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Pizza Dough

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Normally, making pizza dough takes about 2 1/2 hours. In our experience, the real world often doesn't work that way. Many times, we simply decide to make pizza late in the day (or after work), and don't have the time for the full 2 1/2 hour rise.

Luckily, pizza dough can be rushed -- without too much damage. In fact, you can synchronize your dough with firing your oven. Try to give both 90 minutes. If you really want pizza tonight, and it's late, you can do both in an hour.

Here is how you should rise your dough, based on how much time you have:

Check your dough the first few times you make it, to be be sure that it is not too sticky or too dry. Add a TBS of flour or water to correct the dough if you are off, and remember what you had to do. After a few experiments, you can stop checking, and get on with other things.

We think you will find that your own dough, even under imperfect conditions, is much better than anything you can buy -- particularly if you are using quality flour and olive oil. It does not have any of the preservatives or trans-fats that you can find in pre-made dough.

Cream of tartar, part of baking powder, tends to add a biscuit-like fluff to it. It is considered a dough conditioner.

Also called rapid-rise yeast, instant yeast is a quick-rising type of active dry yeast. It cuts rising times considerably, and it also has the advantage of not needing to be “proofed,” or dissolved in liquid – it can simply be added to the other dry ingredients in the recipe. I believe the rapid-rise yeast does not have as good of flavor as active dry yeast.


After making pizza dough it is suggested to put it in the refrigerator for several hours. This relaxes the gluten and makes the dough less sticky. The dough will stretch farther when you work with it. Don't forget to bring it to room temperature before using it. The dough will get an additional flavor as it sits in the fridge.

Ready for Toppings

After the pizza dough is spread out and ready for the toppings, two things must be done:

  1. Poke the dough with a fork in several places. Do not poke all the way through (so sauce doesn't leak on the pizza pan). This helps reduce the dough from forming large bubbles during cooking.
  2. Coat the top with a thin layer of olive oil. This reduces the chance the sauce will soak into the crust.


Pizza dough freezes well so it pays to make a large batch. Divide up the dough into two balls (most recipes make enough dough for two pizzas) and flatten the ball to be frozen. Cover with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and into the freezer it goes.

Fresh pizza dough can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days though the yeast starts to ferment after a 1/2 day and the pizza dough will smell like beer. Form the dough into a small patty and cover it lightly with olive oil to prevent skinning.

I keep it wrapped and unthaw it in the refrigerator. It takes about a day to unthaw. If the dough was wrapped properly, the dough will be soft. After a day unthawing, I bring the dough to room temperature where it is ready to roll out.

Keep it in the front of the refrigerator - it will unthaw quicker. My fridge is 38 degrees in the front.

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