In my opinion, this is a hall of fame Master Pizza Dough Recipe. Peter Reinhart is the pizza king with a long trail of accolades and this recipe comes from his most recent book Perfect Pan Pizza. It's a white dough that lends itself to hand pies or pan pies: Roman, Sicilian, Detroit, Grandma, and Focaccia. It's light and fluffy, crispy on the edges and the bottom but like a cloud in the middle. I've used this dough in many applications - the focaccia is heaven and Detroit Style is a favorite.
I want to give you a few tips about the dough and include some pictures, recipe links, and a demo video below!
You can make this pizza dough:
I worked with pizza dough A LOT and I'm here to tell you, great pizza dough isn't a mystery. It's incorporating five simple ingredients into a blob of wet dough, stretching it a few times, popping it into a bowl, and allowing it to rest overnight. It transforms into a light and airy dough crispy on the outside and creamy and fluffy in the middle. That's the beauty of it!
Here's the video - just a quick little demo but it will show you how easy it is. AND, it makes that amazing pizza just below.
You'll need five ingredients:
Flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil. Peter Reinhart has suggestions on each, and I've tried different variations of his recipe. My personal experience is noted below:
- Flour: This recipe can be flexible with what type of flour you have on hand. I prefer a 00 (double zero) flour if it's available, but bread flour and for sure all-purpose flour will work great.
- Salt: I like kosher salt with this one. If you're using table salt, cut back the measurement by a pinch or two. Table salt tastes saltier than kosher salt.
- Yeast: I've experimented with the yeast on this recipe using a rapid rise, instant, active, and fresh baker's yeast. I'd recommend an 'instant' or an 'active' yeast - the kind in the little sachet packets.
- Water: water temperature is on the cooler side, not cold.
- Olive oil: I prefer a lighter, fruitier olive oil, but if you like a more full-bodied and robust oil, then, by all means, use that.
This pizza dough is what we call a 'wet' dough.
All that means is there's a lot of water in it as compared to the flour. The result is an incredibly crisp crust and a light and fluffy interior. A high hydration dough feels a little weird to work with at first, but once you know what to expect and see the results, you'll see the benefits of high hydration over a drier dough mix. I demo it for you in a video below!
High hydration doughs need time. We're essentially swapping out the 'kneading' step with a 'time' step where you don't have to give it any attention at all other than saving it a space in the refrigerator. It will ferment overnight and will become a soft pillowy ball of dough.
On to the pizza pies! What will this master pizza dough make?
I'll make a round pie with this dough by simply flattening out a ball of pizza dough, topping it, and baking it straight on a pizza steel. The edges will rise and give you that fantastic airy interior. I have a favorite White Pizza with an herb oil version here. In the summer, we'll grill this pizza instead of baking it. SO GOOD.
You can make Focaccia with this dough: Dimple it up!
Tuscan Focaccia is an absolute favorite application with this dough. This Italian bread with deep roots in Tuscany uses the same ingredients of flour, water, salt, and olive oil, along with the long rest. Allowing the dough to rest in the baking sheet and rise, then squashing it with dimpled fingers for that classic cratered surface. Typically, a Tuscan Focaccia can have toppings of salt, rosemary, tomatoes, olives, onion, and even potato. I have a favorite combination of green olive and red onion.
Funny enough, a pan pizza called Detroit Style Pizza also uses the same ingredients and method of overnight rest and rising in the pan. It's crispy on the bottom and light and airy in the middle. You can find all the details here - I think you'll love The Red Stripe.
Flatbread pizza is my go-to when I need something super fast and easy. I'll flatten the dough in whatever shape it decides it wants to be, creating a pretty thin crust, so it bakes quickly. I'll top it with just a few simple but delicious ingredients and slice it into small squares that are easy to pick up with one hand. A little flatbread nibble in one hand and my drink in the other. Perfect!
New on the blog!
What if you don't have the time?
If you're looking for a faster pizza dough recipe that is ready in 1 to 2 hours, I'm publishing one next week. It does use a traditional mix and knead method, which will come in handy when you're really pinched for time. I'll be sure to update this with a link as soon as it's up.
Quick links for related recipes:
- A KitchenAid mixer is convenient but not entirely necessary. I mix this in a large bowl by hand all the time. If you're mixing by hand, it will take 5 minutes of squishing, allowing the dough to rest 5 minutes, then squishing and mixing for another five.
- If you want that super crisp bottom crust, you'll need a pizza steel. A pizza steel or baking stone, pizza stone, or ceramic baking tiles will be your best friend when making pizza at home. My steel just lives in my oven full-time on the bottom rack. It helps regulate oven temperature for other baking, as well. And I use it for pies and tarts, and it's incredible for roasting veggies. It's legitimately one of my favorite kitchen tools to be used for more than just pizza.
Below is a link to a pizza steel that I use:Artisan Steel - High Performance Pizza Steel Made in the USA - 16" x 14.25" (.25" Thick)
Check out Peter Reinhart. Buy his books, visit his site. Do what he tells you to do and he'll help you up your pizza game with not only this dough but all his recipes and techniques.
This recipe makes around 900 - 1000g of dough, enough for 3 10" pizzas or a few 9 x 13 pan pies. In his book, Peter lists 10 different pan sizes and dough weights for easy reference, along with all the pan and prep instructions to make authentic pies.
Master Recipe White Flour Pizza Dough
- 4½ cups flour (567 g) recommended bread flour, or can use all-purpose, or 00 chef's flour
- 1¾ tsp kosher salt (11 g)
- 1¼ tsp instant yeast (4 g)
- 2 cups cool water (454 g)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil (42 g) divided
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the first 3 ingredients. Add water; mix on slow speed for 30 seconds or until a coarse, shaggy dough forms. Add 2 Tbsp oil. Increase speed to medium; mix 30–60 seconds to make a wet, coarse, sticky dough (it may seem too wet at this stage). Let rest 5 minutes to fully hydrate.
- Increase mixer speed to medium-high; mix 30–60 seconds or until smooth and sticky (dough should be soft, supple, and sticky to the touch, and offer little resistance when pressed with a wet finger).
- On a clean work surface, use 1 tsp oil to create a 15-inch diameter slick. Rub some oil on a plastic bowl scraper and your hands; use a scraper to transfer the dough to a work surface. Flatten dough. Lift one end, folding it toward the center; left opposite end to flip it over the folded end. Fold in the 2 wide ends in the same manner to make the dough a loose ball. Flip dough so it is smooth side up. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rest 5 minutes. Repeat the process three more times. By the fourth time, the dough will become much smoother and gluten will be fully developed. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 12–72 hours