Pizza Dough & Pizza Sauce

Rita Y

TVWBB Emerald Member
For a really good fresh-tasting pizza sauce, use one that is uncooked. Here is my adaptation of the Gemelli Pizza recipe in Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking Across America." I've been using it for at least 8 or 9 years. I think that Peter Reinhart has a similar recipe in his recent book "American Pie."

Her pizza dough is also excellent and the one I use for grilled or baked pizzas. After a 6-hour proof, it is VERY extensible! Retarding the dough is optional.


1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably Progresso or imported
1/2 teaspoon table salt (start with 1/4 tsp and then adjust to taste)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil (optional), or triple the given amount for fresh
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional), or triple the given amount for fresh
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves (optional), or triple the given amount for fresh
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced or crushed OR 1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder (sandy, not the fine powder)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar, or a combination of both (we prefer 100% lemon juice)

1. Stir all the ingredients together, adding the salt gradually, to taste. The basil, oregano, and marjoram are optional. I (Rita) use all three, but in an authentic Napoletana marinara pizza you would use only oregano in the sauce.

2. The flavors of the herbs and garlic will intensify when the pizza is baked, so resist the urge to increase the amount (you can increase the amount of either if not using both, but do not use more than 3 teaspoons total of the dried herbs, or 3 tablespoons total of the fresh herbs).

EDIT: Leftovers are really good over pasta, in Eggplant Parmesan, or where you'd use a marinara sauce (as in Mussels Marinara).


From "Artisan Baking Across America" by Maggie Glezer

• Makes 4 individual pizzas, to serve 4
• Time: About 6 1/2 hours, with about 20 minutes of active work

The wonderful thing about this professional method of making pizza dough is that it is so flexible. You can make the dough in the morning, let it rise all day, and bake your pizzas in the evening. You can also mix the dough up to 36 hours in advance, shape it into balls, and refrigerate it. The next morning, put the tray of chilled dough on the kitchen counter to proof all day, and it will be ready to bake in the evening.

What makes this method different is that it is cut and rounded into individual balls immediately after kneading. The dough then proofs, essentially skipping fermentation, giving it hours instead of minutes to relax before being shaped. Thus, this dough stretches out gorgeously into thin, even disks, even though it contains no oil.

The keys to making great pizza are to shape the dough exactly when it’s proofed enough and to bake it quickly at a high temperature, so the crust will be browned and well cooked but still flexible—it is not supposed to be crisp. Proofing enough but not too much is the essence of mastery. Well-proofed dough is light, extensible, and bubbly; overproofed dough collapses when it is handled. Ideally you would make your pizza as soon as your dough is well proofed, but if you are trying to time it for a dinner party, that can be hard. Consider that underproofed is better than overproofed.

3 1/3 cups (17.6 oz, 500 g) bread flour (pref. Gold Medal, or King Arthur bread flour) [100.0 %]
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (a.k.a. “Bread Machine,” “Perfect Rise,” or “RapidRise” yeast) [0.2 %]
2 teaspoons (0.4 oz, 10 g) table salt [2.0 %]
1 1/2 cups (12.0 oz, 330 g) water, lukewarm [66.0 %]

Note: I add 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon minced dried oregano &/or marjoram to the dough just before the end of mixing. You can also add some Parmesan or Romano cheese. -- Rita

by hand: Mix the flour, yeast, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix until the dough is shaggy and most of the water has been absorbed. Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead, without adding extra flour, until it is just blended but not too smooth. Cover the dough with a bowl and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is fairly smooth, using a dough scraper if it is difficult to handle.

by stand mixer: Measure the flour, yeast, and salt together in the mixing bowl and stir them together by hand. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed while pouring in the water; continue to mix on low speed just until the dough gathers around the hook, about 3 minutes. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate. Mix the dough on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the dough is fairly but not perfectly smooth.

by food processor: Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the workbowl fitted with the steel blade. Process for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients. With the machine running, pour in the water through the feed tube and process just until the dough forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Let the dough rest for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate. Process the dough until the work-bowl fogs, about 30 seconds. Remove it and hand knead it to cool it and redistribute the heat. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times, until the dough is fairly smooth.

