Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

Here you can find out how to make the authentic Italian pizza dough recipe. The most classic, common and perfect to make at home in a few hours.

The pizza dough is a basic recipe typical of Italian cuisine. A leavened dough made with flour, water, yeast, oil and salt.

Authentic Italian pizza dough must rise for about 4 hours. So you can arrange to prepare it during the day and enjoy it in the evening with the toppings you prefer.

This recipe is essential for making pizzas of all flavors and shapes at home. From homemade round pizza, to Grandma’s classic rectangular pizza. All the way to the Neapolitan pizza with a cornicione. Or the crispy, thin Roman pizza.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

You can make an authentic Italian pizza dough, just like the one in the pizzeria. Soft and flavorful, but at the same time light and digestible.

Follow this Authentic Italian Pizza dough Recipe with all the secrets and tips step by step: the choice of ingredients, how to knead the dough, how to make the folds, what are the rising and resting times, baking and in the end freezing and storing.

And finally you will be able to easily make artful authentic Italian pizza at home that is no match for that made by professional pizzaioli!

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

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Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 min + about 4 hours of leavening
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Servings: 2

Italian Pizza Dough Ingredients

Doses for one round baking pan of 36 cm (14 inch) in diameter. That’s about 450 g (1 Pound) of pizza dough.


Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe ingredients 600x900 12

Kitchen Tools and Equipment

To make Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe you need some bowls of different sizes to knead the ingredients. Take a look to this 7-piece mixing bowl set.

This is if you want to knead them by hand. If you prefer to use a kneading machine instead, try this Stainless Steel Dough Maker. It’s interesting, although we prefer the grandmas’ ancient method: kneading by hand.

In any case, you can always mix with a simple mixer machine such as KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

Then you will need a pizza pan. It can be a round pizza pan, like the one we used in this recipe, or a rectangular one. The sizes we recommend here are right for the ingredients amounts in this recipe (for about 450 g /1 pound of pizza dough).

Pay attention to baking, if you want to make a great pizza. In fact, pizza must bake at very high temperatures. Just think that Neapolitan pizza cooks in only 2 to 3 minutes in a wood-fired oven. It reach temperatures up to 450°C (842°F)! Obviously, traditional ovens at home do not reach these temperatures. At most they reach 250°C (482°F). That’s why the oven and the baking method are so important.

Have a look at this Electric Large Capacity Oven by KoolMore. Utilizing fan-assisted heat distribution this wall mounted convection oven helps cook food more evenly on the top, bottom, and throughout to improve food taste, quality, and overall cooking speed.

How to Make Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 1

Step 1) – In a large bowl mix 1/2 the flour and the yeast. Then add the water a little at a time. Mix thoroughly with a spoon to combine all the ingredients.

Water temperature is key to the success of pizza dough

In general, follow this rule: if it’s winter, the water should be warm. If it’s summer, the water should be cooler. In short, the water temperature depends on the room temperature.

So for example, if you have a room temperature of 20°C (68°F), the water must be 15°C (59°F). On the other hand, if you have a room temperature of 25°C (68°F), the water should be 5°C (41°F).

For more informations read carefully the paragraph at the end of the recipe “Water Temperature. The 55 Rule”.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 2

Step 2) – Now add the oil and mix well. Then add the remaining flour. Add it a little at a time and stir for 4-5 minutes, while continuing to use the spoon. Finally add the salt and mix.

We take this opportunity to tell you that in order for the dough to rise well, it’s very important that the yeast does not come in direct contact with the salt. That is why we added yeast at the beginning and salt at the end.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe: The Leavening

The First Leavening

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 3

Step 3) – When the dough no longer sticks to the bowl, place it on your work surface dusted with flour.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 4

Step 4) – Knead 1 to 2 minutes with your hands. Then make a smooth, floured ball.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 5

Step 5) – Place the pizza dough back into the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap. Then place a kitchen towel over it. Let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.

