Now or Later Pizza Crust

Recipe by PJ Hamel

With a little chew and crunch from semolina, and the flexibility to be whatever style of crust you like, this recipe is a great favorite in our test kitchen. Whether you shape it thin or thick, and make it today or tomorrow, this dough bakes up crisp on the bottom and light and airy inside.

20 mins
12 to 16 mins
7 hrs 35 mins
two 9" to 12" pizzas
Now or Later Pizza Crust


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  1. For the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Beat the ingredients at high speed of your electric mixer, using the beater blade, for 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, and knead for 7 minutes; the dough should be smooth and quite soft. You can also make the dough in a bread machine set on the dough cycle. If kneading by hand, mix the ingredients, then let the dough rest, covered, for about 30 minutes; this will give the flour a chance to absorb the water, which will make kneading easier.

  2. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes; then refrigerate it for 4 hours (or up to 36 hours); this step will develop the crust’s flavor. It'll continue to rise in the fridge, so make sure it's in a big enough bowl.

  3. Divide the dough in half. Note: for thick, Sicilian-style pizza, leave the dough in one piece, and press it into a rimmed half-sheet pan (18" x 13").

  4. Working with one piece of dough at a time, pick it up and let gravity gently stretch it into an oval. For a more circular shape, move your hands around the perimeter of the dough as it stretches. Once you've gotten the dough into its general shape, place it onto a piece of parchment to finish shaping. For thin-crust pizza, make a 12" round or oval. For thick-crust, make a 9" round.  

  5. Cover the dough, and let it rest while you heat your oven to 450°F. For thickest crust, let your pizza rest/rise for 60 minutes before baking.

  6. To bake: After about 30 minutes, use a giant spatula or pizza peel to transfer the pizzas and parchment to your hot oven stone; or place the pizzas and parchment on a pan, and place the pan on the middle rack of your oven.

  7. Bake for 6 minutes (for a thinner, larger crust), or for up to 8 minutes for a smaller/thicker crust. Remove from the oven.

  8. To enjoy pizza right away, top it with your favorite toppings, return to an upper rack of the oven (not to the stone), and bake for an additional 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbly.

  9. To serve pizzas some other time, remove the parchment, cool the un-topped crusts, wrap them well in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. Refrigerate for up to 5 days; or freeze for up to 4 weeks.

  10. When you’re ready to serve, remove the crusts from the refrigerator or freezer. While they warm to room temperature, heat your oven to 450°F; frozen crusts should be taken out of the freezer and thawed earlier in the day; leave them in the bag, but leave the bag open as they thaw. Top crusts with your favorite toppings and place them on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet, then on an upper rack of the oven. Bake the pizzas for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbly.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Use 3 cups (372g) Pizza Flour Blend OR 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour in place of the all-purpose/semolina mixture, if desired. If you use all-purpose flour, reduce the water in the recipe to 7/8 to 1 cup.

  • Here are some of our favorite toppings: 

    • Thinly sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil
    • Garlic oil, sautéed wild mushrooms, goat cheese, and Parmesan cheese
    • Chopped onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, cheddar, and marinara
    • Garlic oil, shaved Brussels sprouts, pancetta, shallots, and Parmesan cheese
    • Pesto, red onion, roasted red peppers, sweet Italian sausage, and mozzarella cheese
    • Garlic oil, ricotta cheese, feta cheese, spinach, and Kalamata olives
  • Another way to bake: Instead of par-baking the crust, consider leaving off the cheese for the first two-thirds of the bake time. This allows liquid from the sauce and toppings to evaporate, concentrating their flavor. Melted cheese can act like a lid, trapping moisture and making dough soggy instead of crisp. After the edges of the pizza begin to brown, remove from the oven, add cheese, and return to the oven to finish baking.
  • Want to add some whole wheat to the crust? Substitute 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour for the semolina.