How to make pizza dough – AKA The Pizza Dough Algorithm

I have been laboring for the last few years to build the perfect pizza dough at home.  Through countless trials and tribulations I arrived upon a volume based recipe that I defined in my Pizza Dough Recipe post.  When I got my new mixer, however, I decided to upgrade the recipe to a weight based approach – true baker style – and keep it as simple as possible.  That, roughly, is the following:

  • W = Weight of flour in grams – 1kg is the best base. Split 60 / 40% between all purpose white and whole wheat flour;
  • W * .6 = Weight of water in grams, also volume of water in milliliters. Got to love the metric system. 600ml base.
  • W * .02 = Weight of salt in grams. 20 grams base.
  • W * .07 = Weight of olive oil in grams. 70 grams base, 63ml by volume.

Measure out the ingredients by weight, putting them into a bowl, onto a scale with a tare (zero) functionality.  Zero out the scale with the bowl on it and then, as you add in ingredients to the bowl, zero things out as you go.  A kilo of flour makes about four medium size pizzas.

Keep the water separate and put a package of dry yeast in the water with two tsps of sugar.  Water should be 105 degrees.  Give the sugar and yeast a few minutes to bloom, wake-up and generally start to party.

Mix and need the dough.  Don’t do this by hand.  It’s a pain in the ass and you won’t get the dough to have the right texture.  Use a stand mixer.  (If you don’t have a stand mixer buy a KitchenAid.  Yeah, they are expensive, but you will be happy you have one and they will last you twenty years.)  Set the mixer to four on a scale of one to ten, pour in the water slowly and let it all mix and knead for 12 minutes.

Take the mixer bowl off the mixer, cover it with a towel and give the dough two hours to rise, ideally in a oven with a proof setting (or an oven set to 100).  Punch the dough down and then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and to rise for another few hours.  If you have a short time frame to make your pizza, two hours or so, you can let it rise at room temperature.  For longer – and longer is better – let it rise in the refrigerator for 18 or 24 hours.

Cooking the pizza dough is a ‘nother deal entirely – I will work on transcribing my notes from that later.


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