The Four Folds

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 6

Step 6) – After the first leavening, it’s time to give the dough some strength. This way the gluten mesh can withstand the pressure resulting from the next leavening, which will be longer.

So turn the dough out onto the floured table. Use flour if the dough sticks to your hands. Now press the dough a little with the palms of your hands to stretch it slightly.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 7

Step 7) – We now make the 4 folds. So, stretch out about half of the dough on one side and then flip the stretched portion over the top of the dough, about in the center. Repeat on the other three sides, stretching and folding half the dough over the top of the dough.

The “stretch and fold” method is an excellent way to maximize the development of gluten in the dough with minimal kneading time. 

When all four sides have been folded, flip the entire ball of dough over so that the smooth bottom side is facing up and the folded top side is underneath.

The Second Leavening

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 8

Step 8) – The second leavening will take place directly in the baking pan. This will make it easier to roll out the dough, and the pizza will be ready for topping and baking.

First, grease the baking pan well. Both to prevent the pizza from sticking during baking and to give crispness to the underside.

After that, take the dough and place it in the center of the baking pan.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 9

Step 9) – Now brush the surface of the dough with a tiny bit of oil and cover with plastic wrap.

It’s very important that during this rising stage, the top of the dough is oiled and protected to prevent it from drying out.

If the dough was left without covering, the most external part would form the so-called “skin.” It’s a dry, non-elastic shell that will hinder proper rising.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 10

Step 10) – At this point the dough needs to reach twice its initial volume. The timing depends on both the type and amount of yeast chosen and the room temperature.

In our case, for the type of yeast and the amount you used, it takes 2 to 3 hours of leavening at a temperature of 25/30°C (77/86°F).

But how to reach these temperatures in our home kitchen, especially in winter?

HERE IS A TRICK! To reach the ideal leavening temperature, just put the baking pan in the OVEN TURNED OFF with the LIGHT BULB ON. This way the oven becomes a small, homemade leavening cell.

Remember not to overdo the heat, otherwise you run the risk of killing the yeasts in the dough.

Once the dough has reached twice its initial volume, you can begin to roll it out.

How to Roll Out Authentic Italian Pizza Dough (NO Rolling Pin)

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe step 11

Step 11) – With the dough leavened and loose enough, it will only take a few steps to roll it out so that it reaches the entire surface of the baking pan.

With your hands and fingertips, start pressing from the center of the dough, trying to bring the dough up to the corners of the baking pan. Be careful not to pull the dough but to roll it out with just finger pressure.

Once the entire surface of the pan is evenly covered, the pizza is ready to be topped.

Let it rest for another 20 minutes or so at room temperature before topping with all your favorite ingredients!

What to Do if the Pizza Dough is not Stretchy and won’t Roll Out

If the pizza dough tends to shrink when you try to roll it out, it means that the leavening has not yet reached the optimal level. So it’s not yet ready.

In this case don’t worry, wait another half hour. Let the dough relax a little and try again, it will be much easier.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe: The Toppings

Now let’s see how to season our pizza in the simplest of ways: tomato passata, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, oregano and/or fresh basil.

How to season pizza step 1

Step 1) – Prepare the tomato sauce to use as the base of the topping.

Usually we use a 200 g (7 oz) of good quality tomato passata. This is the right amount for a round pizza pan of 36 cm (14 inch). 

If you don’t have passata, you can use canned peeled tomatoes. Puree them in a masher with the larger mesh disk. This way you will get a rather liquid tomato passata. So put it in a strainer to remove the tomato water.

Tomato sauce is at its best when seasoned. So in a bowl pour the tomato passata, and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of fine salt and oregano.

How to season pizza step 2

Step 2) – Then season the pizza with the tomato sauce. Add an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Be careful to leave some unseasoned space that will form the pizza crust.

This border has several functions. The most obvious is an aesthetic one. It gives balance to the final colors.

Another function is more technical. The “cornicione” (pizza crust) prevents the tomato from leaking outside the pizza.

