I’ve been making a lot of this NY style pizza dough recipe …. The obsession started a while back, and I’ve finally found a recipe that I love the best! After years of experiments (and I mean years!), I am now using this recipe based on recommendations from the many fine pizza makers at www.pizzamaking.com and the late great Dough Doctor, Tom Lehmann.
Making Pizza Dough at Home
Making NY style pizza dough is definitely somewhat of an art form. There are so many variables that can be changed aside from the ingredients alone. For example, these variables include:
- oven temperature
- temperature of the water used to make the dough
- proofing methods (room temp vs cold rise)
- order of adding the ingredients (yes, this makes a big difference!)
- mixing time
- use of autolyse
- use of poolish (I don’t do this or the one before, although I have in the past)
And then of course, the toppings which can be simple or as complex as you’d like. But don’t worry too much about all of this – my method is easy and straightforward. Plus, you will make better dough than 99% of the pizza chains out there. You will not want take out anymore!
My Favorite Pizza Dough: The Big Secret (How You Proof the Dough)
My all-time favorite dough is NY style dough, which really is classic pizza dough that is stretched out into a thin crust pizza. This type of pizza dough contains water, flour, salt, instant yeast, and olive oil (and sugar especially when baking in a home oven, to help browning).
After it is mixed, it is proofed (left to rise/ferment) in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 72 hours (it can also be frozen) – this is the big secret. I’ve used the dough up to 5 or 6 days afterwards, so you can essentially prepare dough for the week.
This recipe produces a crisp yet foldable crust that is tender, light, and flavorful and will make enough for four 14-inch pizzas. You can easily double or half the recipe to make 2 or 8 pizzas.
Fourteen Tips for Success
Tip 1: Choosing the flour
Use high-quality flour – I like to use King Arthur’s all purpose or bread flour; higher protein (ie, bread) flours work best. However, I prefer all-purpose flour because I like a lighter, airy crust.
Tip 2: Adding the yeast
Do not add instant dry yeast (IDY) directly to cold or cool water – you may shock the yeast (add the IDY to your flour instead) (please note that IDY differs from active dry yeast, which must be activated by adding it to water).
Tip 3: How much yeast?
Use only enough yeast to “get the job done” – yeast eats the sugar in your flour to produce its leavening effects – I find that if you use too much, your dough will be tasteless (this is just my opinion); however, it is a fact, that too much yeast can make your dough taste bad. Most recipes out there, some of them in well known, published books contain too much yeast!
Tip 4: Cold ferment that pizza dough!
Always use your refrigerator. The best NY style doughs “ferment” or “cure” in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to
48 72 hours. This is called a “cold rise” (vs warm rise on your kitchen counter).
The refrigerator is used to retard (or slow) the dough’s fermentation, allowing that distinctive flavor to come through (ever wonder why some pizza crust tastes different than others, despite the fact that they are both made from just about the same exact ingredients? – this is a big reason why!)
When your dough rises too quickly, the flavor will not develop optimally. Slow rise = MUCH better flavor.
Tip 5: Weigh those ingredients!
Use a scale to weigh the flour instead of using a measuring cup – it is much more accurate and will yield superior results. I’ll admit, I resisted doing this for a loooong time. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did and your dough will be more consistent and much improved.
Tip 6: Add oil last
Mix the oil in as the last step, after the flour has all been incorporated. This is important to allow the flour to hydrate properly.
Tip 7: Flour your dough balls
Before tossing or opening your dough balls, flour them *very* well on each side (if you are a beginner) to ensure they do not stick to your counter or pizza peel. I sometimes use a bit more flour after I begin spreading them.
Tip 8: Keeping those rims a bit puffy
Take care not to “degas” the rim of your pizza as you are spreading your dough! Do NOT ever use a rolling pin! There are many different methods to spread/open your dough ball. I hope to add a few pictures someday of this process.
Tip 9: Baking pizza in a home oven
Ensure that your oven is preheated for a sufficient amount of time (about 1 hour) and bake the pizza within 6 to 8 inches of the top of your oven (ie, your broiler) so that the tops browns sufficiently in conjunction with the bottom of the pizza.
Do not place the stone near the bottom of your oven. I made this mistake for too many years.
After your stone has been preheated sufficiently, the heat from the stone will cook the pizza from the bottom and you can switch the broiler on if you find you need more browning on the top (I now use the broiler to bake my pizzas…more on this sometime in the future).
