Is there a significant difference between bread dough versus pizza dough? Today, we’ll settle all your questions – from the ingredients to its cooking method.
Bread dough is a staple in many regions and has become part of many cultural diets. While pizza dough has a rich and complex flavor that draws many, considering it one of the best treats in the world. With both doughs ranking high, it is no wonder why they are often compared to each other.
Bread Dough vs. Pizza Dough: Differences Overview
If you scanned through thousands of bread and pizza dough recipes, you’d immediately notice their similarity – the ingredients. But why not name them the same if that’s the case? The answer lies in the whole process – from the ingredient measurements to baking.
Here’s a quick preview of their differences before we go into the details.
|Bread Dough||Pizza Dough|
|Ingredients||Flour, leaven, salt, and water (may contain butter, milk, or eggs)||Flour, leaven, salt, and water|
|Moisture Level||50% to 70%||80% to 90%|
|Kneading Duration||8 to 12 minutes||1 to 5 minutes|
|Rise Time||1 to 2 hours||1 to 3 hours|
|Cooking Method||Lower temperature; lengthier baking period||Higher temperature; shorter baking period|
Conventional bread and pizza dough share the same ingredients: flour, leaven, salt, and water. Both may also incorporate olive oil in their recipe for better dough stretch and flavor depth. Although, two things set them apart: ingredient quantities and extras.
In terms of quantities, pizza dough contains less water but more salt than bread dough. It explains why the former is more flexible when kneading (we’ll further explain this in the next part).
Now let’s talk about the optional extras recurrent in many recipes. Bread dough has two types: lean and enriched. The first combines the four traditional ingredients, while the second contains more fat, sugar, and dairy. Extras include butter, milk, or eggs that helps tenderizes the dough. Pizza, on the other hand, gathers its flavoring from the toppings than the crust itself.
Moisture Level Difference
As mentioned in the ingredients, bread dough contains more water giving 80% to 90% moisture. Whereas pizza dough only has a 50% to 70% hydration level.
On the higher end of the hydration spectrum, you’ll find pastries like ciabatta and focaccia that has extremely sticky dough. With a more water-to-flour ratio, the bread develops plenty of holes for a lighter inner and crisp surface.
But is it possible to blend more water into the pizza dough for seamless stretch? The answer is yes, although it is not advisable because it’s difficult to shape. If you don’t want your dough sticking out of the pan like melting ice, we recommend sticking with the customary measurement.
Kneading Time Difference
Can you reckon which dough takes the longest to knead? Is it bread dough or pizza dough? If you answered bread dough, then you hit the jackpot!
Pizza dough takes only between 1 to 5 minutes to knead. Over-kneading can weaken the dough and can easily rip when stretched. What we want to achieve is a light and airy structure that is easy to bite into.
Bread dough, contrarily, takes longer to finish. If you got the skills and strength to do it by hand, it might take 10-12 minutes. But with a mixer, 8-10 minutes is enough.
Is there a science behind this longer duration? Of course, it does! The more you knead, the more gluten awakens, creating a smooth and springy texture. With this, you can expect light and airy bread for breakfast.
Rise Time Difference
Both bread and pizza dough undergoes fermentation to allow them to rise. A pizza dough doubles in size within 1 to 2 hours at room temperature. But, experts recommend leaving it overnight in the fridge for a fuller flavor. Meanwhile, bread dough can take approximately 1 to 3 hours of hands-off time. It is also often baked within the same day to keep it fresh.
While these are just general time estimates, it is still important to consider temperature, dough moisture, ingredients, and gluten of the dough.
Cooking Method Difference
The leopard spots on the pizza and the light tone exterior of the bread give you a hint of their cooking method. Bread dough bakes at a lower temperature (350 to 475°F) and for a longer period to ensure that the inside is not undercooked. With this setting, you’ll get a nice crisp exterior with a soft inner.
