Pizza Americana

Pizza Americana

This is my go-to pizza dough recipe for pizzas I make in my oven. It’s a great all-purpose recipe, and is useful in its strength and ability to hold more toppings than other styles of dough. It produces a bread-like crust that’s both filling and deliciously tasty. And we all know that the dough is arguably the most important part of the pizza, as it is more often than not the culprit of making or breaking the final product.


  • 5 c. unbleached bread flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or 2 tsp. table salt)
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c. low-fat milk
  • 3/4 c. room-temperature water (approx 70° F)


  1. With a large metal spoon, stir together all of the ingredients in a 4-quart bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer until combined.
    • If mixing with an electric mixer, fit it with a dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until all the four gathers to form a coarse ball. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed for an additional 2 minutes, or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom. If the dough is too soft and sticky to hold its shape, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful; if it’s too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the tablespoonful.
    • If mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the spoon into room-temperature water and use it much like a dough hook, working the dough vigorously into a coarse ball as you rotate the bowl with your other hand. As all the flour is incorporated into the ball, about 4 minutes, the dough will begin to strengthen; when this occurs, let the dough rest for 5 minutes and then resume mixing for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the dough is slightly sticky, soft, and supple. If the dough is too soft and sticky to hold its shape, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful; if it’s too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the tablespoonful.
  2. Immediately divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Round each piece into a ball and brush or rub each ball with olive oil. Place each ball inside its own zippered freezer bag. Let the balls rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator overnight or freeze any pieces you will not be using the next day. If you are making the pizzas on the same day, let the dough balls sit at room temperature in the bags for 1 hour, remove them from the bags, punch them down, reshape them into balls, return them to the bags, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Remove the balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to roll them out to take off the chill and relax the gluten. At this point, you can hold any balls you don’t want to use right away in the refrigerator for another day, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.

Making the Pizza

  1. At least 1 hour before baking the pizza, place a pizza stone in your oven and heat to at least 525° F or higher.
  2. Remove dough from its bag and lightly dust with flour so it does not stick to the counter. Beginning at the center of the dough, begin stretching it by pressing out from the center, rotating often and flipping over as needed, leaving about 1″ around the edges slightly thicker than the rest.
  3. After stretching out the dough, place on a pizza peel that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal and flour, making sure to gently shake the peel to ensure the dough doesn’t stick and will slide off of the peel.
  4. Brush the sides of the dough (that won’t be covered with sauce) with olive oil to prevent it from drying out.
  5. Add your sauce and toppings to the dough, making sure once again to gently shake the peel every so often to keep the pizza from sticking to the peel.
  6. Slide the pizza off of the peel onto the prepared pizza stone and bake until the crust is golden and crisp to your liking, about 6-10 minutes.
  7. Remove the pizza from the oven using the pizza peel. Transfer to a baking sheet or cutting board, and let the pizza rest for a minute or two, then cut as desired.


Reinhart, Peter. American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2003. Print.


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