If you find that your cheese is browning well before your rim attains sufficient color, use partially frozen cheese (ie, place shredded cheese in the freezer while the oven is heating up) and cold sauce or you can drizzle just a bit of olive oil on top of cheese.
Tip 10: Use a pizza stone or steel
Use a pizza stone if you have one. The stone with draw moisture out of the dough and produce a beautifully crisp crust. I use a pizza steel because my stones kept breaking.
Tip 11: Use just the right amount of sauce
Do not use too much pizza sauce – it will make your pizza soggy
Tip 12: Find the right kind of cheese
Do not use low fat cheese to top your pizza or pre-shredded cheese (the former will not melt sufficiently and the latter contains additives that prevent the cheese from sticking together and therefore does not melt very well). The best is low-moisture, whole milk mozzarella.
If you must use pre-shredded cheese, I’ve found that adding the sauce on top of the cheese helps with the melting. Also, do not use too much cheese; apply it sparingly so that you can achieve that mottled NY pizza appearance.
Tip 13: Flour your pizza peel
Use semolina or flour on the bottom of your pizza peel to prevent the pizza dough from sticking but be careful not to overdo it because it will burn.
Tip 14: Learn to launch that pizza
Give the pizza peel a few very small quick jerks to make sure the pizza will easily slide off your pizza peel before attempting to transfer pizza to the oven, and more importantly, rub flour into the peel before placing the dough on top.
How to Stretch the Pizza Dough
A nice video (from The GoodFellas Pizza School of NY), showing how to stretch the dough:
How to Freeze Homemade Pizza Dough
- After mixing dough and dividing into balls, place dough in refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
- Place dough balls on baking sheet lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper, cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (~ 2 to 3 hours or up to overnight).
- Wrap frozen dough balls individually in plastic and store in zipper-lock bags for up to 4 weeks.
- When ready to bake, transfer unwrapped dough into the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours before making pizza.
- Bring dough to room temperature for 20 to 60 minutes before baking (less time for hot kitchen/summer and more time for cool kitchen)
Questions? Please See My NY Pizza FAQ
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The Best New York Style Pizza Dough
- pizza stone or pizza steel for baking
- Standing mixer optional
1X recipe ingredient below = about 3 Pounds of Dough (Original Recipe for Four 14-Inch Pizzas)
- 6 cups (796 g) all purpose flour or bread flour (28 oz per 6 cups)
- 2 ¼ cups (493 g) water barely cold water (17.4 oz per 2 ¼ cups)
- 1 teaspoon (3.5 g) instant dry yeast
- 2.5 teaspoons (15.6 g) salt
- 2 teaspoons (7.8 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (11.8 g) olive oil
1X recipe ingredients below = 1 Pound of Dough (~454 grams)
- 2 ¼ cups (274.5 g) all purpose flour or bread flour
- ¾ cup (170.2 g) water
- ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Mixing the Dough
- Place water in mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix salt and yeast (and sugar if using) into flour
- Combine flour/salt/yeast mixture into water and mix until all the flour has been incorporated.
- After flour has been totally incorporated, add oil and knead for about 4 to 5 minutes (see note)
- Test final dough temperature, which should ideally be between high 70s to low 80s (optional)
Dividing and Rising
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces (using a digital scale if possible; each ball should weigh 11.5 oz [~326 grams]), shape into a ball, and place in greased, sealed quart-sized container or oiled/greased freezer bag and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours (After much experimenting, I have concluded that I like 3 days best but day 2 is good too).
Assembly and Baking
- The following day, remove your dough balls within 1 hour or less of baking and allow the dough to come to room temperature. (the dough will tend to blister more if the dough has not been allowed to come to room temperature however, I often bake coldish dough without problems, just some bubbling)
- In the meantime, place your pizza stone in oven and preheat at 550 degrees (depending on thickness of your stone and your oven’s power) for at least 1 hour
- Open each dough ball using care not to degas, transfer to a pre-floured pizza peel (or on parchment paper), and top with your favorite sauce, cheese, or other toppings.
- Transfer pizza from peel to oven or slide parchment paper onto preheated pizza pan/stone and bake for 4 to 6 minutes each until browned on top and cheese has melted but not burned.
