There is simply nothing in the world quite like perfect pizza, and the key ingredient, no matter your taste preferences, is always the dough.
Each and every one of us prefers our dough a little different: some like it thick and flaky, some like it chewy, and some prefer it thin and crispy.
Let’s take a closer look at what affects the texture and consistency of pizza dough, as well as what home chefs can do to have perfectly crispy dough every single time.
It’s (Almost) All About the Flour
It should make perfect sense that the flour has the most to do with pizza dough consistency. After all, it is the key ingredient.
That said, it isn’t the amount of flour that you use that matters the most; instead, it’s the type. When you make pizza dough, you typically have the choice between recipes that call for one of three different types of flour: all-purpose flour, 00 flour, and bread flour.
The chief difference between these three types is the gluten proteins that they contain. Bread flour has the highest gluten content, followed by 00 flour, and all-purpose flour has the least (note: you should never use cake flour for pizza dough, and crust made from wheat flour is a whole different ball game).
A higher gluten content means a doughier crust, which is why bread flour is the obvious choice for those of us who prefer a chewy crust. When it comes to crispy crust-lovers, it isn’t as straightforward.
That’s because crust made from all-purpose flour tends to flake and is not as stretchy, meaning it is more difficult to knead. In short, all-purpose flour will yield a crispier crust, but it is going to require a higher level of skill to prepare.
If you want to try making pizza with all-purpose flour, just find a recipe that calls for it and give it a try. If you’re going to stick with bread or 00 flour, keep reading, and follow the rest of these tips for crispier dough.
Other Tips and Tricks for Crispy Dough
Use the right ingredients and follow your recipe
We say this all the time, but it is crucial that you use the exact ingredients that your recipe calls for and then follow the instructions strictly. This is especially important when you’re making something as delicate and precise as pizza dough; even slight variations can throw it off.
To make sure you’re prepared, read the entire recipe ahead of time. Leave yourself ample time and make sure you have everything you need before beginning.
It might go without saying, but for a crispy crust, try to find a recipe that specifically states that the dough will turn out that way.
Finally, use a food scale to measure your ingredients instead of measuring cups and spoons. A scale is more accurate.
Follow your recipe’s instructions, but as a good rule of thumb, you want to stop as soon as you achieve a smooth, soft texture.
Use the right equipment
While you can certainly make pizza with regular kitchen gear, it helps a great deal to have some special items. The first is a sweltering oven.
Hopefully, the oven in your kitchen will work, but if not, consider using a covered grill that might be able to reach higher temperatures. Use an oven thermometer to test the temperature of your oven.
If you have an electric oven, put the pizza on the very bottom rung. That way, the bottom of the pizza will be closest to the heat coils.
In addition, you need a pizza stone. These items do the best job of replicating a pizza oven by getting very hot and then conducting the heat evenly.
Pizza stones are made from raw ceramic, so they not only get very hot but also absorb excess moisture as the pizza cooks. This goes a long way toward preventing the bottom of your pizza from becoming soggy.
For crispier pizza, completely heat the pizza stone before putting the pie on it. This will take some skill, as you will need to get the pizza completely ready with toppings and then transfer the whole thing; a pizza peel can help a great deal with that task.
Drizzle with olive oil
Even if your recipe doesn’t call for it, drizzle or brush a little bit of olive oil onto the edges of your crust just before you pop it into the oven. Compared to other oils (such as vegetable oil), olive oil has a low burn temperature, so it will give your crust that extra golden glow in a hot oven.
The Simple Stuff
There are a couple of straightforward and very obvious tricks that you can try if you want a crispier crust. The first is to simply roll it out thinner.
This has its downsides, the biggest of which is that you risk burning the crust. In addition, the thinner you roll it, the greater likelihood that it will rip.
If it rips, you’ll have to ball it up and try again. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, except that the more you handle the dough, you’re technically kneading it, and the more you knead it, the chewier it gets.
So, use extreme caution when rolling out the dough. We strongly recommend doing so by hand rather than using a rolling pin to give you greater control.
Another obvious suggestion? Leave it in the oven a little bit longer.
As long as you don’t mind the crust being a little bit charred on the edges and the bottom, you can cook it for a few extra minutes to achieve a more desirable consistency. Just keep a careful watch on it, so it doesn’t burn.
To avoid some of the blackness on the bottom of the pie, sprinkle some cornmeal on your pizza stone before putting the crust on it.
The most important part? Enjoy your yummy culinary creation!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.