If you're on the hunt for that perfect slice at home, look no further than this delicious Roberta's pizza dough recipe. For years, Roberta's Pizza in Brooklyn has drawn global acclaim, enticing pizza aficionados with its renowned pies. Having refined the original recipe through countless workshops, I'm thrilled to share my expert tips and tricks with you!
For how many times I've made this recipe, it's unconscionable that I've yet to share it with you all! It all started when I had my first slice of Roberta's Pizza while living in New York City several years ago.
Their wood-fired pizza, with a thin crust and slightly soft interior, reminded me of a cross between a classic Neapolitan pie and a NY-style slice. The toppings were simple but well-seasoned and high-quality; the fresh mozzarella and spicy pork sausage were made in-house. Immediately, I knew I had to try to make it at home.
👩🏽🔬 Recipe Testing
Thankfully, they came out with a wonderful homemade pizza recipe in their cookbook, Roberta's Cookbook. I kept most of the original recipe as is, tweaking steps here and there to suit my own preferences. Here are a few key notes:
- Yield: The recipe yields two 12-inch pizzas, which is plenty for 2 people (or 4 people with a couple of sides, like my kale caesar salad and whipped ricotta).
- Yeast: The actual restaurant uses a sourdough starter, but I've opted to include the version with store-bought yeast, which is more easily accessible and, well, simpler!
- Timing: The New York Times includes a variation for an easy and quick 3 - 4 hour rise time at room temperature. However, after trying it many times, I don't recommend this. The dough really needs at least 24 - 48 hours in the fridge for optimal flavor and texture, which I discuss more in my cold fermented pizza dough recipe.
🥘 Ingredient Notes
Flour: The recipe uses a mix of 00 flour and all-purpose flour. 00 flour is an Italian pizza flour with a fine texture. I recommend Antimo Caputo, which has a moderate protein content that will produce enough gluten for a sturdy, chewy crust.
For the AP flour, they specifically recommend King Arthur, likely because of its higher protein content. However, I've had success substituting 50% of the flour with a bread flour, too.
Yeast: I prefer instant yeast because it doesn't require any sort of activation prior to adding, but you can substitute active dry yeast in a 1:1 ratio. Just make sure to mix the yeast with the liquids (not the dry ingredients) to ensure it's properly activated.
Salt: Fine sea salt, kosher salt, and table salt all have different levels of salinity per volume, so if you're not using a scale, pay careful attention to the ingredient notes.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card.
TIP: For best results, use a kitchen scale. They're super cheap and will produce the most accurate result. If you're interested in learning more about the science behind pizza making, I have a great guide to thin-crust pizza.
After stretching, top with pizza sauce (this San Marzano sauce is my personal favorite) and your favorite toppings.
- Baking Steel: A baking steel cooks 30% faster than a stone, so that's what I have at home, but a stone will work too.
- Pizza Peel: A pizza peel is very helpful for launching into the oven. If you don't have one, you can also build the pizza on top of parchment paper.
- Proofing Containers: You can get a large proofing container or even just use a large baking pan. I often use plastic deli containers as well, since they're cheap!
🔪 How to Make Roberta's Pizza
Make the dough:
Step 1 - Mix the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and yeast (Image 1).
Step 2 - Form the well: Form a well in the center of the flour, and add the extra-virgin olive oil and lukewarm tap water (Image 2).
Step 3 - Mix: Slowly begin incorporating the wet ingredients into the flour mixture (Image 3).
Step 4 - Knead: Knead for about 3 minutes (Image 4), just until a shaggy, sticky mass forms. At this point, it does not need to be smooth by any means, but it should not have any dry spots (Image 5).
Step 5 - Autolyse: Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture rest for 15 minutes. The autolyse period helps hydrate and kickstart the gluten process (Image 5).
Step 6 & 7 - Knead: On a heavily floured surface, knead the rested dough for 3 - 5 minutes until smooth and tacky (a little bit of stickiness is okay) (Images 6 & 7).
TIP: The dough will be quite sticky as you first begin kneading, but over time it should smooth out. You may need a bit more or less flour depending on the humidity of your kitchen.
Step 8 - Form into a large dough ball (Image 8).
Divide and chill:
Step 9 - Divide the dough: Divide into two equal pieces (Image 9).
Step 10 & 11 - Shape: Form each piece into a circular ball of dough. To do so, I like to grab the edges of the dough, bring the corners into the center, and pinch them together (kind of like a ball of mozzarella). Then, I place the dough on a clean work surface, seam side down, and cup it in my hands to shape into a ball (Images 10 & 11).
Step 12 - Chill: Grease a proofing container with a little olive oil, add the dough ball, and cover. Transfer to the fridge to proof for 24 - 48 hours (Image 12).
TIP: Make sure to oil the plastic wrap or lid of the container, too, so there's no stickage!
Stretch and bake:
Step 13 - Thaw: Remove from the fridge and proof to room temperature, about 45 minutes. This is also a good time to preheat your oven and stone/steel (Image 13).
Step 14 & 15 - Stretch: In a small mixing bowl, combine a 50/50 mixture of 00 flour and semolina flour. Making one pizza at a time, remove the dough from the container and dip in the flour. Transfer to a wooden cutting board (or pizza peel) and build the pizza.
Create a crust rim by gently using your index finger to press along the outer edge, approximately ⅔-inch from the border. After shaping the rim, exercise caution to avoid compressing the outer edges, as this contributes to the distinct raised crust during baking (Image 14).
Raise the dough and position your knuckles along the inner edge of the dough. Allow gravity to gently stretch the pizza as you rotate your knuckles in a circular motion until it achieves the desired size (Image 15).
