Perfect Pizza Crust

I love making homemade pizzas. I am one of those people who will put anything on a pizza. Proscuitto, figs, goat cheese? Caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, mascarpone cheese? Butternut squash? Yes, yes and yes. I had never made my own dough before, but I found this recipe in Baking Illustrated and fell in love. I like to roll it out thin on the bottom and then fold over the edges so that it makes for a nice thick dough handle when you eat a slice.

I catered my dad’s holiday work party last December and made two pizzas. They were a hit. Usually while I am sitting in class I am either making fantasy grocery lists or thinking about all of the possible toppings I could put on a pizza.

Makes two medium-large pizzas/Baking Illustrated

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Add the room temperature water to the warm water/yeast mixture. With the mixer on low speed, mix in this yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. (All of this mixing can be done by hand if you don’t have a paddle attachment.) Switch to a dough hook and knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes.  (This kneading can also be done by hand.) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn once to coat.  Cover in plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Press the dough down to deflate it and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form these into two round balls. (If you are freezing the dough, do it at this point by wrapping it in plastic wrap and in a plastic bag.) Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes and no more than 30.

To bake preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Preheat the pizza stone for about 20 minutes during this time.  Roll out the dough thin and then move to the pizza stone. Fold the outer edges over about an inch to make the “dough handle.” Brush with olive oil and top the pizza as desired. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

*If the dough springs back a lot while you are trying to roll it out, let it rest for 15 minutes. This will allow for the gluten to chill out and make it easier to work with.

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