What is Pizza Dough? Here’s What You Need to Know and How to Make It

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Pretty much everyone likes pizza. But when you first start making pizza at home, you can feel a little overwhelmed. 

The first question you may ask is: What is pizza dough? What is it made out of? What makes it different from regular bread dough? So many questions.

If you have any of those questions, you have come to the right place. 

In short, pizza dough is the foundation of all pizzas, the starting point of a trip to goodness. 

Pizza dough can either make or break your pizza.

But don’t worry; this article will cover everything you need to know about pizza dough, from what it is to how you make your own.

So, let’s get started!

What Is Pizza Dough?

Pizza dough is a mixture of various ingredients, including flour, water, yeast, and oil. It is usually formed in a round, square, or rectangular shape, baked in an oven, and then topped with various pizza toppings such as sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Baking the pizza dough turns this base into a fluffy, airy bread-type base called the crust.

 In Crust We Trust!

Is Pizza Dough and Pizza Crust The Same?

Pizza dough and pizza crust are as similar as bread and toast. Pizza dough is when the mixture is uncooked and becomes pizza crust after you bake it. 

You see, in many ways, pizza dough and pizza crust are technically the same things, as they contain all the same ingredients. The pizza crust was always pizza dough first, but they are in different states of the cooking process.

What Makes Pizza Dough Different?

Have you ever ordered pizza and noticed that they have several different crusts that you can choose from? 

The two most popular are thick crusts (or what we might think of as traditional crusts) and thin or crispy crusts, but there are tons of different pizza crusts that you can make or get depending on the restaurant and where you are.

What makes the different types of pizza dough different? As you may have guessed, it depends on the ingredients you put in it. 

The main two ingredients that affect the texture of your pizza dough are flour and yeast

Flour is primarily responsible for the stretchiness of the dough. You will get a chewier crust if you use flour with a higher gluten or protein content.

Yeast also affects the texture of your pizza dough. A thinner crust will use a lot less (or no) yeast. On the other hand, thicker pizza dough will need more yeast and must be given time to rise before you form it into the shape you want and bake it.

What Is Pizza Dough Made Of?

As we mentioned in the last section, there are several different types of pizza dough that you can make, but they are all made with the same handful of ingredients in slightly different ratios. 

Pizza dough is made with flour, yeast, water, salt, oil, and sugar.

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What Is the Difference Between Pizza Dough and Regular Dough?

The pizza crust is technically a type of bread, so can you use regular bread dough as pizza dough? 

Unfortunately no, the two types of dough are not interchangeable. There are lots of similarities between the two. They have similar ingredients, both need time to rise, and both need to be kneaded and stretched before being baked; however, the differences are pretty significant.

The most significant difference between pizza dough and regular is that pizza dough has a lower hydration ratio of water to flour and usually has oil added to it. The oil gives it a different texture than regular pizza dough. 

Pizza dough must also be kneaded more to give the gluten a chance to develop. 

Finally, pizza dough usually has less fat than typical bread dough.

However, other types of dough are similar to pizza dough. There are several other things (besides pizza) that you can make with pizza dough. 

For instance, you can make pot pies, cinnamon rolls, calzones, zeppoles, and monkey bread with the same dough you use for pizza.

What Is Pizza Flavor?

When people first try to make their pizza dough, a common problem that they run into is that the crust ends up tasting kind of bland.

If this is a problem you have run into, you may wonder what gives pizza dough its flavor and what you can do to make it a little more flavorful.

Most people think that salt gives the crust flavor, and they tend to add too much salt to increase or add some flavor to the crust. But what they fail to understand is that salt will kill the yeast if they come in direct contact.

So what gives the crust its flavor?

The main ingredient that gives pizza dough its flavor is yeast. 

You see, the yeast is what triggers the fermentation process. As the dough ferments and rises, the aroma and flavor of the dough develop. 

The longer you allow the dough to rest and rise after kneading it, the more time the flavor has to develop. 

Most recipes online will only tell you to let the dough rise for between an hour and a half, but in reality, it takes from 8 to 24 hours to become flavorful.

If you can, try to make your pizza dough a day or two ahead of time.

After you complete the dough and knead it, shape it into a ball, put it in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and then let it rest for some time between 12 up to 48 hours. 

If you do not have that long to wait, at least try to give your dough 8 hours between kneading and baking.

Of course, if you still want some additional flavor added to your pizza dough, you can add some pizza dough enhancers.

These dough enhancers can make the dough more flavorful and help with consistency. They facilitate the pizza-making process (and can also accelerate it if you are low on time).

What Do You Need to Make Pizza Dough?

You need two different “types” of things to make your own pizza dough at home: equipment and ingredients. 

Equipment

The equipment you need is pretty basic, and you likely have all of them already.

First, you need a food scale to measure your ingredients.

You can technically use measuring cups, but you will have much more precise measurements if you use a scale which will result in your dough having a better consistency and flavor. 

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Next, you will need something to mix the dough. Many people like to have an electric stand mixer, but your hands will work fine if you do not already have one. 

Finally, it would be best if you have a couple of mixing bowls to mix the dough in and let the dough ball rest in when you knead it.

Ingredients

Your ingredients are also pretty essential, and you may already have them in your pantry. You will need:

Of course, the amount you will need of these different ingredients depends on your recipe and how much pizza dough you are making. 

Generally, you will need a couple of cups of flour, a little less than a cup of warm water, a teaspoon or two of yeast, sugar, and salt, and a tablespoon or two of olive oil

In the next section, you will find more specific directions for making pizza dough.

How Is Pizza Dough Made?

Because there are so many different pizza dough types, we cannot give you a recipe that will cover all of them, but no matter what pizza dough you make, it will follow the same general steps, so we wanted to lay those out for you.

How to make pizza process infographic

How to Make Pizza Dough Process

1) Start by taking about half of your flour and mixing it with your yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.

2) Add oil and water to your dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.

 3) Gradually add the second half of your flour until your dough reaches a good consistency. It will still be slightly sticky, but it should be manageable with your hands.

 4) Coat a separate bowl with oil, form your pizza dough into a ball, and transfer to the oil-coated bowl. Roll the pizza dough in the bowl until all sides are coated with oil.

 5) Allow the dough to rise for at least an hour, punch it down, remove it from the bowl, and knead it.

 6) Once you knead the dough, transfer it to an oil-coated bowl. Now is when you cover the dough and let it rest in your fridge for as long as possible. At least 8 hours, but some people let it rest for up to 48 or 72 hours.

 7) Now, you can take the dough out, roll it into your desired shape, and bake it in the oven. Remember to poke holes in the center of the dough to keep it from bubbling in the oven.

The Last Slice

Well, there you have it. Everything you need to know about pizza dough to start making your own at home! 

You should now know the difference between pizza dough and bread dough, what decides the texture/consistency of your pizza dough, and (perhaps most importantly) how to make it on your own! 

Baking anything (including pizza dough) can initially feel overwhelming, but hopefully, now that you have all this information, you are ready to be the best pizza maker! We know you can do it!

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