Rita's food processor method: Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the workbowl fitted with the steel blade. Process for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients. With the machine running, pour in the water through the feed tube and process just until the dough forms a ball, about 30 seconds. LET THE DOUGH REST for about 10–15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate.
MEANWHILE, CHOP THE FRESH HERBS or measure out the dry herbs, if using.
PROCESS THE DOUGH until the workbowl fogs and the dough is fairly smooth, about 15 seconds. THEN ADD THE HERBS and process 5 seconds more. Remove dough and hand knead to cool and redistribute the heat. It will not form a gluten window.

This soft dough should feel sticky at first, and then soft but dry to the touch. Adjust the dough’s consistency with extra water or flour only if it is excessively sticky (add 1 tablespoon flour at a time) or stiff (add 1 tablespoon water at a time).

On a lightly floured work surface, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces, each 7 ounces (200 grams). Shape each piece of dough into a tight ball: Roll the dough up like a carpet, turn the roll around, position it seam side up, and roll the cylinder up again. Roll the cylinder perpendicular to itself a third time. Turn the dough so that the seam is on the bottom and round the dough under your palm into a tight ball. Roll each rounded piece in flour and arrange each on a floured tray. Cover the tray tightly with plastic wrap.

Let the balls of dough proof at room temperature until they are soft and puffy but still springy, 5 to 6 hours. Or refrigerate the dough, after shaping it, for up to 36 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator and let it finish proofing at room temperature for 7 to 8 hours. [I find that about 5 hours works better for me in normal kitchen temperatures; in cooler kitchens in the winter, 6 hours would be better. For a longer proof, reduce the yeast a little. - RY]

One hour before baking the pizzas, arrange a rack on the oven’s second-to-top shelf and place a baking stone on it. Clear away all racks above the one being used. Preheat the oven to its highest-possible temperature setting. Hopefully this will be between broil and clean—you are trying for 750°F (400°C), but 550°F (290°C) or even 500°F (250°C) will still work.

Flour your work surface well and place a fully proofed dough ball on it. Flatten the ball with your hands and press it into a disk. The easiest way I have found to shape the dough is to just pull it out gently between your hands, rotating the disk as each side is pulled. To perfect the shape, place one hand on the center of the dough (to prevent it from getting too thin, which it has a tendency to do) and gently tug around the edges until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick in the center and about 1/4 inch at the very edge. Keep a serving plate next to you and be sure not to stretch the dough larger than the plate’s diameter.

Emanuele’s shaping method, which is slightly different from the one in the recipe: After flattening the dough into a thin disk, press your cupped hands just up to the edge of the dough (this allows the edge to stay thicker). Next, spread your hands apart to stretch the dough. Finally, when fully shaped, the dough should be thin and round, the edge about 1/4-inch thick.

Place the shaped dough on a sheet of parchment paper or, if you are more confident, directly on a lightly floured peel, which could be any lightweight, rimless baking sheet. Spread about 1/4 cup sauce on the dough and scatter with 2 ounces cheese. Peel the pizza onto the baking stone or slide it, still on the paper, onto the hot stone. Bake until the crust has colored slightly, burning in spots and staying pale in other areas, and the cheese has melted. The baking time should be around 4 minutes if your oven is hot enough, up to 6 if it is cooler. Do not overbake the pizza. To serve, drizzle on a little olive oil and arrange 4 basil leaves decoratively on top. Shape, top, and bake the remaining dough balls one at a time but eat the hot pizza right away.


