A lot of the recipes that I've seen on YouTube and different forums have used four main ingredients when making pizza dough - flour, water, yeast, and salt. I'm confused because I though sugar is also a main ingredient since yeast feeds on it. Would y'all recommend always adding sugar to the pizza dough recipe? Also, what if the flour that's being used already has a few grams of sugar - should I still add sugar to the list of ingredients?


6 Answers 6


There are plenty of fermentable sugars in the flours commonly used in pizza making. Additional sugar is completely unnecessary.


Sugar helps the dough rise faster, and increases browning. So using it is a matter of taste, and what you like in a pizza. If you're in for a day-long rise in the refrigerator (for example), you won't need any extra sugar. If you want it faster (say, an hour rise in a warm proofing box), a little extra sugar can help.

If you're happy with the way your pizza browns, leave it out. Extra sugar could even cause it to burn, especially if you're using very high heat. If you feel like your pizza could use an extra pinch of Maillardy goodness, add a little sugar (and be prepared for a shift in rising times).

  • So are you implying that you can't use a proofing box if you don't add sugar? Because that's what it sounds like. If the proofing temperature changes, of course the time is going to change. That doesn't necessarily mean that the sugar is a major part of that time change. Much of it is due to the temperature. I think your answer would be better if you compared apples to apples.
    – Catija
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 18:07
  • They were intended just as examples, but I can make that clearer. Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 18:27

The sugar is not for the yeast. It is for adding browning in a home oven that cannot reach the 600-900 degrees of commercial ovens.

For example, in this Peter Reinhart's Neo Neapolitan pizza recipe he advises to use a tablespoon of sugar to make four 10oz dough balls. https://www.bakepedia.com/peter-reinharts-neo-neopolitan-pizza-dough/ If I recall correctly, most of his recipes in his American Pie include 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar.


The Enzyme Amylase helps break down flour starches into complex sugars that add to crust color, taste of the final produce and feed the yeast to produce Carbon Dioxide (bubbles). Slow rise gives the enzymes time to do their jobs. A quick discription


It’s a myth that sugar helps the dough rise . As mentioned, sugar is for browning (which is ridiculous in itself for pizza) and taste.


Sugar in pizza dough? Absolutely not -- never! Pizza should not taste like cookies; it should taste like pizza.

  • You would need to add a lot of sugar to pizza dough to make it taste like cookies, and at that point that yeast wouldn’t work properly anyway. A smaller amount of sugar would not make it taste as sweet as cookies.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 20:39
  • It's common (although not universal) to add sugar to tomato sauce, so there's probably some sugar in most pizzas, one way or another.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 11:27

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