Everyone has an opinion about what constitutes delicious pizza. Some will argue that the original thin crust Neapolitan-style pizza is the best, while others like a deep dish pizza with a crust so thick that it must be eaten with a fork and knife. It all comes down to the crust at the end of the day.
What is Pizza Dough?
Pizza dough is made from leavened wheat flour and is formed into a disc or rectangle. The dough is then layered with toppings like tomatoes, cheese, meats, and vegetables before being cooked at a high temperature.
6 Types of Pizza Dough
1. Neapolitan: The most basic type of pizza—the dough contains only flour, water, salt, and yeast. The foundation of Neapolitan pizza is incredibly thin, with dough that rises up around the sides, creating a highly airy crust.
Neapolitan pizza has a thin and fluffy crust, and is usually lightly topped.
2. Sicilian: A hefty piece of pizza, Sicilian-style pizza is made of thick focaccia-like dough baked in an olive oil-laden plate. The bottom of the pizza browns and crisps as it bakes. In Sicily, pizza is thinner and chewier, often topped with salty anchovies and pecorino cheese, whereas in New York, "Sicilian-style" pizza can be significantly thicker—up to 12 inches—with simpler toppings like garlicky tomato sauce and melting mozzarella.
Sicilian pizza has a thick, bread-like crust.
3. New York: A variation on Neapolitan-style dough, New York-style pizza has oil and sugar and is stretched into a thicker and sturdier crust. The oil reduces the quantity of gluten generated, resulting in a delicate, chewy pizza crust.
New York-style pizza is known for being served either as a pie or by the slice.
4. Chicago Deep Dish: Chicago is known for having some of the most sumptuous and thick pizza crusts in the world, with crusts reaching 2 to 3 inches thick. By putting tomato-y pizza sauce over a hefty amount of gooey cheese, deep dish style dough flips the order of toppings. It's definitely a fork-and-knife meal, especially if you add more toppings like pepperoni or sausage.
Deep-dish style pizza was first created in the 1940s.
5. Detroit:The crust on this rectangle pizza is exceptionally thick, and the bottom is crisp. It's baked in a large square pan with a lot of oil. As a result, the crust has a chewy texture with a crunchy bottom and edges, similar to Sicilian style.
Detroit-style is another interpretation of Sicilian pizza that features burnt cheese on the edges of the crust.
6. St. Louis: A Midwest regional specialty, St. Louis-style pizza has a thin, cracker-like dough prepared without yeast. This pizza is cut into squares or rectangles rather than pie-like wedges.
St. Louis-style pizza is known for using the processed cheese Provel.
6 Tips for Making Perfect Pizza Dough
1. Use a scale: Weighing flour instead of using a measuring cup provides more accuracy when making pizza and bread recipes.
2. Choose the right flour: All-purpose flour works fine, but if you want a chewier texture you should use bread flour or double “00” flour.
3. Hand stretch dough like a pro: For the true experience, stretch your pizza dough by hand. Begin by forming a tiny disc of dough with your hands. Pick up the dough gently and place both hands on one edge, allowing the rest of the dough to hang down. As you gently rotate the dough in one direction, gravity will handle some of the stretching. Pull the dough from hand to hand slowly while it hangs down. Stretch the pizza until it is about 12 inches across.
4. Skip the pizza stone: If this is your first time making pizza at home, transferring it to a pizza stone in a hot oven seems frightening. Instead, use a baking sheet. To make things even easier (and safer), forgo preheating the pizza pan and bake your pizza straight on the baking sheet. You may still obtain those crispy edges if your oven is set to a high temperature (500ºF).
5. Prepare toppings ahead of time: Because pizza bakes quickly in the oven, any toppings that need longer to cook, such as raw chicken, ground beef, sausage, fish, shellfish, and pig, should be par-cooked or fully cooked ahead of time.
6. Limit your toppings: While more cheese, hot peppers, bacon, sausage, and pineapple all seem good, try limiting your toppings when baking pizza to avoid soggy crust. When there are a lot of toppings, it covers the flavor of the dough and prevents it from cooking correctly in the oven.
Best Pizza Dough Recipe
|3 hr 20 min
|3 hr 35 min
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt.
In a small mixing dish, combine 200 grams (1 scant cup) warm water (approximately 110ºF), yeast, and olive oil. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead by hand until a dough forms. To prepare the dough, place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and mix on low speed. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Knead the dough for 2 minutes once it has rested. Divide into two equal halves and roll each into a ball. Place the dough on a floured surface, cover with a moist kitchen towel, and leave at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. If you want to make the dough ahead of time, it will keep covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or frozen for 3 weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature before using.
Preheat the oven to 500ºF and place a pizza stone (or use a baking sheet) in the oven.
Roll one of the doughs into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick, with a rolling pin or your hands. Flour a pizza paddle and slide it beneath the dough. Brush the crust with olive oil, then top with your chosen toppings. Place the pizza on the hot stone in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and crisp. Repeat with the rest of the dough.