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How to Knead Dough for Pizza

  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart


  • 2 1/2 cup (350 g) bread flour (or other high-gluten flour)
  • 2 Tbsp.  (25 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. room temperature water



How to make Pizza Dough

Start by adding all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using a spoon, or your hand, stir until it comes together into a rough dough, for about 2 minutes.

Allow the dough to rest for five minutes, then turn it out onto a well-floured surface.

Using the heel of your hand, press the dough down and away from yourself. You want to stretch across the dough, not just press it down. This creates tension and helps build strength in the gluten strands as you knead.

Fold the dough over and again, stretch it away from yourself. Repeat the step over and over.

As you knead, you’ll feel the dough become smoother and less sticky. It will strengthen and become more springy. This is because the gluten is building longer protein chains and strengthening from your kneading.

Letting the Pizza Dough Rise

Cut the dough in half and roll them both into balls. Smooth oil over each ball and set it on a plate or pan. Cover them with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft free place.

Allow them to rise until double. This should take a couple of hours, but may take more or less time depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Shaping the Pizzas

Before shaping the pizzas, preheat the oven to 450° with a rack placed in the middle. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven before preheating.

Once the pizza dough has risen, it’s ready to shape. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with semolina flour or fine cornmeal.

Place the pizza dough on top and begin to gently press it outward with your hands, turning it to create a circle.

When the dough begins to spring back, lift it up and drape it over your knuckles. Stretch and rotate it over your fingers to stretch it out larger.

Return the pizza crust to the parchment paper and shape it to make sure it’s in a circle, with the edges being slightly thicker.

Baking the Pizzas

Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the crust, leaving the thicker part of the dough uncovered. Sprinkle it generously with mozzarella cheese, then add any toppings of your choice.

Use a baking sheet to lift the pizza. Open the oven and quickly slide the pizza onto the baking stone. Shut the door again as quickly as possible to avoid losing a lot of heat from the oven.

Bake the pizza for 14-16 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is a deep golden brown.

Serving the Hot Pizza

After removing the pizza from the oven, allow it to set for about 5 minutes. Then slice and serve immediately–it’s best when very hot!

If you’re adding any fresh toppings, like basil or arugula, those should be added just before slicing.