Rita’s Notes:
§ This dough makes pizzas with thicker edges that are nice and chewy. The centers are quite thin.
§ For smaller appetites, divide the dough into 6 portions.
§ To shape the dough into tight balls, you can roll the dough in a circular motion on a dry (not floured) countertop under a cupped palm. It just takes a little practice.
§ This is my favorite crust and I use the processor method but also sometimes make it by hand.
§ This crust works well on the grill. Smaller pizzas are easier to handle for the grill.
§ I love this sauce; it has a lovely fresh flavor…..and no cooking! I add about 3/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds and 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for brightness.
§ If your oven has a convection option, use it on its highest heat setting.
§ Don’t load the pizzas with a lot of ingredients. Choose 3 toppings, maximum, in addition to the sauce.
§ Fresh mozzarella is great, but part-skim mozzarella will make a good pizza if you’re watching calories and fat.
§ My family likes a crust with a little crunch on the bottom, so I lightly sprinkle yellow grits (white will do) on the parchment before adding the shaped pizza round. To me, it has a better texture than cornmeal.
§ The dough can be retarded (refrigerated, tightly covered) overnight. Give the dough an extra 30 minutes to ferment.
§ Extra dough balls can be rolled in flour, put into a zip-top plastic bag, and frozen for up to a month. Remove from the bag, put into the floured tray, and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Proceed with the fermentation as above.

EDIT: Added dough recipe and changed thread name to indicate that.
....Decreased the proof time to about 5 hours.
....Gold Medal changed the name (not the formula) for the Harvest King flour to Gold Medal Bread Flour

Rita Y

TVWBB Emerald Member
Chris, I didn't know where to post the dough recipe so I just added it underneath the Pizza Sauce recipe above and changed the name of the thread to reflect that.

Hope you catch this. I tried to email you privately but your email is not in your profile.

I hope you enjoy it,

Chris Notarpole

TVWBB Member
Thanks Rita!

I can't wait to try the dough recipe. As soon as I make it, I will drop you a line and let you know how it went.

Pray for and pizza dough do not get along...ask my family. They have suffered through some pretty bad crusts.

Rita Y

TVWBB Emerald Member
You'll be fine, Chris. Just remember that the dough will be very soft and stretchy after the 5- or 6-hour proof.

You can partially shape it just by holding it up by one edge and slowly turning it. It will stretch by its own weight. After you get it started, drape it over the knuckles of both hands and work them around the edge, stretching your hands wider as you go, to perfect the shape a little. Remember, the dough does not have to be perfectly round; a rustic shape is quite attractive and implies hand made. My first pizzas looked like Australia (my apologies, Phil H!), but they were tasty nevertheless.


Bryan S

TVWBB Olympian
Originally posted by Rita Y:
You'll be fine, Chris. Just remember that the dough will be very soft and stretchy after the 5- or 6-hour proof.

You can partially shape it just by holding it up by one edge and slowly turning it. It will stretch by its own weight. After you get it started, drape it over the knuckles of both hands and work them around the edge, stretching your hands wider as you go, to perfect the shape a little.

Yep, spot on directions as always from Rita. One of these days soon I'm going to put a video together for the pizza newbies on stretching dough. Once you see how to do it, it becomes quite simple. Just remember do not work the dough before stretching. You want the gluten relaxed before working it. Round relaxed dough (use a round container) makes round pizza.

Chris Notarpole

TVWBB Member
Rita and Bryan,
I guess my biggest problem is when all the ingredients are mixed, deciding if the dough is too sticky or else to dry. The whole adding a tsp of flour or water at a time till it is correct is the problem since I have no idea what it should look like in the first place.

I am ashamed to say that I used to work in the Italian restaurant as a short order cook but was never around when the dough was made. I can spin a dough in the air no prob but that is as far as it goes with messing with dough.

I will go with the recipe and let you know how things turn out.

Rita Y

TVWBB Emerald Member
Chris, if you have a scale, weigh the ingredients - those weights are the most accurate. Every time you measure flour by volume you'll get a different weight. If possible, go by grams first. Ounces are almost as good, and volume (cups) is the least desirable measurement for baking.

