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YUP, I THINK WE ALL NEED TO HAVE A LONG & INTELLIGENT TALK in order to understand and to demystify "foolproof" thin crust pizza dough ingredients and techniques  (once and for all) … pffffffff !

Some equations and calculations will also be necessary … but WHY ?

Because when you use only 6 BASIC INGREDIENTS : flour + salt + water + oil + yeast + sugaralot can go wrong !

It should be EASY and UNDERSTANDABLE and ADAPTABLE and SCALABLE and FOOLPROOF and it will require a few trial & error experiments, spending some time reading the flour bag labels, using a kitchen scale and a calculator until you figure out what’s exactly right for you and after figuring all that out (you should do tests with topping-less cooked dough), you will no longer need any written instructions … Are we GOOD so far ?!

1st question : how much or what ratio of dry ingredients to wet ingredients ? (using a calculator and a digital kitchen scale and a simple math equation).

2nd question : what is the flour you’re using now and how and/or can you improve it ? (check the flour label for the composition and protein (aka gluten) content and figure out how finely ground it is).

3rd question : how much should you knead it and let it rest ? (warm hand-kneading or cold machine kneading and a timer).

4th question : when do you want to bake and eat it ? Is it for tonight or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow ? (yeast quantities and room temperature and/or refrigerator temperature dough rises).

5th question : toppings ? (how little or how much, at what temperature and should they be plump & fresh or slightly dried out).

6th question : how will you bake it and where in the oven ? (oven temperature and oven rack position).

1st answer :      * here’s the magical equation :

 360 + 10 = 370 x 66% = 245 = 235 + 5 + 4 + 1 
360  grams
(finely-ground high-protein flour or  flour + gluten mix)
10 grams
(fine sea salt)
370 grams
(total weight of mixed dry ingredients)
66 %
(ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients)
245 grams
(total weight of mixed wet ingredients)
235 grams
(warm water)
5  grams
(olive oil)
4  grams
(dry instant yeast)

1  gram
615  grams
(total weight of dough for 1 LARGE 45 cm pizza or 2 INDIVIDUAL 30 cm pizzas)

2nd answer : The TEXTURE* of the flour, which has to be very finely ground and silky (like cake or pastry flour) and the PROTEIN (aka GLUTEN) CONTENT** which should be high are both very important.

*Every country has its codes or types for FINER-GROUND FLOURS (T45 in FRANCE, TIPO 00 in Italy, T405 in Germany, PLAIN WHITE FLOUR in the United Kingdom, CAKE & PASTRY FLOUR in North America, etc.). Unfortunately, these very finely-ground and silky cake & pastry flours usually have a low protein/gluten content between 8-10%, unless you’re lucky enough to find Italian tipo 00 flour that is very finely-ground and also has a higher protein/gluten content between 13-15% usually (but it’s quite expensive if you live outside of Italy). This flour is usually made from wheat grown in colder climates, often referred to as “Manitoba Flour”. Bread flour has a higher protein content from 13-15% but it’s not fine nor silky enough for pizza dough (nor for pasta dough for that matter).

**The protein in wheat flour is called GLUTEN which is what gives the dough its elasticity and chewiness and allows the development of the dough’s rise and of the air bubbles or air pockets that get trapped inside. You need to start off by using flour that is finely-ground and then to pump up or boost the protein by adding some EXTRA GLUTEN* so you end up with 14% total  protein/gluten content (which is ideal) for pizza dough). I know it’s weird to hear someone say this I today since most people are steering away from GLUTEN and looking for GLUTEN-FREE and not EXTRA-GLUTEN. I think it’s industrial gluten versus organic gluten that makes the difference. Industrial gluten molecules are huge and difficult to digest while organic gluten molecules are smaller. Buy some VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN (as it is called), from any organic food store. Usually the protein/gluten content of this ingredient is always between 77%-83%. On average, a 500 gram bag of organic gluten will cost around 5€ but you can find 1kg bags for 5€ too. You’ll only use about 10-25 grams (1½ - 2½ tbsp) at a time (for 2 pizzas), added to your flour so it will be enough for around 40-100 individual pizzas. The total price of the flour with the gluten you will add to it, will end up costing you approximately 1€ per kg while that perfect Italian TIPO 00 flour can cost up to 5€ for 1kg (when purchased outside of Italy). So you see, it’s possible to get an appropriate homemade flour mix inexpensively.

3rd answer : This recipe fits in your HANDS, so hand-knead it. The warmth of the water and especially of your hands is necessary and very beneficial to the silkiness of the dough. You’ll KNEAD it 2 TIMES for 3 minutes with a BREAK or RESTING PERIOD of 15 minutes in between.

4th answer : The quantity of YEAST added depends on when you want to eat pizza and how tasty you want the dough to be. The amount of yeast you add, whether 1 tsp or ½ tsp or ¼ tsp also depends on how long you’re willing to wait 4-8-16-24 hours (depending of the room temperature and/or the refrigerator temperature). The less the amount of yeast and the longer and slower the rise, the better it will taste.

5th answer : The 2 balls of dough in this recipe for 2 INDIVIDUAL PIZZAS will weigh 615 GRAMS total or 307 GRAMS each. For an individual 30 cm thin crust pizza that weighs 307 grams before baking and 275 grams after baking, you could easily use almost 300 grams of toppings or up to double or almost 600 grams (sauce + cheese and/or sliced sausage and/or vegetables) per pizza, because this crust will hold  but your toppings should be at room temperature and your sliced vegetables should be slightly dried out (to avoid releasing too much water into the sauce) ... but we'll talk about that in 2 weeks !

