Pizza Dough

A note: I recently edited this recipe to make it a little easier to follow and added some handy tips. The story below refers to my first pregnancy and postpartum period, back in 2015. The recipe, however, is timeless and remains excellent.

I haven't spent a lot of time going into the details of my pregnancy here. That's mostly because this is a food blog and I have always been very much on the fence about making it a "lifestyle" blog, so I didn't really see a place for most of those details on these pages. Of course, since having a child [cue Greek chorus] really does change everything, our new family dynamic has really highlighted the many intersections of food and lifestyle, some of which feel a lot like clashes at first.

In fact, I confess there were a few months where - along with all the pre-worrying about what kind of parent I'd be - I truly began to wonder if I'd come back to the blog. My tastes changed SO MUCH during that time, I could count on one hand the familiar foods I still felt like eating. My hormones and tastebuds teamed up to fully convince me that my tastes had changed forever. It was over, this romance with food. The spell was broken and from here on out I'd just eat takeout and boxed stuff. Pretty depressing.

Oddly enough, the one food I still felt joy in cooking and eating was also based on a recipe that I reformulated while pregnant. YES YOU GUESSED IT BIG SURPRISE IT'S PIZZA. This dough also saved my sanity in the early baby days. Something about the rhythmic kneading of the soft dough, or the fact that though it’s not an entire meal, it’s the foundation for one, and I could throw the dough together during one nap and portion it out during another. This dough was the first postpartum kitchen accomplishment I’d achieved and I’ll always love for that reason, among many others.


  • The recipe makes 6 balls of dough, which - GAME CHANGER - can be frozen individually until you need them. Thaw on the counter for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight. Make a batch and eat like royalty every Friday for a month or more.

  • I roll ours out to about a 14" diameter, which yields a thin but very sturdy crust, and it feeds 2 hungry people. It's lovely with a salad on the side (oh my gosh please complete the pizzeria realness with this vinaigrette, you’ll die of happiness), but I'm also not judging if you just crush this solo one night, as I have.

  • As with any homemade pizza, if you’re using a peel and a stone or steel, layer that peel with plenty of flour or cornmeal to ensure maximum slide. The last thing you want is to be fighting with a sticky, dressed pizza in front of a blazing oven. If you give your dough a little shimmy on the peel, it’s a good test to see where or whether you need a bit more flour or cornmeal in some spots.

  • This is truly the only way I make pizza dough now, but I fully acknowledge the privilege in being able to find specialty Italian flours a) near me and b) for a very reasonable price. (I live in a very tame suburb, it’s not NYC out here; there just happen to be a lot of Italians.) Semolina rimacinata is a specialty double-milled semolina flour and along with the 00, yields a softer, smoother dough. But! This recipe will work with practically anything you’ve got: all 00, all AP, AP + semolina in varying proportions, etc.

Pizza Dough

Makes 6 thin, crispy 14-inch pizzas

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 cups 00 or AP flour

  • 2 cups semolina flour (semolina rimacinata if you can find it)

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (use 1 tablespoon if using fine sea salt)

If you are using the dough right away, preheat the oven to 500F.  Place an oven rack at the lowest level, then put a pizza stone (if using) on the rack.

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and sugar. Whisk in the water and set aside for about 10 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in the olive oil.

In a large bowl, combine the 00, semolina, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and begin to combine with a wooden spoon. You’ll likely want to finish mixing with your hands, kneading any excess flour into the dough.

Once everything is as combined as you can get it, dump it onto a clean countertop dusted with flour. With your hands, finish working in the rest of the flour if needed, and knead for about 5 minutes.

Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let it rise for at least an hour, or until the dough has about doubled in size.

Remove the towel, make a fist, and press the dough down slowly with your fist. Turn the dough back out onto your workspace, which you should dust again with flour. I like to knead it very lightly again here to regain some smoothness. Divide the dough into six equal balls, using a scale if you like.

If you’re using the dough right away, roll out the dough to your liking and top as desired. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine hits perfection at 7 or 8 minutes. Do put a timer on this - the time goes very fast and it's easy to forget (and burn!).

If you’re freezing the dough, place each ball in a small, freezer-safe container or small ziplock bag. If you’re using plastic bags, I’d recommend storing the bagged dough balls in one larger, thicker plastic bag to avoid freezer burn. (You can reuse the big one very easily.) I have little reusable 8-ounce deli containers for this because I’m a storage/packaging nerd and avoiding single-use plastic is my quiet obsession.

The frozen dough will keep for several months.

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