Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Pizza dough with fresh yeast
( Impasto pizza con lievito fresco )

Authentic Italian recipe

Making pizza dough with fresh yeast is definitely the most common technique in Italy, but the problem is choosing the right amount of yeast. In fact, you should not feel any aftertaste of yeast eating your pizza, absolutely. So this means using very little yeast and increasing the time of pizza dough preparation by making 2 leavenings. In other words, when you have not enough time, the only option is to follow the instructions that are written on the package of your fresh yeast (do you know it better as brewer's yeast?) and some things that experience has taught me and that I'm going to point out here. On the contrary, if you have enough time, you can prepare a perfect pizza dough with less yeast and 2 leavenings. Keep in mind that this is not the recipe for pizza dough I prefer and normally do. But I have started from here many years ago and this method taught me a lot.

difficulty: medium

time: 1h 20 minutes

calories: 519 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 500g (1.1 pound) all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 25g (1ounce) fresh yeast
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 300ml (10 fluid ounces - 1 1/3 cup) warm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, if you want
  • 2 pinches of salt
medium difficulty
preparation: 20 minutes
plus rising time
total: 1h 20 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 519 (kcal) 26 % - 2169 (kJ)
Protein: 14.5 (g) 29 % GDA
Total fat: 10.9 (g) 16 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 96.7 (g) 36 % GDA
Sugars: 2.2 (g) 3 % GDA

Download free PDF version (1742 download).

Recipe for pizza dough with fresh yeast

Look at the video that is in Italian with subtitles in English or read directions below


  • - Place flour on a work surface. You can prepare your pizza dough in a bowl too.
  • - Make 2 wells, one larger and one smaller.
  • - Put olive oil into the large well and sugar (non necessary) and salt in the small one.
    The reason why I make two wells is that leavening will be optimal if, at the beginning, yeast does not come in contact with salt and sugar.
  • - Heat water, up to 15 (59°F) to 20°C (68°F). Do not let it warm up more because a higher temperature could seriously damage your live yeast.
  • - Pour half of the water into a small bowl and dissolve fresh yeast.
    Then pour dissolved yeast with all its water into the large well.
  • - At this point draw in flour from the edge of the well, slowly, stirring and adding remaining warm water gradually, until a soft dough forms.
    Only at the last moment, you can also combine all ingredients of the second well.
  • - It's difficult to say how much water you need. The quantity can vary every time. It depends on flour, temperature and other variables.
    You'll sometimes have to add much more water or further flour if your dough is very sticky.
    But do not worry! You'll become very expert in a short time. You only need to try a few times.
  • - Knead your dough, until soft, smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
    Remember there must not be any trace of dough on your fingers.
  • - Shape your dough into a ball, sprinkle its surface and the surface where you want to place it with flour.
    Cover with a napkin.
    Pizza dough must rest until it doubles in size, at least 2 hours.
    It must be put in a warm place, faraway from draughts.
    If the temperature is not sufficient, that is equal or less than 20°C (68°F), you can put a bowl full of hot water under the dish with your pizza dough.
    Another way is to put it in the oven with the pilot light lit.
  • - The experience has taught me that the ideal temperature for a good rise must be at least 23 (73.5°F) to 24°C (75.2°F).



  • - I repeat here the concept that I have already explained in my introduction. Certainly, this is not the best method for making pizza dough. I know very well this amount of yeast is high and the risk is pizza might have an unpleasant aftertaste of yeast. In this way I also clarify my thinking with all people who disputed me heavily in the time. I have been using sourdough for pizza dough for a long time getting from it enormous satisfaction but I also live in the real world and I have in mind the difficulties that many women have with insufficient time to put together meals if they work five days a week for a lot of hours. So this pizza dough may be a solution!
  • - Double leavening. It makes it possible to use much less yeast but needs longer preparation times. In fact 2-hour leavening is not enough!
    In this case it is necessary to make a first dough, let it rise and then knead again. I had the habit to use the following schedule.
    In the morning, before going to work. I kneaded 6 grams (1/4 ounce) of fresh yeast with 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) of flour and enough warm water to make a soft dough. I let it rest in a warm place, covered with a wet napkin.
    In the evening, once back home. I added all other ingredients, that is salt, olive oil, remaining flour and warm water sufficient to obtain the usual pizza dough. Practically, I placed remaining flour on work surface and in the well made in the center (I did need no more to do the two wells) I put the first leavened dough, in addition to olive oil and salt. Then I added warm water to dissolve the first dough, little at a time, working with my fingers. Only experience will teach you how to work well and measure out the right amount of water. Two hours of leavening were then usually sufficient. So you use only 6 to 7 grams of yeast with this method. No more aftertaste of yeast! I assure it to you!
  • - Every person should learn pizza dough how-to, starting from the most classic and simple recipes with their step by step directions. This is the best way to understand which is your own preferred pizza dough with the right consistency and taste. You'll always have time to make corrections.
  • - Remember: you are not obliged to add sugar but sugar improves leavening.
  • - If you want to consult other recipes for making pizza dough with different yeasts and flours, you have to go back to pizza directory index. It's easy. Link under the navigation bar!

Healthy eating

  • - I have noticed, surfing the web, people often indicate doses for pizza dough that are exactly twice than mine. 1 kilo of flour that serves 4 is a real exaggeration. Look at some of my recipes for pizza and control calories, fat, sugar ... Some of them are high-calorie pizzas even with my doses but if you double the dose for flour you have to add other 430 to 450 calories. Too many calories for a single-course meal, right? think that the average daily calorie intake is 2000. If you love pizza and want to eat it often, you have to think of what I've just written.