Classic pizza base dough

‘Our PizzaExpress dough recipe is a secret but this one is the nearest to an authentic Italian pizza'

Makes 2 pizza bases


  • 150ml/¼pt tepid water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 15g/½oz fresh yeast or 2 level tsp dried yeast
  • 225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for working
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Pour the water into a bowl. Add the sugar and crumble the fresh yeast into the liquid then swirl until the sugar and yeast are dissolved. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it over the surface of the water and whisk it in with a fork. Allow the mixture to stand for 10- 15 minutes in a warm place until froth develops on the surface.

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast liquid. Lightly oil or flour your hands and gradually incorporate the flour and liquid until they bind together.

Sprinkle the work surface generously with flour. Tip the dough onto the surface and scrape out any sticking to the bowl. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth, silky, soft and supple. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Next, “knock it back” to release large air bubbles which would make the pizza uneven. To do this, rub a little oil or flour on your fingers and slide them down the side of the bowl, gently lift up the dough and punch it down again. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces by pinching it in the middle with your thumb and forefinger.