Step 16 - Top: Flour the surface, once more, to prevent sticking. Top with your desired sauce and toppings (Image 16).
Step 17 - Bake: To launch, hold the peel parallel to your stone or steel and firmly slide the pizza onto it. There’s no need to rush it; you can do this slowly to get the hang of it. Immediately close the oven and bake at the highest oven temperature for 3 - 4 minutes until the bottom browns. Then, broil on the top rack for 1 - 2 minutes to finish the top.
Storage: Leftover dough can be stored in an airtight container for up to 48 hours; after that time, it can start to "over-ferment" so it may lose some structure.
💭 Expert Tips
Customize Your Style
- Images 17 and 18 depict the exact same pizza dough with different "styles." Image 17 shows a much thinner, larger pizza with a crispier crust, while Image 18 shows a smaller pizza with a thicker crust.
- The only difference is that I stretched out the pizza more thinly in Image 17 including the rim; In 18, I left it thicker. I encourage you to try the different styles and see which one you like best!
- When stretching and topping, you need to be quick. The longer you handle the dough, the stickier it gets.
- If you're building on a pizza peel, give it a shake every so often; if the pizza easily moves, it's good to go. However, if it's sticky, gently lift the dough and add a bit more flour to the surface.
Don't Overload the Pizza
- This type of pizza cannot handle tons of sauce or toppings. You really only need 2 - 3 tablespoons of sauce for this kind of pie.
- If you overload the pizza, it can make it impossible to slide off the peel or even tear the pie.
There are so many great tips to making good pizza, but my favorite one is time. Time transforms the texture and flavor of the crust into something magical! There's a reason so many pizza shops ferment their dough in the fridge for at least a couple of days.
The easiest way to ensure your pizza is circular is to *start* with a circular dough ball. I like to form each ball like a dough of mozzarella, then cup it on the counter to create tension and keep it in a circular form.
Yes, you can. I recommend building it on parchment paper set atop a large baking sheet. Then, gently slide the parchment paper onto your stone or steel. With this method, I do not recommend broiling the pizza because the parchment can catch on fire.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Roberta's Pizza Dough Recipe
For the dough:
For the dough:
- Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine 153 grams 00 flour, 153 grams all-purpose flour, 8 grams Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, and ½ teaspoon instant yeast. Form a well in the center of the flour, and pour in 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and 202 grams lukewarm tap water. Using your hands, or a wooden spoon, Slowly begin incorporating the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
- Mix: Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, just until a shaggy, sticky mass forms. At this point, the dough does not need to be smooth by any means, but it should not have any dry spots.
- Autolyse: Wipe the bowl clean, shape the dough into a large ball, and place it back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Note: This is the autolyse period, which helps hydrate the dough and kickstart gluten development.
- Knead: On a well-floured surface, knead the rested dough for 3 - 5 minutes until smooth and tacky (a little bit of stickiness is okay).TIP: The dough will be quite sticky as you first begin kneading, but over time it should smooth out. You may need a bit more or less flour depending on the humidity of your kitchen.
- Divide and Shape: Divide the dough into two equal pieces using a knife or bench scraper.Working with one ball at a time, gather the corners of the dough towards the center. Once you've gathered the edges and formed a rough spherical shape, pinch the center of the dough where all the gathered edges meet. This will seal the dough and create a "seam", kind of like a ball of mozzarella.Place the dough on your work surface with the seam side facing down. Gently cup the dough with both hands, lightly pressing it against the work surface as you rotate it in a circular motion. This motion helps create a smooth, round shape. As you continue to rotate and cup the dough, you'll notice it tightening and becoming smoother. If you have any rough edges or seams, you can gently tuck them under the dough ball to smooth them out. Repeat with the remaining dough ball.
- Chill and Proof: Grease a proofing container with a little olive oil, add the dough balls, and cover. Transfer to the fridge to proof for 24 - 48 hours.TIP: Make sure to grease your lid (or plastic wrap) with oil to prevent sticking.
For baking (classic Margherita pizza):
- Prep Oven: Place your baking tool of choice (stone or steel) over a rack set on the bottom-third of the oven. Place the top rack 5 - 6 inches from the broiler. Preheat your oven to its highest temperature (likely somewhere between 500℉/260℃ and 550℉/288℃) for at least 45 minutes. Thaw: Remove the dough balls from the fridge and thaw to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
- Flour: In a shallow bowl, combine about ½ cup semolina flour and ½ cup 00 flour. Remove one dough ball from the container and dip it in the flour mixture. Transfer the dough to a wooden cutting board or pizza peel.
- Stretch and Shape: Gently press along the outer edge of the dough to create a crust rim, about ⅔-inch from the border. Position your knuckles along the inner edge of the dough and gently stretch it in a circular motion until it reaches the desired size. TIP: Avoid thinning out the outer edges if you want to a traditional raised crust. Make sure to keep checking if the pizza is sticking, adding additional flour as needed.
- Top: Using a small spoon or ladle, spread 2 - 3 tablespoons pizza sauce in a circular motion. Arrange with 3 ounces mozzarella and add a drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake: To launch the pizza, hold the peel parallel to your stone/steel and gently slide the pizza onto it. Bake for 3 - 4 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely browned.Using the pizza peel, carefully transfer the pizza to the top rack and broil on 'HI' for 1 - 2 minutes until nicely browned on top. Remove from the oven, top with fresh basil, slice, and serve.
- Repeat stretching, topping, and baking process with the remaining dough ball (using the remaining half of the toppings). And make sure to switch the oven setting from 'Broil' back to 'Bake' before baking.