Fav Pizza Dough Recipe

Homemade pizza dough is a cinch with 6 simple ingredients and an hour of time on your hands.  The secret with any yeast dough is giving your yeast time to bloom, and not adding your salt too quickly.  Sugar lets yeast grow and bloom; salt deactivates the yeast’s chemical reaction.  If you want a fluffy, crispy, crunchy crust {yes, pizza dough can be all three at the same time!}, take your time and give it some love…like any good thing in life.

pizza dough

pizza dough helper


  • Servings: makes three 15-inch pizza pies (or lots and lots of little ones)
  • Difficulty: medium, for the time to let rise and bake
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Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking Cookbook


  • 5 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 cups very warm water (technically between 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit; too hot will kill the yeast, too cold won’t activate it)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Put yeast in a large mixing bowl and pour the warm water over top.  Sprinkle the sugar overtop and let it rest and “bloom”, about 5-7 minutes.  The yeast will be fully bloomed when it’s foamy and bubbly.
  2. Add the olive oil.  Add 3 cups of flour, then salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until a thick paste has formed.  Let rest for about 5 minutes, then add flour, half cup at a time, until the dough forms a rough ball.  Dump out on a floured surface, and continue adding flour, a spoonful at a time, while kneading, until a smooth, soft dough forms.  There is no exact measurement of flour to add; too much and your dough will be dry and non-pliable, too little and it’ll be too sticky.  Add just enough so the dough is soft and smooth, and slightly moist to the touch without sticking to and coming off on your fingers.  Knead the dough for about 7-10 minutes, and form into a ball.
  3. Coat your large mixing bowl with olive oil, gently place the dough ball in the bowl, and drizzle more olive oil overtop.  Cover with plastic wrap, or the lid to the bowl–just placed lightly on top, not sealed, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the oven.  Divide the dough in thirds for large pizzas, or equal-sized smaller balls.  You can use a rolling pin or your hands to spread the pizza dough into a circle shape.  If you are using a pizza stone, prepare your pizza on a floured surface (semolina or all-purpose) you can use to transfer to the hot pizza stone.  Top with desired toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is crispy and brown.




Pizza Night!

pizza roasted squash sprouts

This is our favorite vegetarian pizza–it is filling enough with the toasted nuts, sweet roasted squash, and sautéed greens that you won’t even miss the pepperoni.  The ingredient list includes roasted winter squash, caramelized onions, sautéed brussels sprouts (I know it sounds odd, but the sweet onions balance out the sometimes bitter sprouts) a good couple handful of greens, dollops of ricotta, and topped with toasted nuts.

I usually make this with roasted acorn squash (when it’s on sale I’ll buy a ton and roast it in the oven, scoop out the flesh and keep it in freezer bags to pull out for pizza or casseroles), but I didn’t have any, and instead used leftover roasted butternut squash I needed to use up.  I also normally use walnuts, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I used pecans, although i think pistachios would have been good, too.

The plain cheese pizza is for our boys…I am waiting for the day they are going to eat us out of house and home.


  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy to medium, depending on how many ingredients you have ready to go
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As noted, you can put whatever veggies you have on hand–yummy combo ideas: roasted broccoli, sliced red onion, mixed greens with ricotta; thinly sliced zucchini and potatoes with fresh mozzarella.  The difficulty level would be “easy” if you already have the pizza dough and toppings ready; if you need to make the dough and prep the toppings, you’ll spend a bit more time making pizza, and the difficulty level would increase.  The ingredient list below reflects the amounts you will need for four pizzas, all with the same veggie topping.


  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough (mine usually makes 4 pizzas for us)
  • 2 cups of your favorite red sauce
  • 2 cups roasted winter squash
  • 2 onions, caramelized
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, halved and sautéed
  • 4 cups mixed greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc.)
  • 8 oz ricotta
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • pizza seasoning


  1. Preheat oven to 400 and place one oven rack on the uppermost rungs, and one on the bottom.
  2. Section your pizza dough into four equal balls.  Roll one ball to a thin crust to fit your pizza pan and spread 4-5 spoonfuls of red sauce in a thin layer.
  3. Break up toppings (roasted squash, caramelized onions, brussels sprouts) by hand and evenly spread over pizza.  The mixed greens will look like a lot when you put them on the pizza, but they will cook down, so feel free to put a liberal 2-3 handfuls on your pizza.  Dollop with fresh ricotta.
  4. I always top my pizza with the super-yummy-pizza-secret-ingredients:  drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning.  I find some sort of pizza seasoning or Tuscany seasoning, or something of that sort for a few dollars at TJ Maxx.
  5. Bake on the top rack until the toppings and cheese are just starting to turn golden.  Gently loosen pizza from the pan and slide onto the bottom rack, without the pan.  This will help your crust get nice and crispy.
  6. After pizza is done, pull out of the oven (putting it right back on the pan works great), and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.


pizza seasoning