I go by the gram weights and rarely have to adjust anything in the dough. I prefer doing this dough in the processor, thus avoiding sticky hands. This also keeps you from adding too much flour. With practice you'll learn the feel of the dough quickly. Don't forget, it's only a little flour, so it's no big waste if you have to start over. Make the dough often so you'll retain the "feel" memory better. Jot down some notes to help you remember what works and what doesn't work for you. Ask questions.


Doug D

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I never got as good results with my dough until I started weighing everything-- water, too-- and trying to be as consistent as possible. It's amazing how a variation of just 10 grams-- about 1/3 ounce-- of one ingredient can noticeably affect the handling properties of 800 grams of dough.

Steve Petrone

TVWBB Diamond Member
Too wet can be a pain...I made 10 dough balls today. It was not fun cooking for others with overly limp -wet sticky dough. They did eat it though.

Bryan S

TVWBB Olympian
As Rita and Doug already have mentioned a scale is the best way to get consistent results from your pizza dough. I have used a scale to weigh out my flour and water from day one since I have 3 of them from home brewing, wine, and mead making. Salt and yeast just get measured out. If I do use oil and or sugar in the dough, (very rare) they just get measured out also.



Your recipe looks great ! I can't wait to try it here in Gwinnett County. If you don't mind here is another pizza recipe from America's Test Kitchen that I do on my Weber Performer. The extra olive oil in the dough helps it from sticking on the grill, however, I still oil up the grates. In fact, we make several batches of the dough and grill them and freeze them for later use. Just put some sauce and cheese on and pop them in the oven.

A step by step guideline for the recipe below is posted at Just search for pizza.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water (8 ounces), room temperature
2 cups bread flour (11 ounces), plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 pounds medium plum tomatoes (5 to 6), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces fontina cheese , shredded (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese , finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
1 recipe Spicy Garlic Oil (see associated recipe)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Coarse salt

. FOR THE CRUST: Combine oil and water in liquid measuring cup. In food processor fitted with plastic dough blade or metal blade, process bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, slowly add liquid through feed tube; continue to process until dough forms tacky, elastic ball that clears sides of workbowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. If dough ball does not form, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time and process until dough ball forms. Spray medium bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray or rub lightly with oil. Transfer dough to bowl and press down to flatten surface; cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in draft-free spot until doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. When dough has doubled, press down gently to deflate; turn dough out onto work surface and divide into 4 equal-sized pieces. With cupped palm, form each piece into smooth, tight ball. Set dough balls on well-floured work surface. Press dough rounds with hand to flatten; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. FOR THE TOPPING: Meanwhile, toss tomatoes and table salt in medium bowl; transfer to colander and drain 30 minutes (wipe out and reserve bowl). Shake colander to drain off excess liquid; transfer tomatoes to now-empty bowl and set aside. Combine cheeses in second medium bowl and set aside.

4. Gently stretch dough rounds into disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Working one piece at a time and keeping the rest covered, roll out each disk to 1/8-inch thickness, 9 to 10 inches in diameter, on well-floured sheet of parchment paper, dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. (If dough shrinks when rolled out, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until relaxed, 10 to 15 minutes.) Dust surface of rolled dough with flour and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough, stacking sheets of rolled dough on top of each other (with parchment in between) and covering stack with plastic wrap; set aside until grill is ready.

5. TO GRILL: Ignite 6 quarts (1 large chimney) hardwood charcoal or briquettes in chimney starter and burn until fully ignited, 15 to 20 minutes. Empty coals into grill and spread into even layer over three-quarters of grill, leaving one quadrant free of coals. Position cooking grate over coals and heat until grill is medium-hot, about 5 minutes (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill grate for 4 seconds); scrape grate clean with grill brush.

6. Lightly flour pizza peel; invert 1 dough round onto peel, gently stretching it as needed to retain shape (do not stretch dough too thin; thin spots will burn quickly). Peel off and discard parchment; carefully slide round onto hot side of grill. Immediately repeat with another dough round. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles (pierce larger bubbles with paring knife) and bottoms are grill marked and charred in spots, 1 to 2 minutes; while rounds cook, check undersides and slide to cool area of grill if browning too quickly. Transfer crusts to cutting board browned sides up. Repeat with 2 remaining dough rounds.

