Mastering the Art of Italian Pizza Dough: Tips and Tricks

Isabella from Italian Street Kitchen explains how to master the art of Italian pizza dough.

It’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t enjoy pizza. I’ve loved this scrumptious Italian delight for as long as I can remember, and everything from the aroma to that amazing first bite still excites me to this day. A number of factors go into creating a delicious pizza, but the one that people tend to overlook the most is the dough. Although quite simple, an authentic Italian pizza dough recipe allows you to create a masterpiece. Today I’m thrilled to guide you through the tips and tricks for mastering Italian pizza dough.

Choosing the Right Flour

The foundation of any great pizza dough is the flour. For my homemade pizza dough recipe, I recommend using a combination of finely ground ’00’ flour and all-purpose flour; quality is the key here. 

flour Mastering the Art of Italian Pizza Dough: Tips and Tricks

The ‘00’ flour has a higher protein content, allowing the dough to form a stretchy gluten network that results in a crisp, yet tender crust.

The Importance of Hydration

The water content in your pizza dough is critical for achieving the right texture. I recommend a hydration level of around 65%. This means that for every 100g of flour, you should use about 65ml of water (don’t worry, I’ll include specific amounts in my recipe later in the blog). This level of hydration will create a dough that is easy to handle, holds its shape well, and bakes into a wonderfully crisp crust.

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Slow and Steady Kneading

To develop the gluten network, you should knead this easy pizza dough slowly and gently. I really love this part as it makes me feel like I’m creating something magical with my hands. You want to avoid overworking the dough, as this can make it tough and difficult to stretch. Just knead it until the dough is smooth and elastic, then allow it to rest before shaping.

Shape with Care

flourWhen shaping pizza dough, I never use a rolling pin, as this can compress the dough and eliminate the air pockets that create the light, airy crust. Your hands are the perfect instruments here, allowing you to gently stretch the dough, working from the centre outwards, until you achieve the desired thickness.

Preheat Your Oven and Pizza Stone

To mimic the high heat of a traditional Italian pizza oven, preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible. Using a pizza stone or steel will help to distribute the heat evenly and ensure a beautiful, evenly baked crust.

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Keep Toppings Light and Balanced

Resist the temptation to overload your pizza with toppings. Too many ingredients can make the pizza soggy and difficult to cook evenly, so it’s best to stick to high-quality, ingredients, and apply them sparingly to ensure a harmonious balance of flavours.

Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

Now that you know the general tips and tricks, let’s get into one of the best pizza dough recipes to make at home.

Ingredients (Makes 2 Pizzas)

  •  150 grams 00 flour
  • 150 grams all-purpose flour
  • 8 grams extra-virgin olive oil (2 teaspoons)
  • 8 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 2 grams active dry yeast (¾ teaspoon)

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Method

  • Begin by combining the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together 200ml of lukewarm tap water, yeast, and a dash of extra-virgin olive oil. Pour this liquid mixture into the flour blend and knead it with your hands until thoroughly combined, which should only take a few minutes.
  • Allow the mixture to rest for 15 minutes before kneading the rested dough for an additional three minutes. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape each into a round ball using your hands.
  • Position the dough balls on a generously floured surface and cover them with a damp cloth. Allow the dough to rest and rise at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Once the dough has risen, place each ball on a well-floured surface and gently stretch it with your fingers. Proceed to shape them into circular, flattened bases.
  • Transfer each base onto an oven tray, pan, or stone, ready for baking.
  • That’s all you need for this quick pizza dough recipe. To finish, you just add your tomato sauce, toppings, and cheese, then bake for around 12 minutes in a preheated oven at maximum.

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