6th answer : for the BAKING TEMPERATURE, my oven at home will never be as hot as a restaurant pizza oven (290°C-325°C) and actually, it never gets hotter than 225°C ! So I bake it at 225-230°C directly on the oven’s bottom surface for 3-4 MINUTES (to crisp the underside) and then for 10-15 MINUTES on the lower part/rack of the oven to bake the whole thing (the total time depends on the amount of toppings). Another little detail, I use “darker toasted flour” for sprinkling and flouring it, so it has that TOASTED-ROASTED PIZZA-OVEN taste.


Anyways, here’s the recipe & some calculations and next week we’ll talk about    PIZZA TOMATO SAUCE Yes, that’s PART 2 (out of 4) and it’s much shorter, easier & quicker ... :)

'foolproof' thin-crust pizza dough : part 1 (of 4) of the ‘pizza series’


2 x 30cm or 1 x 45cm


  • 360 grams (3 cups) finely-ground flour with high protein/gluten content (13-15%) or use 335-350 grams finer cake & pastry flour + 10-25 grams gluten (depending on the protein content of the flour you use)
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) fine sea salt
  • 235 grams (almost 1 cup) slightly warm water  
  • 5 grams (1 tsp) olive oil
  • 4 grams (1 tsp) dry active or instant yeast
  • 1 gram (1/4 tsp) sugar
  • + extra white flour & cornmeal or wheat semolina (for stretching out & baking) & toasted flour too (but that’s optional)


  • choose your flour (or flour mixes, I sometimes replace up to 20% of the cake & pastry flour with whole wheat flour) and check the label for the protein content per 100 grams and figure out how much gluten you will need to add (see the helpful calculations in the note below)*

*note : follow these instructions for your flour protein content and gluten addition : 9,00 g of protein per 100 g of flour, then use 335 g flour + 25 g added gluten; 10,0 g of protein per 100 g of flour, then use 340 g flour + 20 g added gluten; 11,0 g of protein per 100 g of flour, then use 345 g flour + 15 g added gluten; 12,0 g of protein per 100 g of flour, then use 350 g flour + 10 g added gluten ... etcetera !

  • in a large bowl, measure and weigh the flour and the gluten you will need to add to it, then add the 2 tsp of salt and mix everything well and set aside
  • in another bowl, add 235 ml (or grams) of water (slightly warmer than your touch) and  5 grams (1 tsp) of olive oil, then add 1 gram (¼ tsp) sugar and 4 grams (1 tsp) yeast and stir together and let sit 1 minute
  • add the warm water-olive oil-yeast-sugar mixture to the flour-gluten-salt mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until partly hydrated, then use both your hands to knead it (like a ball in your palms) for 3 minutes (sprinkle flour on your hands)
  • place back inside the bowl, cover and let it rest for 15 minutes until it looks smoother, then re-knead it for another 3 minutes
  • separate into 2 balls of dough (if you want to make 2 individual pizzas), sprinkle flour on them and place them in a large floured flat dish, cover and let rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours and then an additional 3-4 hours in the refrigerator (or see the note below for longer and colder rises)

note : if you would like to prepare your balls of dough 1 day in advance, reduce the yeast to ½ tsp, or reduce to ¼ tsp for 2 days in advance (the slower and longer the rise, the better it will taste) and let rise covered, in the refrigerator and let come to room temperature 1 hour before using ...

  • when ready to make your pizzas, remove the balls of dough from the refrigerator 15-30 minutes before and flour your work surface (I use toasted flour, see the note below)

note : to make toasted flour (for a toastier pizza oven taste), use ¼ cup (or more) in a frying pan (add no oil nor liquid) and keep stirring it at high heat for 7-10 minutes until very fragrant and darker in color, then let cool and place in an air-tight container and use a bit every time you sprinkle flour on pizza …

  • without using a rolling pin, slightly flatten and stretch out your balls of dough, sprinkle flour on the top, then turn over and heavily flour the underside (so it slides well)
  • turn over again and create indents with your fingers about 1-2 cm from the edge, then lift up gently and use your closed fists or knuckles to stretch out the dough in a circular motion, place the dough back on your work surface, check the size and then lift up again to re-stretch it out if necessary if not large nor thin enough
  • place the pizza dough disk on a large cool baking sheet that is well-floured (with toasted flour, regular flour and cornmeal) while another (bare & un-floured) baking sheet is being heated in the oven at 230°C (or hotter if you’re lucky)
  • slide the stretched-out dough onto the cool and floured baking sheet, add the room temperature toppings (1:1 ratio or 600 grams of toppings for 2 pizzas for a lighter pizza snack with salad or 2:1 ratio or 1200 grams of toppings for 2 pizzas for a real pizza meal)
  • remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, sprinkle with extra toasted flour and cornmeal and slip/slide the prepared and garnished pizza already on the cold baking sheet onto the hot baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes directly on the bottom of your oven (to crisp the underside) and then an additional 10-15 minutes on the lower rack (to bake the whole thing through) until golden and bubbly (the total baking time will depend on the quantity of your toppings)
  • remove from the oven, let it cool down 2-3 minutes, serve whole or sliced and then proceed with the 2nd pizza (if your oven is not large enough for 2 pizzas at once, like mine or if you didn’t make one much larger-sized 45cm pizza) …