Homemade Pizza Dough by Rachel Polanco

Homemade Pizza Dough by Rachel Polanco

 

May I introduce to you my first foray into bread baking?

A few years back, I was broke. Like, really broke, like walk to the grocery store to save on gas broke, like frozen pizzas were out of budget broke. I was in school and working part time, my then-husband had a crazy commute to his under-paying job, and sometimes we just needed a bit of a morale boost via a good meal, without breaking the bank.

A lot of other people found that same comfort we did in bread baking during the lockdowns, and I know a lot of people who have been taking a renewed look at their budgets lately. While I never managed to perfect my loaves, I’d love to share the cheap and easy pizza dough recipe that got us through – and that I still use pretty regularly!

I’ve included the volumetric measurements, but if you have a kitchen scale, I’d recommend going the extra mile and using weights instead, because as forgiving as bread can be, it’s also very fickle when it comes to water vs flour ratios. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a stand mixer (I sure didn’t when I was first using this!), and don’t worry about messing it up too much. In the end, as I’ve found out, it is very hard to make pizza taste bad.

This recipe makes about two 8” pizzas, depending on how thick you want your crust. That means you can batch it up and divvy it down or keep it small for individual meals (I get 4 individual pizzas from it nowadays). The rest of the dough can store in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container or freeze for up to three months!

Italian Garlic Pizza Dough

¾ teaspoon (2g) active dry yeast (or half a packet)

1 cup (200g) warm water, around 80-90 degrees

1 teaspoon (4g) olive oil

2 ¼ cups (300g) all-purpose, unbleached flour

1 teaspoon (8g) salt

1 teaspoon (8g) garlic powder

Dried Italian seasoning, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Mix and let it sit for about 5 minutes. If it froths, you’re good to go! If it doesn’t, your yeast may be too old to work well.
  2. Add about half of the flour and stir to combine, either with a wooden spoon or with the hook attachment of your mixer. Add salt and seasonings, mix, and then add the rest of the flour.
  3. If using a stand mixer, mix on a medium speed for 5-6 minutes. You’ll know the dough is ready to rest when it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl and forms a smooth dough that climbs up the hook.
  4. If mixing by hand, turn out onto the countertop and knead for 8 minutes (more or less, depending on how aggressively you’re kneading). You’ll know the dough is ready when it smooths out. Try not to add too much flour!
  5. Let it rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Portion the dough out. Store what you don’t want to use right away in an airtight, oiled container. Flour your countertop, place the portion you plan on using on the counter, cover with a damp cloth or saran wrap, and let rise 3-4 hours.

Use your hands, flour, and gravity to stretch out the dough into the size and shape you want. If it starts fighting too much, let it rest for 15 minutes. Top with a light layer of pizza sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings your heart desires (I love fresh basil and red onion). I’ve had the best luck baking at about 425 for 8-10 minutes but keep an eye on it – every oven is different.