’re making pizza dough and using it the same day, it can be several hours from the time you mix the dough until it’s ready to bake, so be sure to read your recipe in advance and plan accordingly.
Not only is fresh pizza dough simple to make from scratch, but the ingredients are easily accessible — all you need for a basic pizza dough is flour, salt, yeast, and water. Though you have a number of options when it comes to flour and salt, the most basic versions (all-purpose flour and either sea salt or table salt) make a really great pizza crust. Once you have the basic technique down, feel free to experiment with different types of flour and salt and create your own custom pizza crust.
Ready to mix up a batch of your own? Here are seven simple steps you’ll need to follow:
Activate the Yeast
Whether you’re using fresh or dried yeast, it must be active before you add it to the dough. Recipes that call for dried yeast will have you mix the yeast into a warm (but not hot) liquid before adding it to the dough, while recipes that call for fresh yeast will typically instruct you to mix it with a small amount of flour and water before adding it.
Mix the Dough
Once your yeast is active, add it to the other dough ingredients. If you have a stand mixer, you can combine your ingredients with a dough hook. If not, make a well in the center of your dry ingredients (like flour) and pour the wet ingredients (water and yeast) into the well before mixing by hand.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.