If this were to happen, the pizza would not come off the pan easily. Also, the leaked tomato would burn, partly ruining the hard work it took to get here.

At this point you can top the pizza to your liking.

Remember that if you wanted to add vegetables on the pizza, such as zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant, you would have to grill them beforehand. In fact they would not be able to cook once in the oven and would release too much liquid during cooking.

When should I add Mozzarella Cheese?

As for mozzarella cheese, we recommend getting the kind sold in sachets with water, the so-called “fresh mozzarella” (about 400 g/14 oz).

Add always the mozzarella halfway through cooking. Due to the low power of the home oven, it’s necessary to cook pizza much longer than in a professional oven. With the result that the mozzarella is drained of the part of water it contains.

In this way it becomes dry and deprives the pizza of its final characteristic: softness and full milky taste.

How to Bake Pizza in Your Oven at Home Like a Pro

How to bake pizza at home step 1

Once you have finished seasoning, it’s time to bake the pizza!

First preheat the oven. The pizza should enter the oven only when the proper temperature has been reached.

Usually domestic ovens do not exceed the maximum temperature of 250°C (482°F) and have the dual function of “ventilated” and “static.”

Perfect baking depends on many variables. Such as the type of oven, the baking pan, and the amount of moisture in the ingredients. But in general, a pizza pan needs about 12 to 16 minutes of baking time.

How to bake pizza at home step 2

So, bake the pizza with all the ingredients that require baking except the mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 6-8 minutes at maximum power, that is, 220°C (428°F) for a static oven or 250°C (482°F) if the oven is fan-assisted.

After that, put on top the shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish baking by rotating the pan to 180 degrees for another 6 to 8 minutes.

If you were to choose cooking by ventilated oven, you should take into consideration that the heat will be more violent and the cooking time shorter.

Once baked, a good pizza is no more than 1 cm high (about 1/2 inch), crisp and crumbly on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside, with the tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese gratinated just right.

Getting a great result with your home oven requires several attempts, but with passion and time you will get amazing results and, when you have guests, you will be very proud to surprise them!

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

How to Make Pizza Dough with KitchenAid Mixer

Now we are going to explain how to knead pizza dough with the kitchenAid Mixer.

Put the water inside the bowl of your stand mixer. Then dissolve the yeast in cold water, if it’s summer, or slightly warm water, if it’s winter. Remember to calculate the water temperature as stated in the paragraph below.

Add the sugar and 60/70% of the total flour. Then turn on the mixer.

After about 30 seconds, continuing mixing, put in the rest of the flour, incorporating it a little at a time.

After a few minutes you will find that the dough begin to blend and absorb all the flour from the container. Now add the salt and finally you can pour in the oil at a trickle. Add the fat part at the end of this step. It helps the homogeneity of the dough.

Keep running the mixer until the dough is soft and elastic. 

At this point you are ready to move on to the next steps: leavening, rolling out, seasoning, and finally baking.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

Storage

You can prepare the pizza and season it with tomato, then leave it in the refrigerator so that it locks in the rising process.

Then bake it directly in the hot oven even after a few hours, such as when guests arrive.

The same thing can be done by freezing the pizza as soon as you finish topping it.

In this case let the pizza thaw for a few hours at room temperature and it will be ready to be placed in the hot oven.

How to Tell if the Pizza Dough Has Been Kneaded Enough

The secret to creating the perfect pizza dough is to keeping kneading until you find the maximum point of elasticity in the dough. However, without going so far as to ruin, or even break, the gluten mesh.

Unfortunately, this is a variable factor. It depends on hydration and the quality of the ingredients used. It cannot be made standard.

To tell if the dough has been kneaded enough, take a piece of dough from the mass, once it’s smooth without lumps. Stretch it with your hands. If it stretches without tearing and still remaining smooth, then the dough is kneaded just right.