- Use of weight based measurements is highly recommended instead of US Customary. You will need a kitchen scale.
- METRIC amounts DO NOT correspond exactly to the US Customary amounts because, for example, 796 grams equals 6.4 cups (and most can’t measure 0.4 cups or 0.22 cups). Recipe was based on grams.
- Use the 0.5X; 2X; 3X buttons in recipe card.
- If you want to use the dough the next day, knead a little more (slow speed for about 8 to 10 minutes)
- If you have time to let the dough rest for 3 days, knead for 4 to 5 minutes, low speed or hand knead.
- After mixing dough and dividing into balls, place dough in refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
- Then, place on baking sheet lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper, cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (~ 2 to 3 hours or up to overnight).
- Wrap frozen dough balls individually in plastic and store in zipper-lock bags to store for up to 4 weeks (longer may work, but results might vary).
- Before using, transfer unwrapped dough into the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours before making pizza.
- Bring dough to room temperature for 20 to 60 minutes before baking (less time for hot kitchen/summer and more time for cool kitchen).
- 62% hydration, 0.4% yeast, 2% salt, 1.5% oil, and 1% sugar with a thickness factor of 0.08 using this calculator: http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough-calculator.html or this pizza dough calculator (which is easier to access).
Try these other pizzas and this NY pizza sauce:
Buffalo style (one of my absolute favorites)
White with prosciutto
White with spinach and feta
Just FYI, the grams on the recipe sheet are slightly off when calculated using the bakers percentages. The 493 g of water is pretty much correct, but for the rest based on 796 g of flour, rounding to 1 decimal it should be:
.4% yeast would be 3.2 g rather than 3.5
2% salt would be 15.9 g rather than 15.6
1% sugar would be 8.0 g rather than 7.8
1.5% olive oil would be 11.9 g rather than 11.8
Bill Murphy says
Thanks for the great recipe. I followed it to the letter – giving it the full 72-hour rise time – and on my very first effort, I ended up with the best-ever New York pizzeria quality crust. I cooked it on a pizza stone heated to about 500 F in my Weber gas grill. Topped with a simple sauce (based on Cento crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, tiny bit of sugar, and olive oil), pepperoni, mushrooms, mozzarella and provolone cheese, and sprinkled with parmesan. The pizza cooked in about 7 minutes. I need to work on getting better at stretching the dough (my “round” pizza ended up more like some sort of a trapezoid!) but taste-wise it was great.
In the start to the “briefing” you mention autolyse as a key component, but a pause/rest in mixing is not mentioned in the 14 tips or instructions. Can you clarify the portion/part of the recipe that is considered the autolyse? The times I have experienced autolyse are in milk breads that have a 20 min rest when the dough is shaggy then continue to mix to smooth dough. (I have done this recipe and do love it)
Hi PJ, yes, sorry for the confusion- I mention it only because it is important for some people, but I don’t use an autolyze mostly because I do a long cold ferment.
In bread and therefore pizza dough making, it IS important to rest the flour/water mixture before adding any oil or fats, as the oil coats the flour particles, making it harder for them to fully hydrate. Autolyse time should be put in the recipe no matter how long the ferment time is, cold or room temp.
Hi Jan, So would you autolyse just the flower and water mixture, then add in yeast, salt, (then oil) and then do the kneading? (I use stand mixer for most of that). As as sourdough bread maker, I know that the autolyse step is critical. Thanks. Patricia
John Stephenson says
When changing serving sizes, volume changes but weights do not.
No big deal if you have freezer room, just be aware.
THANK YOU!! I did not notice that when I up-sized the printed recipe to make a big batch using metric!!
Charles Cocks says
One technique for those of you who have a hard time sliding the pizza off the peel into the oven is to make it on parchment paper. It then slides off the peel perfectly every time.
Eric Ruff says
2 1/4 Cups Water is about 532 grams, not 493.
Hey Eric, this has been a very common comment over the years – the pizza dough recipe is based on weight not volume. The most accurate/correct amount is 493 grams but I can’t tell people to add 2.05 cups of water to their dough (or whatever the exact conversion is of 493 to cups/volume) so the volume conversion is rounded to a commonly used amount, according to a calculator that I used to use (I believe it’s no longer active). I hope that helps…
Eric Ruff says
I understand. In that case I would suggest listing the ingredients by weight first, as:
Water – 493 grams (about 2 cups + 2 1/2 t)
In any case 2.05 Cups is much closer to 2 cups even than to 2 1/4 Cups.