7. Brush 2 crusts generously with Spicy Garlic Oil; top each evenly with one-quarter of cheese mixture and one-quarter of tomatoes. Return pizzas to grill and cover grill with lid; cook until bottoms are well browned and cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes, checking bottoms frequently to prevent burning. Transfer pizzas to cutting board; repeat with remaining 2 crusts. Sprinkle pizzas with basil and coarse salt to taste; cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Rita Y

TVWBB Emerald Member
P, I'm glad I caught this. My email has been down yesterday and all day today, so I'm not getting the notifications.

If this is Cook's recipe for grilled pizza, I've tried it and it's good. I'm glad you posted it. It's been a while since I tried it but if I recall, it makes a flatter crust than the one I posted. My personal preference is for puffier, chewier edges, typical in a Neapolitan style pizza, where the emphasis is on the crust, and less so on the toppings.

The recipe I use has no oil, and I've never had a problem with it sticking to the grill. I usually stack my shaped dough rounds between lightly floured parchment squares and spray the top side of them with oil just before flipping them onto the well-oiled grill grate. You can add 1 to 3 tablespoons if you wish, and reduce the water about the same amount. I don't usually add oil to my dough unless I'm planning to reheat leftovers, and sometimes not even then.

TO REHEAT PIZZA: The best way I've found to reheat leftovers is to put them into a skillet or onto a griddle that has been preheated over medium-low heat until the crust is crispy. Often I don't even bother preheating.

Tim C

TVWBB Super Fan
thanks rita. we just made our first pizzas and the sauce was fantastic and very easy to make. we found a 16" screen and my wife had picked up some frozen dough at sams, the same dough they use for their pizzas. it was really good but im looking forward to making the dough as well. we just ordered a scale today. i can see this is something we will definately be making often.

Paul H

TVWBB Gold Member
Rita, I tried your pizza sauce recipe yesterday. I used ground tomatoes(6+1 brand). I had to make more than I really needed because of the size of the can. Froze some and kept one whole jar in the fridge. Unquestionably, the best pizza sauce I've tasted in a long, long, long time. Used it last night and even the wife enjoyed it. She's thinking about using it in other recipes. Yikes, I've created a monster
. Anyway, thanks for the great recipe.

Rita Y

TVWBB Emerald Member
Tim and Paul, I'm glad you liked the sauce. It's still a favorite of mine.

I don't usually freeze my leftover aauce; I find that it gets a little watery upon thawing. But I do put it into a quart Mason jar and FoodSaver it. It will keep for a month or longer in the refrigerator that way. It is so versatile that it doesn't stay in my fridge very long anyway.

Besides pizza, we like the sauce over a simple pasta side dish. To dress the pasta up for an entree, I sometimes do a quick vegetable saute or slice up some Italian sausage, onion, and peppers (Amy-Lou's chicken Andouille sausages are quite good). Use it also to sauce something like chicken or eggplant Parmesan, chicken saltimboca, or anything that calls for a marinara sauce.

A creamy tomato sauce is nice over pasta for a change, you can reduce some heavy cream in a skillet and then add some of the sauce until it's heated through.



TVWBB Olympian
Originally posted by Bryan S:
One of these days soon I'm going to put a video together for the pizza newbies on stretching dough.
OK Bryan. For the newbies, did you ever post this?

r benash

TVWBB Emerald Member
Originally posted by JimK:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Bryan S:
One of these days soon I'm going to put a video together for the pizza newbies on stretching dough.
OK Bryan. For the newbies, did you ever post this? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ditto - that would be good to see. I've been using Bryan's dough recipe. I have had some improvements, but it's still can be an issue. Even learned to toss and stretch with fists which helps quite a bit. But watching someone using the same dough recipe that used to work at a pizza shop would be great.