If you are anything like me you have been on the hunt for a pizza crust that is worthy of it’s toppings. I’ve tried so many recipes over the years. Pizza becomes very personal. Are you a thin crust person? Are you a deep dish person? Do you like a crust that you bake halfway before topping? Let me tell you what I love about this crust and then you can decide if you match me in pizza personality. If you do you will want to make pizza dough. If you don’t you still have the number of your favorite pizza place via magnet on your refrigerator right?
There are two pizza crust recipes that I love at the current time. Today we will talk about pizza crust #1. This is NOT a dough that you cook partially before topping it. For me those types of dough’s never seem to bond with all the toppings. I’m in to bonding. This dough has a great texture and is appropriately chewy. It is easy to make and make ahead if you want. You have a choice after the first rise…make a pizza or freeze the dough for a week. Let’s make pizza dough #1… Start with 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast sprinkled over 1 1/4 cups of warm water. Keep your water around 110°. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the yeast and water to feed the yeast and get it nice and bubbly.
Set it aside in a warm spot in your kitchen for 5-8 minutes. When the yeast has had a chance to activate, add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix. If you are doing this by hand use a sturdy wooden spoon and get it all nicely incorporated before adding the last bit of flour. Those of us using a stand mixer–well turn it on and let it do all the work for about a minute. Now it’s time to add the remaining flour. If you are working by hand sprinkle one cup of the remaining flour over the dough, reserving the last quarter cup, if needed, to diminish the tackiness of the dough. Using your hands, turn the dough onto itself until all the flour has fully incorporated. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and continue to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes or until you feel the dough become smooth and elastic. You will most likely need to add that last quarter cup of flour just a little at a time. If you are working with a stand mixer, add one cup of flour and allow the mixer to run at medium speed for about 6 minutes adding the last quarter cup of flour just a bit at a time as the mixer runs. The test of this dough is that if your hands are moving with the dough it doesn’t really stick to you like this–
Now you are ready to either make pizza or freeze the dough. Today I decided to freeze the dough. Spray a freezer safe bag with cooking spray and place the dough in the bag. Remove all the air that you can, seal the bag and pop it in the freezer. This dough will make one large 15 inch pizza crust. When you are ready to thaw the dough just leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Often when I thaw my dough I find that it decided to raise a bit more. Bonus! This means I can make a smaller personal pizza with the extra dough.
If you are going to use the dough right away, simply shape the dough, top it and bake it until the edges are golden brown and your sauce and toppings have melted to your desired gooeyness. This usually takes a 450° oven about 15 minutes.
***cooking a pizza on a pre-heated pizza stone will always give you better results.
***no matter how tempted you are to load your pizza with heavy delicious things…remember that dough does need to cook (and in some cases transfer to the oven on a peel)
***add delicate things like basil leaves or spinach during the last couple of minutes of baking.
- 2¼ teaspoons dry yeast
- 1¼ cups warm water
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large bowl you can use for kneading, sprinkle yeast and sugar over the top of the warm water for proofing. Keep the temperature of your water around 110°.
- Let this stand for 5-8 minutes or until it is nice and bubbly.
- Add olive oil.
- Add flour and salt.
- Mix with a wooden spoon to combine or mix on low in your stand mixture until flour is well incorporated.
- Add remaining cup of flour.
- At this point if you are working by hand, turn the dough out and knead for about 10 minutes. If you are working with a stand mixer mix for 6-8 minutes.
- As you are working the dough by hand or mixing in the mixer, sprinkle the remaining quarter cup of flour, testing the dough. The dough will be a bit sticky.
- Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat.
- Cover and allow to rise in a warm spot for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Deflate and shape or deflate and freeze.
- Top and bake at 450° for about 15 minutes
- **to freeze place deflated dough in a freezer bag that has been coated with cooking spray. Remove air from the bag, seal and freeze.***to thaw place the dough in the freezer overnight.