Pizza is a favorite food in my household. While researching some statistics for this post, I stumbled upon numbers that some might find surprising. Given how much pizza my children eat, I am not surprised by US pizza consumption statistics. Americans eat and spend a lot of money on pizza. We are dedicating a blog series featuring pizza. We want to show you how to make homemade pizza from scratch, and given how much we spend on pizza, it might be a good idea to start making NY-Style pizza at home.

Did you know that the average American eats 40 pizzas a year? 

I can attest to that statistic. My family eats, orders, and makes pizza often. I have two picky eaters and sometimes on busy weeknights, popping a frozen pizza in the oven is how we get through homework and family time, without staying up way too late. When I was a stay-at-home parent, making nighly dinners was manageable. Now that my partner and I both work, pizza nights help our transition to a two-working parent household without sacrificing family time.

Whether pizza is your favorite Friday night tradition, or one of the only things your kids will eat, making pizza at home can be fun and healthy. Making pizza at home is also inexpensive when compared to ordering out. The average of 12 in pizza is almost $14.00. My 6-year-old and 8-year-old together can finish off more than half of a 12 in pizza. As your family grows, pizza nights can get more expensive.

Homemade Pizza sauces are an excellent way to sneak extra veggies into your kids’ eating patterns too!

Why Make Pizza Dough at Home?

Up until about six years ago, we primarily ordered out when eating pizza. We lived in New Haven County, Connecticut, and had access to some of the best pizza in the country. From Sally’s to Modern Pizza, and even a local, less famous pizza joint that landed in the top five in the United States. We didn’t need to buy frozen or make NY-Style pizza ourselves.

While they call it New York Style Pizza, everyone should know the best pizza in the country comes from New Haven, CT.

Then a job offer relocated us to Northwest Illinois, and our pizza fantasies were left a thousand miles to the east.

While I tote my expertise in pizza judgment, I should first admit that I have still, in the six years living in Illinois, have not had a Chicago-Style pizza. We keep meaning to try Lou Malnati’s in Chicago, but the wait time for a pizza is HOURS.

Thin crust, crispy, high temperature fired pizza is hard to beat, in my humble opinion. So when we moved, we had to learn to make pizza or suffer from mediocre pizza for the rest of our lives.

Knowing how to make things from scratch is part of what qualifies me as a Makers Maker Stuff writer. We at Makers Make Stuff know how to make things. Sometimes our skills come from our passion, and sometimes (like in the case of pizza) our abilities come from necessity.

So, let me share how to make delicious, NY-Style pizza at home, no matter where you live….even Illinois.

NY-Style Pizza Dough Recipe: 

NY-Style pizza dough sits in the fridge for 72 hours before it’s ready.

It took me six years to bring this recipe to as close as I can to real tasting NY-style pizza. As I sit and type this, my recipe is on a crinkled and worn piece of paper with words, images, and cooking times scratched all over it. This recipe sits in a drawer of my office desk next to a similar piece of paper with my homemade soap recipe and other essential documents, like my kids’ social security cards.

I recently shared my no-cook pizza sauce recipe with you which pairs perfectly with this pizza dough recipe. Follow along as I work on a pizza series to help you craft delicious pizza at home.

Note: It takes THREE days for your NY style pizza crust to be ready for firing, baking, or grilling.

I know…I’m sorry!

The 72-hour proofing is what makes NY-Style pizza so delicious. The yeast creates a slightly sour flavor in the crust while it sits in the fridge for 72 hours, slowly eating away at the sugars in the dough. I always make enough to freeze some for easier pizza making. This recipe makes 6 12-inch pizzas.

Ingredients: 

  • 5 1/2 cups of all-purpose or bread flour. I switch back and forth between all-purpose and bread flour. Bread flour creates a slightly more elastic dough that will stretch better for you, but it absorbs more water, so you may need to increase your water so that you don’t have a dry dough. I always recommend a wetter dough vs. a dry dough. 
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Kosher salt. 
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar. 
  • 1-2 teaspoons of yeast. If you cant proof your dough for 72 hours, throw in a full 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. I find 1 1/2 teaspoons the right amount of yeast for a 72-hour proof. 
  • 2 1/4 cups of room temperature water. You may need an additional 1/4 cup of you are using bread flour. 
  • 2 tablespoons of high-quality olive oil. 

