I’ve always been intimidated by the thought of making my own bread and dough, and my mom was too for a long time. It wasn’t until a trip to London and Berlin over the holidays in 2014/15, where one of our old family friends, Lea, showed us how her family does it. Lea is German-Italian, and she stayed with us as a young student in high school years ago and we’ve stayed in touch with her over the years. Now an architect in Vienna, she taught my mom and I many Italian recipes that have, over time, become our family’s favourites.
To feed our group of eight with minimal mess, we decided on pizza. In Berlin, Lea mixed the dough by hand, stretched it out, and then rolled it with a bottle of wine we were about to open. For our large group we made 4 different Italian pizzas under the instructions of Lea, and since that night my mom makes pizza about once a week, with the same dough recipe.
My mom, in her expansive kitchen, is lucky enough to have a Cuisinart mixer. I, in my small kitchen with its limited storage, do not have that same luxury. However, with this recipe, my mom made dough in the mixer and I made my dough by hand side-by-side, with no recipe modifications – it is possible! I was also concerned about my notoriously weak arms with kneading the dough, but that was no issue either. This dough recipe truly is for everyone. It is simple, delicious, and provides an excellent blank canvas for whatever pizza you want to create.
With this blog I hope to do a seasonal pizza, featuring the produce of the season. Stay tuned for that! Tonight, I used Minimalist Baker’s incredible butternut squash veggie pizza recipe, but with my mom’s dough recipe. With Minimalist Baker’s recipe, I substituted beautiful purple kale for the broccolini and doubled the amount of chickpeas.
Without further ado, here we go:
MOM’S PIZZA DOUGH
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Total time: 40 minutes to an 1 hour 10 minutes
- 3 cups all purpose flour, with an additional small amount set aside
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp dried active yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- In a large bowl, add flour, salt, olive oil, sugar, and yeast. Be sure to add yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl, to prevent premature activation of the yeast.
- With the extra flour you set aside, flour your hands. Make a well in your mixture (just a slight hole in the centre). Slowly, add the first cup of water to your well while kneading and mixing the dry ingredients together. Continue to slowly add the water while mixing. The dough will be stringy at first but continue to fold together and slowly add the water. If the dough is stuck to your hands, add some more of your extra flour to remove the dough.
- Continue to fold and knead the dough for 10 minutes. The more you knead, the more activated the yeast becomes.
- Once the dough is smooth, push the dough together in a ball on a piece of floured parchment paper, and flip your used bowl on top of the dough. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- When done, cut the dough in half (optional. In the last photo, the dough was not split and our pizza was HUGE! I would recommend halfing the dough to make two pizzas). Spread the dough into your desired pizza shape with your hands, rolling pin, or a parchment-wrapped wine bottle (just don’t spill any wine!). Add your desired sauce, toppings, and cook at 425 F for 15 to 20 minutes on a cookie sheet* or pizza stone with parchment paper, or until the crust is golden brown.
* If using a cookie sheet, remove the pizza from the sheet (keeping the parchment paper) and cook directly on the oven rack. This will crisp your crust! Do this after 5 to 8 minutes after the pizza has been cooking on the cookie sheet.