Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Search of... a pizza dough recipe that works

Friday night pizza night is a tradition in our house. Sure, we used to spend a LOT of money doing this, but not anymore! Making our own pizza at home is inexpensive and we get to experiment and enjoy LOTS of really good toppings. I make my own pizza sauce, buy the cheese in bulk from Costco, and make the dough. And there's the snag!

After trying about six different pizza dough recipes, we settled on one we really like. It's part whole wheat and part white flours - a great combination. The recipe is here. The problem is, it doesn't always turn out very well. About half the time, it turns out really sticky. Now, if we lived somewhere where humidity might be a factor, I could understand. But I'm in California, and that just isn't an issue most of the time. So what could it be?

I make sure the liquid is measured correctly. I watch the beginning of the dough making in the break maker, to see that it's not too wet then -- and everything looks ok. When the dough is complete, well, that's another story.

I finally decided to try a different recipe this past weekend, but it was too bread-like. We prefer a thin crust. I don't want to look for another recipe, I just want this one to work all the time. In fact, once the dough is rolled out an topped, it bakes and tastes just fine - great, even! It's just a bear to work with when it's really sticky. So, I'll be looking for any ideas that might make a difference in our pizza making! Thanks for any help you can offer!

Looking for more ideas or questions about what works for you and your family? Check out Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. I've never had a bread maker, so I may sound as ignorant as I am, but could you not knead in a little more flour when you take it out, then let it rest before you actually make your pizza? I'm unsure what part of the process happens in the bread maker.

    I make my pizza dough with my dough hooks in the mixer, then finish kneading by hand, and I just vary the amount of flour based on the feel. It's not uncommon that one bag of flour will be dryer than another, so if you get a fresher bag, it won't need as much liquid. No way to tell ahead of time, really. You might just try your recipe by hand once or twice and watch what happens. Do you always sift your flour or always not sift? 1 cup of sifted flour actually is less than 1 cup unsifted, so if you sift, it would end up stickier.

    Good luck!

  2. I have a pizza crust recipe that we love, but we are not thin crust fans.

    Your difference could be in the way that you are measuring. If you scoop the flour it is different than spooning the flour in the cup. It makes a difference in how much flour you actually end up with in the cup; scooping packs the flour more, which would mean a drier pizza dough (i.e., not so sticky).

  3. I would love to make my own pizza dough! But I really don't know how to bake. And that is frustrating.

  4. Our recipe is really easy. But any dough will be sticky if there's too much water/too little flour, so you could try adjusting yours a tad. My recipe is here:

    It's not as "bready" as, say, Pizza Hut's hand-tossed or pan crusts, but not generally as thin as thin & crispy. That said, how much you use and how thin you roll it out makes a difference. We usually roll it about 13" round, but you can roll the same amount out larger and it will be a thinner, crisper crust.

  5. Thanks for all the great comments. I'm looking forward to more success with our pizza dough making :)

    @Larissa - I'm just using the "dough" cycle to mix, knead and do a first rise on the pizza dough. It makes it a little easier as afternoons are pretty busy. It works perfectly for my bread as I prefer oven baked vs. machine baked. I do end up kneading in more flour if the pizza dough comes out sticky (the bread dough is always perfect, I don't know why!). I may try a batch by hand when we start a new container of flour, to get a feel for how much water we'll need. Thanks for the idea!

    @ Prudent Homemaker - I think that's part of the problem, I DO use different methods depending on how full the jar of flour is. I'll pay more attention to this, thanks!

    @dining room tables - you CAN make your own pizza dough! :) We started making our own pizzas by buying our dough from Trader Joe's - inexpensive and tasty! Then we "graduated" to making the dough. Just take things one at a time. At, you can find lots of recipes with comments and ratings, which makes it easier for you to be successful. Good luck, I hope you give it a try!

    @Rachel - thanks for that recipe! I'm interested in trying that "sponging" method, especially when we're short on time.

  6. I'm new to breadmaking, but one of the recommendations I've seen several times is to weigh your flour (versus measuring it out in cups) because flour will settle differently depending on how it's handled during processing/transport.


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