The Easiest, Fastest Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe Yet

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I’m still trying my best to cook at home at least 5 times a week, mostly avoiding the pitfalls in my cooking at home flowchart. We make pizza at least once every other week, as it tastes better than anything from the frozen aisle and is very flexible. We’ve recently topped one with leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day.

Suzanne Lenzer of the New York Times recently shared her own pizza dough recipe in Homemade Pizza, Easier and Faster.

So let’s assume you already know that homemade pizza is better and quicker and cheaper than what you can buy at the neighborhood pizza place. You know the reasons to make your own, which are as obvious as they are appealing: You can top a pizza with virtually anything (from special ingredients to leftovers) or almost nothing (one of my favorites is little more than a smear of caramelized leeks dotted with taleggio). You can bake it in minutes — it takes longer to heat up the oven than to bake a pie.

The recipe is from her new book, and it differs from the 5,000 other recipes out there in these important ways:

  1. No kneading! Use a food processor instead. Pizza dough by hand isn’t hard, but this makes it stupid easy. Dump stuff in food processor and turn on for 2 minutes. Done.
  2. Takes 30 minutes all-in on the weekend. Yes, you’ll want to make it ahead for busy weeknights. 20 minutes includes the minimal prep, using the food processor, the rise, and cleaning everything up during the 20-minute rise. Clean counter to clean counter, 30 minutes.
  3. Make ahead, store in freezer. You keep it in the freezer until you need it. Throw it in the fridge to thaw in the morning. Take dough out and preheat oven when you get home. In under 20 minutes, food can be on the table!

Here’s a direct link to the dough recipe, and another NYT article with easy pizza topping ideas. I made the NYT dough last weekend, froze them, and ate them later in the week. We liked it! Here are our comments, which I actually think make it even easier:

  • We used all-purpose flour. The recipe says bread flour and we’ve used it in the past, but AP flour worked just fine and it’s less hassle.
  • We used a rolling pin to roll out the dough. The recipe says to stretch the dough by hand and specifically says “not flat on a work surface”, but we use a floured, flat surface and a rolling pin. It still works and takes nearly zero skill! Here’s a good, simple YouTube video that describes the stupid-proof method. I like stupid-proof.
  • Parchment paper for the win. We bought a baking stone. It got all nasty after a few months. Now we just use a half baking sheet that can preheat in the oven and parchment paper. Also stupid-proof, as it always results in no sticking! Although if you bake 550 degrees, the paper may turn black. We bake at slightly lower temps.
  • Double the recipe. Assuming your food processor isn’t one of those tiny ones, I like the article’s tip to double the dough recipe. Now you’ll get four balls of dough in 30 minutes.

Side tip: Don’t got half an hour on Sunday? You can also freeze pizza dough from the supermarket. You can buy a ball of pizza dough for $1 to $2 at places like Safeway or Trader Joe’s. If you look at the ingredients, many of them are quite simple with minimal questionable additives. Freeze it ’til you need it.

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  1. I’ve been making pizza for years and years now. I’ve found that the best tasting pizza dough has come from using the Neapolitan dough recipe. Flour, water, salt and yeast. It takes longer to make (I leave it in the fridge for 3 days) but it sure is the best dough I’ve ever made. I don’t knead it much either. I knead it for a minute, let it rest for 8 minutes then repeat that about 3 times. By the 3rd time, the dough is smooth.

    The only thing I’m missing now is a wood-fired oven.

  2. I tried this recipe yesterday. Overall it was a success.

    I used regular AP flour, not bread flour as well. I did have to substitute 1/2 cup of wheat flour for white, because I ran out of the white stuff. I typically do that anyway. The recipe was easy and did take only 30 minutes. I doubled it, and my food processor (a Kitchenaid) bogged down and overheated midway through the mixing period. After it cooled down, I was able to finish the mixing process. The dough itself seemed really sticky at first but turned out just fine after I let it rise per the recipe. I used a combination of rolling it out and stretching it with my hands on parchment paper. I would say it worked okay, but a little more gluten development through kneading probably would have made me less nervous that the dough would break. But letting it rest between rolling out each pie crust I was able to get the dough to relax and stop shrinking back from the stretching. The pizzas we made were pretty small so I didn’t get the dough very thin.

    I baked the pizzas on our pizza stone at 550 as described in the recipe. The flavor was fine. It definitely lacked the yeasty flavor you get from letting your dough rise a second time in the fridge for day or more, but it was a fine relatively neutral base for our pizzas and the crust crisped nicely and the rim rose pretty well also. For an investment of 30 minutes it was definitely a winner and my kids were pretty happy with it.

  3. We’ve been making pizza at home almost every week now for 5+ years, and the key to our operation is the Eastman Outdoors Grill Pizza pan formerly known as ‘Za-Grill’ when I first bought it. I can’t recommend this enough. Place it on your gas bbq (works with charcoal too but easier with gas) and it cooks from both sides via convection. You avoid having to heat up your oven and pre-heat a baking stone, no worries about sliding the pizza peel in, no need for the parchment paper, and it comes out fantastic. We’ve used our baking stone/oven and its not even comparable with the same exact recipe to the za-grill. I have a family tree of referrals who have bought this after eating at my house and no disappointed customers yet. If you read the amazon reviews they mention sometimes the tray flakes paint off..we didn’t have that issue, just spray the pan with non-stick before using. Also, whatever flour you are using, if you can get your hands on any Italian ‘tipo 00’ flour, do it. I can’t explain why its so much better, but its just so much better. Best crusts you will have ever tasted. Chewy, great texture, incomparable to using either bread or american all purpose. I’m pretty frugal with groceries and am willing to pay 2-4x per lb for this flour its that much better.

  4. I think the size of chicken breasts has changed dramatically since Julia Child’s day, which could account for some of her shorter cook time.

  5. Hannah Flack says

    Breakfast for dinner is always fun with the kids and we do pizza a lot too. They are getting to be the age that I can allow them to use the cook top, it makes cooking/baking fun!

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