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How to Make Pizza Crust

Every great pizza starts with a great crust. Packaged dough is convenient in a pinch, but to get that crispy, chewy texture that’s the hallmark of a great pizza, you’ll want to make the dough from scratch. Have no fear—from-scratch pizza crust requires only a few pantry staples, a few minutes of kneading (no stand mixer needed), and time to rise.

Since working with yeast can be intimidating, especially for non-bakers, Julie Grasser, Pampered Chef’s Culinary Research and Development Chef, created a simple Homemade Pizza Dough that’s the perfect foundation for all pizzas, including our White Pizza.

Julie walks us through how to make an easy pizza crust. Once you see how easy it is, every night might be pizza night.

Pizza Crust Ingredients

In addition to salt and sugar, here are the other four ingredients you need.

  • Flour: Nothing fancy here—just all-purpose flour.
  • Yeast: To make working with yeast simpler, Julie uses instant yeast, also called rapid-rise yeast, instead of active dry yeast. Unlike active dry yeast, instant yeast doesn’t need to be dissolved in water first; it can be mixed right into the dry ingredients.
  • Water: When using instant yeast, the water you add should be between 120-130°F/49–55°C). You can use hot tap water, but to get an accurate temperature, Julie recommends using a thermometer to check the temperature. If the water is 140°F/60°C or higher, all types of yeast will die and the dough won’t rise.
  • Oil: Julie prefers olive oil because it has a more distinctive flavor than vegetable oil. Oil is important in dough because it makes it tender and keeps the moisture from the toppings from making the crust soggy.

Let the Dough Rise

This is what makes the crust light and airy. After kneading the mixed ingredients until a smooth, firm ball forms, place in a large bowl that has been brushed with olive oil, then brush some more olive oil on the top of the dough. You can cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise until it’s double in size, about an hour or two. You can cut this step in half with the Quick Cooker; it takes just an hour to rise on the PROOF setting.

How to Stretch Dough

When ready to make your pizza, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten with your hands, starting at the center and working outwards. The dough will be soft and easy to maneuver. Julie says you can use a rolling pin, but that might flatten some of the bubbles, which is what makes it airy. Keep turning and stretching until the dough becomes a 12″ (30-cm) circle. Then, fold the dough in half, twice.

Use a Pizza Peel and Pizza Stone

Pizza crust gets even crispier when cooked on a preheated stone. Our pizza stone (those purchased after Sept. 1, 2020) can be preheated in a 450°F (230°C) for up to 30 minutes. To easily transfer food on and off a preheated stone, use a pizza peel, like the pros do, for less mess and safe hands. Instead of dusting the peel with flour, Julie recommends using cornmeal. Flour sticks to the bottom of the crust but doesn’t bake in, so doesn’t always taste good. Place the folded dough on the peel, unfold, add your toppings, and transfer onto the preheated stone. Cook until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted, about 12­–15 minutes. If you don’t have a pizza stone that can be preheated, add a few minutes to the overall cook time.

Freezing & Thawing Dough

You can make a double batch so you’re ready for the next pizza night. After it rises, tightly wrap and freeze it (it will deflate). You can thaw it overnight in the fridge or let it sit on the counter until it’s room temperature, at least an hour. Then it’s ready to go.

Pizza Crust in a Hurry

If it’s pizza night and there’s just not enough time to let dough rise, Julie recommends making our 5-Minute Dough. There’s no yeast, so no rising (a little less airy) but a great option. 

We want to see your homemade pizzas! Share in the comments below or on social media using #howipamperedchef.

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