Homemade Pizza Is Easy — Really

Homemade Three-Cheese Pizza with Fresh Basil

Homemade Three-Cheese Pizza with Fresh Basil

Dear Mark Bittman, I have to apologize for having doubted you and not believing that it really is as easy as you say it is to make your own pizza dough. For a long time I have resisted because I believed that making all doughs is difficult. But I finally broke down and tried your pizza dough recipe, and not only was it incredibly easy, but it was also the most delicious pizza I have ever made. (My husband agrees.) It was better by far than any store-bought pizza dough, even the frozen unbaked dough from the local co-op. I will never go back to store-bought now.

I am sure Mark Bittman won’t mind if I reprint his pizza dough recipe from The Minimalist Cooks Dinner because I am also going to urge you to go out and buy that book or any one of his other excellent books. Bittman really is an advocate for simple, delicious home cooking, and his recipes are all very accessible and adaptable. I did adapt the recipe just slightly to use RapidRise yeast.

Easy Food Processor Pizza Dough

Yields: enough dough to make 2 10-inch pizzas
Time to make: ~1 hour 30 minutes, mostly rising time

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 package or 2 tsp. RapidRise highly active yeast or instant yeast
  • 2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 cup hot (not boiling) water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • food processor

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in the food processor. With the metal blade inserted [updated], turn the machine on and pour the water and the oil in through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, until the dough forms a slightly sticky ball. Add up to ¼ cup more water, a little at a time, if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until the dough doubles in size, 1-2 hours. (You can also let it rise more slowly in the refrigerator, 6-8 hours.)

Form the dough into a ball and divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a round ball. If you are not using the dough right away, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it; it can be defrosted in a covered bowl or in the refrigerator. Place on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until puffed slighly, about 20 minutes. Proceed with making pizza (see below).

How you want to top your pizza is up to you. I think homemade pizza tastes better if you use a light hand with the sauce and toppings, because then the crust doesn’t get too soggy. (You can also skip the sauce altogether and make a “white” pizza.) I have been experimenting with sauces beyond just traditional pizza sauce, such as pesto and even barbecue sauce. As for toppings, I like to choose one or two cooked vegetables, some fresh herbs and a mixture of shredded cheeses. But it is your pizza, and you should put whatever you like on it.

Here is how to finish cooking the pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Oil a baking sheet or pizza sheet.
  3. Roll out the dough on the baking sheet. I have found that the easiest way to do this is by stretching and patting it with my hands, and crimping the ends to make a crust. I don’t worry too much about it being a perfect square or circle. If the dough starts to tear, let it rest for a few minutes before stretching again.
  4. Add the toppings (except for fresh herbs).
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese melts and the crust browns. If using fresh herbs, add them only for the last couple of minutes of baking time.

Of course, now that you have homemade pizza dough, you can use it for much more than just pizza. I plan to try making calzones, breadsticks, foccacia and even rolls. With dough this easy to make, there’s no reason not to always have a little on hand.

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10 thoughts on “Homemade Pizza Is Easy — Really

  1. Melissa 5 July 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I don’t usually make pizza unless I buy the dough because I have such a hard time getting it to rise. I’m not sure where I go wrong…I’ll give this one a try. The pizza looks delicious!!

  2. pam 6 July 2009 at 6:29 am

    Homemade pizza is one of my favorite foods. I always make one, and put one ball of dough in the freezer. That way with just a defrost, I can homemade pizza anytime.

  3. Shannon 6 July 2009 at 7:26 am

    Melissa–Make sure you use hot water. I think that was the key, and different than what Bittman’s recipe advised.

    Pam–That’s exactly what I did!

  4. Pat Turlington 12 July 2009 at 8:11 pm

    this looks so great. i am going to try it this week. Mom

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  10. Pranav Vishnumolakala 18 February 2012 at 6:49 pm

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