What you will need to achieve at the end of the kneading process will be a smooth, compact dough. Not too wet and sticky but plastic that does not tear easily and can be shaped.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

Some Important Info on Pizza Ingredients

As you may know, Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe is made of five simple ingredients: flour, water, oil, yeast and salt. We are going to dissect the elements one by one. After all, what could be better than knowing the ingredients you use?

FLOUR

As we have seen, there are many types of flour on the market. But we can say that the most used flour for making Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe is wheat flour type “00”, with a medium-high W strength or a protein content from 11-12% up.

Obviously the choice of a good mill is essential in order to make a quality product.

The most known brands of flour in Italy are certainly La Caputo (Antimo Caputo Pizzeria 00 Flour) and Le 5 Stagioni. They have at their disposal many varieties of flour for pizza. These flours differ one from each other according to the strength -W- and other technical characteristics.

For more informations about the types of flours and their use, read “What’s the Best Flour for Homemade Pizza Dough?

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

WATER TEMPERATURE. THE 55 RULE

Water is the second ingredient in terms of quantity in your dough and consequently plays a key role in creating a good pizza.

A very important factor to consider for optimal rising of the dough is its temperature.

The result of assembling the ingredients, will have to translate into a dough with optimal temperature, so that leavening can start right away, without causing subsequent problems.

How do I know what is the correct temperature to use?

It’s very important that the dough has a temperature of about 24°C (75°F) so that leavening can develop properly.

The dough must be placed at a temperature that facilitates the multiplication of yeasts. They generally produce optimal fermentation around 24/26°C (75/79°F).

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

This is one of the features of dough creation that generally poses the greatest problems for successful leavening. Obviously, the ingredient that changes most easily from a temperature standpoint is water.

However, water is not the only element affecting the total temperature of the dough; it contributes only 33 percent. The remaining percentage of influence is dictated by the temperature of the flour and the environment, namely the temperature of the room where we make our dough.

As you can well imagine, there can be as much as a 10°C difference between summer and winter. This factor must be taken into account when calculating the water temperature.

The 55 Rule

That said, you will have to make sure that whatever season of the year you are in, the total temperature of the dough is always the same, and to do this you can help yourself with a good rule of thumb, the so-called the 55 Rule.

This rule tells us that the sum of room temperature, flour temperature (equal to room temperature) and water temperature should be 55.

Let’s take a practical example: if the room temperature is 20°C, then the water to be used should be 15°C (because 20 + 20+ 15 = 55). On the other hand, if we have 25°C as room temperature, then the water should be around 5° (25+25+5=55).

What about those who use degrees Fahrenheit? We have to call it the 195 rule!

That is, if the room temperature is 68°F, then you must use 59°F water (because 68 + 68 + 59 = 195). On the other hand, if the room temperature is 77°F, the water should be about 41°F (77+77+41=195).

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

OIL

And here we come to the third ingredient by quantity that contributes to the formation of the pizza dough.

Let us first define the key characteristic that differentiates olive oils. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, also called EVO, is obtained from the first mechanical pressing of olives.

While olive oil is obtained from subsequent pressing, with sometimes the addition of other vegetable oils.

It goes without saying that the type of oil to be preferred between the two is the extra virgin one. This is because it’s pure and still full of very important substances for our body. These include polyphenols, which have antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant action.

Olive oil added to the dough has several functions. For example, it makes it more homogeneous and contributes to the stringy formation of gluten. Finally make the dough more elastic and resistant during the rising process.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

YEAST

Leavening is a set of chemical processes, which occur in the pizza dough, due to the addition of yeast.

Yeast is a microscopic fungus, called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, grown on a layer of sprouted barley. On this layer, colonies are formed, which, at the end of the growth process, are separated from the substrate, washed and eventually dried at a temperature not exceeding 40°C (104°F).

The characteristic that has made it, according to many, “irreplaceable” is due to the high leavening speed it gives the dough.

Yeast has the ability to increase the volume of a dough through the production of carbon dioxide.

