Quick Pizza Dough via James Beard

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When it comes to bread, I go to James Beard and my trusty, oil stained and flour dusted copy of his Complete Book of Breads.  This pizza dough is like a 101 in bread making.   It’s forgiving, fun and fast. 


  • 4 t (1 1/2 packets) active dry yeast or 3 t instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 6 T extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for  the bowl
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


  • Put the yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Add the lukewarm water and stir with the paddle attachment on low to dissolve.
  • Add 6 T of olive oil and 1 cup of the flour and beat on medium-low speed for a minute or so until smooth.
  • Switch the attachment to the dough hook.
  • Add another cup of flour and the salt and mix well.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and put the machine on low until the dough forms a mass around the hook.
  • Let the machine knead the dough for 2 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and scrape out the bowl.
  • Knead for a minute or two, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball.
  • Place a teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of a large, clean bowl.
  • Place the ball of dough in the bowl and move it around to coat with the oil.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and set in a warm place, such as near a preheating oven or in an oven that has a pilot light, to rise until the dough doubles in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough and divide in half (or into quarters, if making smaller pies).

To bake:

  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Transfer formed dough to pre-heated pizza stone or lightly oiled baking sheet.
  • Brush dough with olive oil (if no topping) and bake 10-15 minutes, or until golden.
  • If baking with sauce and toppings, top as desired, leaving visible crust around edges.  
  • Brush crust edge with olive oil.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.