Some helpful hints on working with pizza dough―plus, where to find the freshest dough.

Dough and a rolling pin
Credit: Jim Franco


  1. Whether you’re making pizza or another recipe, to make the crust lighter and the dough easier to shape, place it on a lightly floured surface and press with the heels of both your hands. Fold it over, then press again. Repeat this motion for about 45 seconds total. Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and rotate to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm spot for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. To avoid sticking, bake on a lightly oiled baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal or flour.
  3. Pierce the dough with a fork.
  4. Use fresh pizza dough within 3 days of purchase. After sitting 3 days in the refrigerator, the dough may develop a sour taste.
  5. A ceramic baking stone yields extra-crispy crusts.

Where to Find Fresh Dough

A ball of fresh pizza dough can be tricky to find. Yes, you can always substitute Pillsbury pizza crust (available in tubes in the dairy section of the supermarket), but the ball of sticky dough will always taste more homemade. Some stores keep it with the cheese, some with the dairy, some with the produce, and still others with the pizza-making supplies. Some supermarkets don’t stock it at all.

If you come up empty-handed, try a specialty shop, like Trader Joe’s ( for store locations), where you can buy a 1-pound bag of the house brand for less than a dollar. Or ask your local pizza parlor if it will sell you some. Not all will oblige, but some will view the occasional dough sale as a public service that, if not enormously profitable, pays for itself in goodwill dividends.