Do you want to make pizzas at home? Then, you will surely need to learn how to make a nice active dry yeast pizza dough properly. This is one of the basics, when you talk about pizza making.
I want to stock some dough in my freezer so I can pull one out whenever I crave for some homemade pizza at any given time. I have searched online for some wonderful pizza dough recipes and I was quite amazed by the number of information I have learned. To know more, learn about the ingredients, directions, and tips below.
What You’ll Need
Active Dry Yeast
Yeast is responsible for raising your dough into a dense mass. Active dry yeast is great for pizza dough because it releases a tiny amount of glutathione, which relaxes the gluten. What I use is the active dry yeast from Red Star because it gives my dough some great leavening results.
Before you add this yeast to other ingredients, make sure that you rehydrate it first in warm water. Alternatively, you can use an instant dry yeast, but the measurement should be 25% less than that of an active dry yeast.
For instance, if the recipe calls for one tablespoon of active dry yeast, use 3/4 tablespoon of instant dry yeast instead.
You need warm water to create a yeast mixture. The temperature of the water should be 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit so the yeast can be dissolved properly. Any temperature above that will kill your yeast. For every packet (1/4-ounce) of active dry yeast, you need about 1 1/2 cups of water.
For this recipe, you need about 4 cups of all-purpose flour and set aside some more as what may be necessary. As much as possible, use the unbleached kind, just like this. As compared to its bleached counterpart, this flour is free from additives that make its color white.
Ran out of all-purpose flour? Use cake flour, but make sure that you add 2 tablespoons more for every cup of all-purpose flour needed.
You need about 1 1/2 teaspoons of table salt for this recipe. I prefer to use table salt because it offers a consistent measurement due to its fine grains. It also offers a little flavor to your pizza crust because without it, your crust will taste bland.
Alternatively, you can use kosher salt if you like, but just make sure that you use more as its crystal size varies. For one teaspoon of table salt, substitute it with 1 1/4- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.
Since the flavor and aroma of extra virgin oil disappear with high temperatures, using a cheaper olive oil may be fine. You need olive oil to drizzle the bowl before you put in the dough for rising. Two tablespoons of olive oil can also be added to the dough mix.
Equipment and Utensils
You need one small bowl to place your yeast and water mixture in. Another two large bowls are needed for the mixture of your dough ingredients and for setting the dough aside to rise.
As your dough rises up and divided into serving pieces, you will need another 2-3 bowls to give them a second rest. Alternatively, you can use a cookie tray for this process, in case you've run out of bowls in the kitchen.
A stand mixer is a great equipment for mixing your yeast mixture and the rest of the ingredients for your pizza dough with less mess. What I use is the Hamilton Beach Classic, which has a 4-quart bowl with it that I can use for the mixture of yeast and water. If you have no stand mixer at home, you can mix the ingredients with a fork and dough scraper.
To cut your dough into equal parts, you need a dough scraper. You can also use this equipment to scoop the dough right out from the board or you can even mix the ingredients with it. When it comes to choosing a great dough scraper, look for a non-slip grip and measurement markings for accurate measurements.
Wood Pastry Board
If you have no clean surface to knead your dough, you need a wood pastry board that is large enough to work on your dough properly. To clean this board, just wash it with warm, soapy water. Occasionally, apply mineral oil to restore its nice quality.
You need a fork to stir the yeast well into the warm water. Use any fork you want as long as it’s clean and in good condition. A plastic fork will be less preferred to a metal fork.
To let the dough rise, you need to wrap the dough in its container. The aim is to keep the surface of the dough from drying out.
Although you can use a damp towel, it can be a little inconvenient especially if you live in dry climates as you will need to dampen it frequently. So what I use is the Saran plastic wrap which is durable and effective in locking the moisture in.
- step 1
- STEP 2
- STEP 3
- STEP 4
- STEP 5
- STEP 6
1. Create the yeast mixture
In a small bowl, combine the one packet or 1/4-ounce of active dry yeast with 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Use the fork to stir the mixture around. To activate the yeast, leave it for around 10 minutes until the yeast is fully dissolved and becomes foamy.
2. Combine the ingredients
You can mix the ingredients using a stand mixer, dough whisker, or a fork + dough scraper. For those who use a stand mixer, check this video for reference.
Here are the steps:
- Pour the yeast mixture into the mixing bowl.
- Add 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- With a dough hook, mix on low for about 4 minutes.
- Increase the speed to medium and mix for another 4 minutes.
- If the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon of flour, or if it’s too dry, add a bit of water. Make sure that the dough pulls away from the bowl’s sides.
If you have no stand mixer at home, use a fork and a dough scraper to mix the ingredients. To get a full view of this process, watch it here
Here are the steps:
- Place the flour into the wood pastry board into a shape of a volcano.
- Create a giant well at the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
- Use a fork to mix the flour into the liquid mixture.
- As you see that the liquid mixture and flour starts to incorporate well, add the salt.
- Use the dough scraper to mix the rest of the flour into the mixture until all are blended well.
3. Knead the dough
Before you dump the mixture onto the wood board, dust it with flour to keep it from sticking. Don’t forget to flour your hands before you start to knead the dough. To get a visual reference on how this is done, watch it here.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. You can tell if your dough is ready to rise if it slowly bounces back once you nudge it with your finger. If it does, form it into a ball.
4. Let it rise
In a large bowl, drizzle some virgin oil and place the dough inside. Coat the dough with some more virgin oil or turn it over to coat it.
Get the plastic wrap and cover it over the bowl. Let it rise for about 1-1 1/2 hours in a warm place (around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
5. Divide the dough
Once risen, place the dough on the floured board. To push the air out, knead it for a minute and form into a nice ball. Get the dough scraper and cut the dough into three pieces and roll into balls again.
6. Refrigerate, freeze or use the dough
If you want to use the dough right away, let it rest in an oiled bowl and cover with a plastic wrap loosely for about 15 minutes. If you wish to use it for later, freeze each piece
To use it tomorrow, place the dough on an oiled baking sheet, cover it with a plastic wrap, and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Before you shape it into a pizza, thaw it for about 15 minutes at room temperature. To store it in the freezer for up to a month, place each dough in a freezer bag.
Tips from the Experts
Thaw the frozen dough in the refrigerator
Annie’s Eats suggests transferring your frozen dough into the refrigerator in the morning if you plan to use it for dinner. If you need to use it for lunch, do this the night before. Actually, frozen dough tastes as good as fresh ones, so it is practical to freeze the dough for future use.
Raise the dough twice
Chef Matteo Schiavone recommends raising the dough twice- first for four hours and another for 8-12 hours. If you raise your dough only once, this can make your pizza heavy. Doing it twice will make your pizza achieve that light texture, crispy crust, and chewy interior.
Make Your Own Active Dry Yeast Pizza Dough Now!
Did you have fun running through the steps of making a pizza dough? This has really made me realize my dream of becoming a pizza chef at home. Remember to use the right equipment and ingredients.
For any questions and suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. You can also share this article with your family and friends.