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The balls have dropped! Pizza Express just shared its ‘secret’ dough ball recipe

Written by
Laura Richards

The pizza chain’s founders have kept their lips sealed for more than 50 years, but it would seem the state of the world is making us all do some pretty wild things right now. Pizza Express has just decided to release its top-secret recipe for its – let’s face it – iconic dough balls, so that you can attempt to recreate their squidgy magic at home.

Sure, you might have to break a sweat to enjoy them, but maybe it’ll make the pillowy wonders that keep us returning (nobody’s going to Pizza Express just for the pizza, are they?) all the more delicious. The recipe includes details on the exact temperature of water you need, such is this culinary wonder’s scientific precision.

They’ve also released the formula for that all-important garlic butter, so you can impress your current lockdown pals with a platter of dough balls to share along with their dreamily pungent sidekick. That should keep communal relations ticking over just nicely. 

Read on for the ingredients and method to make Pizza Express dough balls from home. Next up, we’re pressuring The Colonel to divulge his secrets (the chicken-related ones, at least). It’s only a matter of time. 

Dough balls (makes 2 portions)


  • 150ml warm water – roughly 27C
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 15g fresh yeast (or 2 level teaspoons of dry yeast)
  • 225g of plain flour (plus extra for working)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 230C / 210C fan assisted
  2. Add the sugar and crumble the fresh yeast into the warm water. Allow the mixture to stand for 10-15 minutes in a warm place until froth develops on the surface
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture
  4. Lightly flour your hands and slowly mix the ingredients together until they bind
  5. Generously dust your surface with flour, throw down the dough and begin kneading for 10 minutes until smooth, silky and soft. Leave the dough to rest until soft to the touch but not too springy
  6. Roll dough into a 1.2m long tube. Chop into 16 chunks and place in an ovenproof pan. Leave the dough balls to rest in the pan for 30 mins
  7. Make sure the oven has reached temperature and bake for 6 minutes until golden

Garlic butter:


  • 10ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons of butter
  • 0.5 teaspoon of chopped garlic


  1. Blend the olive oil and chopped garlic into a paste. Pour over the butter and blend with a spoon

Et voilà (in Italian)! You’ll be a baller in the kitchen in no time.

Next! Find out how to make Creme Eggs from home this weekend.

Not feeling creative in the kitchen? Get pizza delivered to your house instead.

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