I cannot count the number of times I have made this pizza. It may be the most ingrained recipe I make – after boiling water.

It is simplicity unto itself. It is flavor, it is texture. It is all the things one wants in a slice of pizza.

Pizza dough is one of those things I can make in my sleep – it’s just flour, water, salt, and yeast – but many years years ago I found a recipe in La Cucina Italiana – when they still had an English edition – that was a 2-day slow rise with just a pinch of yeast. It was pretty much the same recipe from my Pirro’s Pizza days but broken down to home-use – not starting with 42# bags of flour. It immediately became my dough of choice.

It still is.

Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (100º to 105º) – or up to 1/8 cup more
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 4 cups “00” flour or unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for bowl

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in bowl of mixer fitted with dough hook. Let proof about 5 minutes.

Mix together flour and salt. Add to yeast mixture. Mix on low speed about 4 minutes or until dough forms a coarse ball. Stop mixer and cover bowl with a towel. Let dough rest about 5 minutes, then remove towel and continue mixing another 2 minutes or so.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Form dough into a ball, transfer to bowl and turn to lightly coat with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, then refrigerate overnight.

Punch down dough, re-roll, and return to bowl. Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Divide dough into 2 pieces; shape pieces into balls and place on a lightly floured work surface. Loosely cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours.

The secret is the slow rise in the ‘fridge and that pinch of yeast keeps it from exploding in the oven like a loaf of bread.

I bought a 5-piece Dough-Joe oven stone set years ago – 1″ thick – that makes a 15″ x 18″ surface that sets right on top of an oven rack. Perfect for pizza or bread baking.

I pre-heat them in a 500° oven for about 30 minutes and they cook in about 10.

The pizza sauce is usually a bit of Victor’s Pasta Sauce, Quattro Formaggio from Trader Joe’s, and more often than not, pepperoni – thick-sliced if you can find it.

Of course, absolutely anything can go on top – the toppings are only limited by your imagination and ingredients in your ‘fridge or pantry.

Don’t worry about the nay-sayers of the world. It’s your pizza. have fun with it!