When our parents moved into a new house in Cincinnati, our Uncle Greg bought us the absolute best housewarming gift — a pizza stone! While pizza stones aren't necessary for making homemade pizza, they help produce a crispier, golden crust, and the pizza is less likely to burn. The pizza stone + this foolproof pizza dough recipe = a ridiculous amount of homemade pizza in our future.
To keep the bottom of the crust from puffing up too much as we baked it, Maddie made the pizza dough the night before. We chose to make a traditional cheese pizza, using a simple homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. The crust is the true star here—the perfect balance of chewy and crispy. Because it was our first time shaping pizza dough, we had a bit of a struggle making it into a perfect circle. But it tasted wonderful nonetheless.
This recipe requires some time, but the majority of it is hands off. If you want, make enough dough to freeze some for later.
Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes 2 13-inch pizzas
- 3 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 1/3 cups ice water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoons table salt
Process the flour, sugar, and yeast in a food processor until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add the water through the feed tube and process until the dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.
Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms a sticky ball that clears the sides of the processor, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from processor and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute.
Shape the dough into a tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
An hour before you’re ready to bake the pizza, adjust oven rack to the second highest position. Set your pizza stone on the rack and heat oven to 500°F.* Remove dough from fridge and divide in half. Shape each half into a smooth ball and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet 3 inches apart. Loosely cover the sheet with plastic wrap coated with nonstick spray and let stand for an hour.
Coat 1 ball of dough with flour and place on a well-floured countertop. Using your fingertips, flatten the ball into an 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than the center. Now, using your hands, gently stretch the disk into a 12-inch round, working along the edges and giving the disk quarter turns as you stretch. Make sure your dough is well-floured, or else it will end up sticking to the pizza stone.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured peel (or cutting board if you don’t have a peel) and stretch into a 13-inch round. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread 1/2 cup of your favorite tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella (or cheeses of your choice).
Slide the pizza carefully onto your pizza stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through. Repeat with second ball of dough.
*If you don’t have a pizza stone, Cook’s Illustrated recommends baking the pizzas on an overturned and preheated rimmed baking sheet.
Recipe courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated.
maddie and grace