All of that nitpicking aside, I LOVE the results. Thank you. THANK YOU! I also saw a big jump in great flavor by waiting the full 72 hours in the fridge over 48 hours.
Mary Atkinson says
Everyone loves , eats and I share this amazing recipe. Thanks
Stuart Matthews says
Best recipe for pizza I’ve found! Thanks!
I used 1sp of active yeast in 1/4 cup warm water to activate it then added to 2 cups luke cold water.
I also baked on bottom rack of oven on pizza pan for 10 minutes at 500 since I couldn’t find out pizza stone.
I’ve tried every recipe out there, chasing pizza perfection. I’ve been using the NY Times printing of Roberto’s Pizza Dough lately, but like every other recipe, it tears under its own weight when I try to shape it. I followed this recipe to the dot, weighing exactly as directed. 2 days in the fridge, then an hour on the board. I was able to handle it easily, shaping it to a 12″ circle. The pizza dough smelled delicious as it cooked, it puffed up on the edge perfectly, perfect color. It tasted delicious. However, the chew was so tough it hurt my jaw. Can anyone tell me what i did wrong?
what type and brand flour did you use? it is was too tough, try using all purpose flour instead of bread flour. The other factor may be baking time – was the pizza foldable yet crispy?
i used all purpose. Do you think a mix of 00 and all purpose would fix the problem, or would that take me back to the same problem I used to have, not being able to move it without tearing it. The pizza wasn’t very foldable, but it didn’t seem too well done. It was charred a bit, but not burnt. 550 degrees at very top of oven on a stone, preheated over an hour. it was 12″, so I assume it was the right thickness per the recipe.
This is my go to crust recipe and wanted to say thank you. I built a pizza oven in my backyard and have tried many different doughs. Yes I make my crust a bit more dry( less water) and I use some semolina flour. I keep searching for the perfect dough but you’ve helped guide me tremendously. Thank you!
Can I use a food processor for the kneading step
Yes, you can – After adding water, combine for about 10 seconds, then turn off machine and let stand for 10 minutes. Then turn machine back on for about 1 minute extra.
I am planning on making this for a party but was wondering if you have tried preparing the pizza with the toppings and sticking it back in the fridge till ready to bake? Would the dough still turn out well if I let it sit on the counter to come closer to room temperature?
you may be able to stretch and store each stretched dough between parchment paper untopped/not dressed, but if you top the uncooked dough it will become very soggy. Even when you are ready to bake you shouldn’t wait too long to bake after topping or the dough will become too soggy and will not come off peel.
Man with dog says
This is a great crust. It’s incredibly elastic and stretches easily into a 14 inch extremely thin crust. I increased the quantities by 50% yielding 4 crusts that were a bit more substantial and more to my liking. Either way the proportions and directions are perfect.
Marie Pletz says
Great narrative- I learned a few things! Thank you!
Bekka f says
I’ve been making this recipe for a while now. Using weights, I get the perfect dough almost every time. Is not sticky, rolls out beautifully and cooks up an authentic Italian crust just like our many Italian Pizza Joints here in NYS. On one occasion, I made this dough a day ahead of the day that I invited friends over for Pizza. I made it in the morning and about noon, I realized I screwed up, company was coming that same day. There was just not enough time to start over with a different recipe. I took the dough out of the refrigerator and decided to let the dough rise in a warm place with fingers crossed. Because it was in the refrigerator it took a while to get to room temperature, and then rise to double size. The dough doubled after about 3 to 4 hours. I proceeded to punch down and prepare as instructed for baking. The pizza crust turned out perfect
This recipe produces the best pizza dough every time. Weighing your ingredients is key
Tom Dustin says
Finally I have a great pizza dough recipe that really rasres great – THANK YOU!!!
Tom Dustin says
I can read and follow instructions, and this recipe was easy to follow and turned out great. I waited 3 days in fridge then cooked. Perfection!!!!
Hi, how would I adapt this to use active yeast, not instant?
Depends on the brand, I use 1:1 substitution because I use the RedStar brand – other brands may differ slightly.
Alan Karlin says
Doesn’t mixing yeast and salt together inhibit or kill the yeast? I have read many recipes and especially from chefs from Italy and that is a no no.