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  • Works for Me: Homemade Pizza Dough Tip

    I made homemade pizza for the first time in a long time last week, and to start, I turned to my new favorite cookbook, Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything.I didn’t use the recipe in it because it called for instant yeast, while I only had regular. But the information about pizza yielded the best tip I’ve ever come across: Let the dough rest during shaping.

    If you’ve made homemade pizza dough before, you’ve no doubt had the experience (or should I say, frustration) of shaping your pizza and having the dough shrink back. Bittman says that when the dough starts to shrink, you should leave it alone for a few minutes. Depending on how big your pizza is, you may have to do this lots of times, but it works.

    I made small, individual-sized pizzas, and I had to leave the dough once or twice while shaping it. (Based on Bittman’s writing, I was generous with the olive oil during shaping, so the dough was in no danger of drying out.) This was the first time I’ve ever been able to get the dough as thin as I like, all the way out to the edges. Marc and I agreed that it was the best homemade pizza I’ve ever made!

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We are THAT Family.


    1. Great tip! Waiting is so hard, though. 🙂

    2. Good tip…I don’t always remember to do that. May I ask what dough recipe you use?

    3. I was going to ask the same thing about the recipe. Have a package of instant yeast ready and waiting.

      Great tip!

    4. Chief Family Officer says:

      I used the recipe in David Joachim’s cookbook, Brilliant. I didn’t publish the recipe because it was just okay – while it was the best pizza I’ve ever made from scratch, that was mostly because I got the dough so thin and not because the dough tasted spectacular. This recipe from Emeril Lagasse is similar to the one I used, though.

      Next time, I might try this Mario Batali recipe, which might have better flavor thanks to the wine. (Oh, but then I might not be able to let the kids have it!)

    5. I agree! I remember making pizza dough from a mix when I was younger and it always shrunk. The other day I bought a mix and read it. I had no idea they wanted me to let it sit 15 minutes before shaping. {as a side note, its the same for tortillas if you make your own. Let the dough rest}

    6. Jennifer says:

      I just tried the recipe posted on The Simple Dollar last week, and it got raves. The best tip I picked up from there was to bake your crust for 6 minutes before putting on the toppings to prevent soggy pizza. Worked great!

    7. Chief Family Officer says:

      @Becca – Oh, homemade tortillas! I saw that you’ve posted about them but not with an actual recipe – will you please share your favorite? Thanks!

      @Jennifer – Thanks, I’ll have to check it out. Although I don’t recommend baking the crust first if it’s thin the way mine was, or it will get too hard.

    8. Jerralea says:

      Thanks for sharing this. I’ve had pizza dough rolled out to the edge of the stone and then it shrinks up. It’s so frustrating! Now I’ll try waiting before getting frustrated!

    9. We love making homemade pizza. Thanks for the tip.

    10. This is so true! We have a pizza night every week and we make whole wheat pizza dough, just letting it sit for 5 minutes after you’ve formed the pizza makes it so much nicer to eat. Great stuff!

    11. This is a great tip!

      I love homemade pizza put I have trouble making the crust be the size I want it and still get 2 pies out of the recipe. I’m trying to eat a more healthy diet and having thick pizza crust doesn’t work with that.

      I will try this tip next time.

      Thanks, ElaineH

    12. Anonymous says:

      You can use regular or instant yeast. It won’t make a difference.