As a general rule, a dough that contains a significant percentage of yeast (greater than 5 percent with respect to the amount of flour) is ready even after only a few hours. Usually, the leavening phase is considered completed when the dough has doubled its volume.

SALT

Another key ingredient in the preparation of pizza dough is salt.

The function of salt is that it gives flavor to the dough, accentuating its taste. But that’s not all: this ingredient is extremely important for a variety of reasons.

Salt, among its countless properties, is considered an anti-mold. This means that it prevents the proliferation of bacteria, and consequently the deterioration of the dough.

In addition, due to its ability to absorb water, the dough is less sticky and more elastic.

Finally, salt has a positive action on the flour proteins, making the gluten mesh stronger.

Generally speaking, we can say that the amount of salt for proper flavor should be around 2% of the total amount of flour.

One mistake to avoid, which among other things is the most common, is to put salt in direct contact with the yeast. The reason for this is that it will block the leavening, because of the cooking of the yeast caused by the salt.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

SUGAR

The leavening process we have seen is nothing more than the action that yeasts perform on the dough.

In fact, as they go to feed on sugars, they release, as waste products, ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, the element that makes the dough swell.

That said, do we necessarily need to add sugar to any dough that requires rising? Obviously, the answer is no, because the complex sugars we are talking about are mainly found in flour, in the form of starch.

However, many people add classic granulated sugar to the dough thinking that they will improve leavening and the organoleptic qualities of the dough.

Where Does the Word “Pizza” Come From?

Pizza is probably the most famous Italian word in the world.

However, the origin of the word “pizza” is debated.

Legends tell that the word “pizza” may derive from “pinsa,” past participle of the Latin verb “pinsare,” meaning “to pound, to crush.”

The name would thus derive from its shape and somehow also from the production methodology.

Another theory about the birth of the name concerns the arrival of the Langobards in Italy, and with them the arrival of the word “bizzo-pizzo,” from the German word “bizzen.”

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

What are the True Origins of Pizza?

Although pizza is considered to have its origins in the Italian – and especially the Neapolitan – culinary tradition, studies of ancient peoples have found that the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were also cooking very similar flatbreads even back then!

Pizza as we understand it today is nothing more than a melting pot of different cultures, each of which contributed in the creation of the final product, so loved by people all over the world.

The origin of modern pizza, as we know it now, could be placed at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries precisely in the Kingdom of Naples.

It is the so-called Mastunicola pizza. The topping for this involved the use of lard, cigoli, sheep’s cheese, pepper and basil. All native Italian ingredients of the time.

Another preparation that became popular in the Kingdom of Naples was pizza alla cecinelli. This pizza, in fact, was topped with whitebait.

Up to this point, the queen of pizzas – the Margherita, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella – had not yet been invented.

Come to think of it, this is quite normal since tomato is not native to Italy! The tomato is a fruit native to America. It was imported to Europe only in 1540, but its use spread to Italian cuisine only in the second half of the 1700s.

It was then that Neapolitan pizza makers began adding it to everyday recipes.

Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

When was the Margherita Pizza First Created?

If there is one name with which the invention of pizza can be associated, it is certainly that of Raffaele Esposito, owner of the historic Neapolitan tavern “Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Così“.

It would have been him, in 1889, who dedicated a pizza to Queen Margherita of Savoy, after whom the queen of pizzas was named.

The ingredients used were intended to represent the Italian tricolor: tomato for the red, mozzarella for the white, and finally basil for the green. Pizza was a great success in the Kingdom of Naples, but it was not successful in adjacent territories until the early 1900s.

During this period the first establishments specializing in the production of pizza were born, which, of course, took the name of pizzeria. These establishments did not develop homogeneously throughout Italy. In fact, the opening of the first pizzerias in the North dates back to the end of World War II.

Pizza owes its success in the world thanks to Italian emigrants from after World War II onward.

From this time on, no one could give in to the temptation of this simple yet equally delicious dish.

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