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Pizza Classica Dough at Home

  • Author: Chef Leo Spizzirri


This recipe size will provide enough dough for 4 individual pizzas (9” – 10”) or 2 pan pizzas (9”x13”size). The recipe recommends letting your dough rest overnight before using.





Bakers %


Flour (King Arthur All Purpose)



4 cups




1 ¼ cups

Yeast (Instant Dry)



1 tsp




4 tsp

Salt (Fine Sea Salt)



2 ¼ tspSugar




2 tsp


  1. Add the room temperature water to your mixing bowl.  
  2. Sprinkle your instant dry yeast on top of the water. You are not “blooming” the yeast as you would do with active dry.  You are just giving the yeast a chance to slowly dissolve in the water.  With instant yeast, you could even mix the yeast directly into the flour.  
  3. Add the granulated sugar into the bowl.  Using your hands or a spoon, mix the water, yeast and sugar together until they are fully dissolved.  This should happen quickly.  Remember, you are not looking for the yeast to foam up. 
  4. Add about half of the flour to the bowl.  Using your hands in the shape of a claw, mix the flour into the liquid.  You are trying to create a kind of batter which will help to separate the yeast from the salt that you will add later. 
  5. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the bowl.  Continue mixing with your hand until you no longer see streaks of oil. 
  6. Add the fine sea salt to the bowl.  Continue mixing with your hand until you no longer see salt on the surface of the dough. 
  7. Add half of the remaining flour into the bowl.  Continue mixing with your hand and the dough will get thicker and thicker. Use your finger or a dough scraper to scrape the side of the bowl and loosen any flour that is sticking. 
  8. Then add in the remaining flour and keep mixing until there is no loose flour in the mixing bowl.  The entire process up to this point should only be about 7 or 8 minutes.  
  9. Put the dough on your work surface and knead for about 2 minutes.  Use the palms of your hand to push the dough forward and your fingers to pull it back.  (Check out the video for the technique.) 
  10. After kneading, the surface is starting to get smoother, but you are not done yet.  The dough needs to rest first.  Put your dough back into the mixing bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for about 15 minutes. 
  11. After resting, return the dough to your work surface.  Continue kneading for 2 to 3 more minutes. 
  12. Now it is time to divide the dough.  If you started with the base “4-cup of flour” recipe and are making 4 individual pizzas and following the recipe, divide the dough in half and then divide again in half. This will give you four doughballs.  As you grow in your pizza making skills, it is very helpful to weigh the doughballs to make sure they are a consistent size.  This will help with both topping and baking the pizza.  If you are making a double or triple batch, then it’s a good idea to weigh out the doughballs to a consistent size.
  13. If you are making pan pizzas, divide the dough in half one time to get two larger doughballs.  It’s a good idea to learn the weight of the dough that works best for your pan and the thickness of the pizza you want.  For a 9×13 pan, 400 grams will give you a think pizza.  If you like it a little thicker, increase to 500 or even 600 grams.
  14. Now you want to form smooth doughballs.  If you are making a pan pizza, form the dough into something more oval rather than round.  This will make it easier to press the dough into a pan.  (Check out the video for the technique.) 
  15. Get containers that are close to the size and shape of the dough balls.  (Use a rectangular or oval container if your dough will be baked in a pan.)  Put the dough in the container and very lightly coat the dough with oil.  Then put the lid on and seal tightly.  You don’t want air to get in the container. 
  16. Put your dough in the refrigerator for at least 12-16 hours and preferably 24 hours.  
  17. When you are ready to use the dough, remove from your refrigerator from 90-120 minutes before you need to start stretching.  Remember to always keep the dough covered.  You want the dough to be at room temperature before you use it. 
  18. And one last tip… It’s a great idea to keep track of what you did in making this recipe in a notebook, including any steps that did not go as planned.  When you make the recipe the next time, you can make small adjustments until you make this recipe your own.  It’s a good idea to only change one thing at a time so that you can see the impact of your changes. 

Good luck and if you post your pizzas on social media, please tag me #AskChefLeo so I can see your work!  Ciao amici!


  • Large bowl
  • Bench scraper or knife
  • Bowl scraper (optional) 
  • Containers with lids 


Flour:  Try to use a flour that contains some malted barley as this will help with browning.  Since home ovens typically only go to 500-550 degrees F, sometimes it is hard to get that nice brown crust.    You can tell if a bag of flour contains malted barley from the packaging (see below).    Adding a small amount of sugar also helps with browning.  The amount small enough that it won’t affect the taste of the dough.  Another tip is to use non-diastatic malt which can be purchased from baking supply companies. 

Water:  If you have good city water, you can use it directly from the tap.  However, if your water is too hard or too soft, or has too much chlorine, it can affect your dough.  In that case, it is best to use bottled water. 

Measuring out your ingredients:  I strongly recommend that you weigh your ingredients in grams and not use volumetric measures.  This will help you be more consistent in your dough making and will enable you to more easily adjust the recipe to make changes.