Moving on to the gigantic state-of-the-art equipment of pizzerias, a pizza dough cooks under higher temperatures (450 to 500°F) in just a minute. The outer crust gets nice charred spots while the toppings sear perfectly with the high heat.
How To Make A Homemade Bread Dough
End the days when you try to search for bread that would satisfy your cravings in the morning. This recipe is pretty simple – even those with no bread-baking experience can pull this off.
- Warm water
- Active, dry yeast
- Brown sugar or honey
- Fine sea salt
- All-Purpose Flour
In a bowl, combine water, yeast, and sugar. Mix until well combined, then add salt and egg. Add flour one cup at a time to improve the workability of the dough. Once hard to mix, transfer it to a floured countertop and start the kneading. Knead the dough until the texture is stretchy and smooth.
If you’re satisfied with the texture, shape it into a ball and place it in a bowl with a dishcloth cover. Let it rise under room temperature for an hour or until it doubles in size.
After the dough rises, release the air pockets by punching them down. Shape it into a log and transfer it to a greased pan. Wait another 20-30 minutes for the second rise.
Once all the waiting passes, bake it in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Watch Jill Winger do the whole process here:
How To Make A Homemade Pizza Dough
Whip up a pizza dough you can take from the fridge anytime you feel like having a treat.
- Warm water
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Olive oil
In a warm bowl, combine water, yeast, and half sugar. Mix and wait for seven minutes until you spot some bubbles forming. With dry ingredients, combine flour, remaining sugar, and salt. You can also add herbs like rosemary if you like.
Using a stand mixer, add the wet ingredients, followed by the dry ingredients (one cup at a time). Once mixed thoroughly, knead the dough to help activate the gluten. Form it into a ball and let it rise in a bowl drizzled with olive oil.
When the dough size doubles, shape it into a disk and add your favorite toppings. Bake it in a pre-heated (450°F) oven until golden. Now you have your first homemade pizza from scratch!
Here’s a video by Preppy Kitchen you can follow:
Bread Dough Alternative Uses
Are you tired of the old-fashioned loaf and bun menu? Recreate these bread dough alternatives to spice up your day!
- Pretzel Buns and Knots: create this fun-shaped bread dough with your kids and pack it as a snack for school. We’re sure they’ll love it!
- Bread Bowl: Pour a steamy soup into a bread bowl for elevated meal preparation. It is both delicious and pleasing to the eyes.
- Quick Calzones: got leftover meat sauce? Try it out with pre-made bread dough for a quick afternoon fix. This recipe serves four, enough for two hungry tummies.
Pizza Dough Alternative Uses
Time to explore the other uses of our favorite comfort food. Are you ready to try these recipes for some switching up?
- Cheesy Breadsticks: make an irresistible snack you can dip in a marinara sauce. With six ingredients, you can transform it into a new favorite.
- Donut Holes: Yes! You can make a doughnut with pizza dough using an air fryer. It is sweet and pillowy just like the classic ones.
- Dinner Rolls: looking for a meal preparation shortcut? Pull out pre-made pizza dough and turn it into a three-ingredient dinner (it also means more time to make dessert!).
Can You Swap Pizza Dough With Bread Dough?
An absolute, without a doubt – YES! Bread dough has the exact ingredients that give the same chewy texture crust of a pizza. If you plan to swap the dough, make sure to stretch it thinly to avoid the breadiness in the base. But if you opt for a thicker crust, you can press the dough in a sheet pan instead.
Did a light shine on you after knowing the difference between bread dough and pizza dough? Yes, they may have the same ingredients. But the whole process goes deeper than just the raw materials. Bread dough follows a method that ensures it’ll get a light taste yet enough to appease a peckish eater. Pizza dough, rather, has a delicate and artistic touch living up to its cultural roots.
Barbara is an enthusiastic food-exploring person that goes through different culinary experiences. She got inspired by creating a pizza blog post after she tasted one of the best-selling pizzas in Toledo.