Directions: 

  1. Activate your yeast: Combine the sugar and water in a measuring cup. Stir in your yeast and set aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. The yeast should start to foam and rise in your measuring cup, indicating that its active and ready. If your yeast doesn’t foam up, it means it old, or no longer active yeast. Some people skip this step, but I always activate my yeast. 
  2. Combine your dry ingredients: Mix your flour and salt in a large bowl. I usually make my pizza dough in a large plastic bowl with a lid so that I can transfer it right into the fridge for the 72-hour proof.
  3. Add in your wet ingredients: Add your olive oil, and yeast mixture to the flour. Stir to combine. I generally use a dough-whisk when making bread and other doughs. It makes stirring a lot easier on my wrists. 
  4. Hand knead your dough. You can do this right in your bowl or on the counter. For this step, you want to avoid adding any excess flour, which will dry out your pizza crust. Be patient with the process. The dough will stop sticking to your fingers as the gluten develops. It should take you 5-10 minutes to get a somewhat smooth ball of dough. Since your dough will be going through a long proofing process to develop the glutens, you don’t have to knead it to a completely smooth ball of dough. 
  5. Drizzle your dough ball with olive oil, cover, and refrigerate for 72-hours. Make sure your dough ball is covered with a light coating of olive oil to keep it from drying out in your container. I use a large container like this to allow room for the dough to rise and spread out while proofing. 

Ready to Shape and Bake: 

NY-Style Pizza dough should be translucent in the middle with a slightly thicker crust

If I am planning on making pizza on a Saturday, I prep the dough on Wednesday. The 72-hour cold-proof will give you a delicious sour taste in your dough like traditional NY-Style pizza. If you are in a rush for same-day pizza, you can use the full amount of yeast and do a standard rise on your counter.

Tips for stretching NY-Style Pizza Dough:

  • Take your dough out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Cold pizza dough won’t stretch. Let the dough warm up on your counter before you divide it for pizzas. 
  • Divide into six even pieces, shape them into a circle, and rest on your counter for 30 minutes. Be sure to cover them with plastic wrap so that they don’t dry out on your counter. 
  • When stretching your dough, allow it to rest for a couple of minutes during stretching. If you find your dough is shrinking back on you, stop and give it a minute and then resume stretching. I find a combination of hand pulling and using the pizza pan to push out and shape the dough to the pan easiest for the beginner pizza stretcher. 
  • Use lots of flour for the stretching process. I begin by dipping the entire dough ball in a bowl of flour.

I find this video super helpful when learning how to hand stretch pizza dough.

Remember, the shape of the pizza won’t impact your flavor! As long as you can get your pizza dough to roll out thin enough to bake up crispy, it doesn’t matter how it looks. Sometimes the most delicious pizza is the worst looking pizza.

Topping and Baking Your NY-Style Pizza: 

Once you’ve stretched your pizza dough out and placed it on a pan, you’re ready to top it and bake it. Using your favorite pizza sauce and toppings, create your pizza. You can go with classic cheese or pepperoni, or use whatever toppings you choose.

Keep in mind, a pizza with lots of toppings will take a few minutes longer in the oven or on the grill.

Baking your NY-Style pizza:

A NY-Style pizza uses a wood-fired oven to create a delicious crispy pizza in minutes. You probably don’t have access to a wood-fired oven. My preferred method of baking pizzas is on the grill or smoker or outdoor pizza oven because I can get the temps super hot without heating my house. But a 500-degree oven will do. I can get my electric smoker up to 560 degrees, which is what I do to grill my NY style pizzas.

Once you get your oven or grill as hot as it can, the pizzas cook up in 9 minutes. Pizzas with heavy toppings can take anywhere from 10-12 minutes.

NY Style-Pizza has a crispy crusty, slightly browned or burnt cheese, and hopefully no floppy slices.

This dough recipe can be made and then frozen after its proofed for 72-hours and divided. Freeze one crust in a freezer bag. When you are ready to use your frozen pizza dough, defrost it in the fridge overnight and then allow to rise and come to room temp on your counter all day. The coating of olive oil will help to keep it from sticking to your bag.

Tips for NY-Style Pizza:

  • Long cold proofing for a flavorful crust (72-hours).
  • High temp cooking (as high as you can get your grill or oven to go).
  • Your favorite toppings and sauce combinations. 

Remember, the shape isn’t as important as you learn how to hand-shape pizzas.

What are your go-to pizza toppings? 

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