This fabulous recipe enables you to make enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas. Make sure that you have your pizza stone and peel ready.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Olive oil
- Cornmeal (to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone)
- Tomato sauce (purée)
- Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Feta cheese
Choose all or some of these ingredients:
- Mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, thinly sliced
- Italian sausage, cooked ahead
- Chopped fresh basil
- Pepperoni, thinly sliced
- Onions, thinly sliced
- Sliced ham
Again: to make the crispiest, tastiest pizza you need a pizza stone – preferably a high quality soapstone pizza stone. A pizza peel and a pizza wheel are also helpful.
Making the pizza dough
In the large bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer add the warm water. Sprinkle on the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve completely if needed at the end of 5 minutes.
Attach a mixing paddle to the mixer. Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar on low speed for about a minute. Remove the mixing paddle and replace with a dough hook. Knead using the mixer and dough hook, on low to medium speed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer, you can mix and knead by hand. If the dough seems a little too wet, sprinkle on a bit more flour.
Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preparing the pizza and the pizza stone
Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, an hour is even better.
Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down so it deflates a bit. Divide the dough in half. Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.
Prepare your toppings. Note that you are not going to want to load up each pizza with a lot of toppings as the crust will end up not crisp that way. About a third a cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. One to two mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.
Working one ball of dough at a time, take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter – 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. You can pinch the very edges if you want to form a lip.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest another 5 minutes.
Make the second pizza the same way.
Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel (or flat baking sheet) with corn meal. Transfer one prepared flattened dough to the pizza peel. If the dough has lost its shape in the transfer, lightly shape it to the desired dimensions.
Spoon on the tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza.
Place the pizza on the pizza stone
Carefully Sprinkle some cornmeal on the pizza stone in the oven. Gently shake the peel to see if the dough will easily slide, if not, gently lift up the edges of the pizza and add a bit more cornmeal. Slide the pizza off of the peel and on to the baking stone in the oven. Bake pizza one at a time until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes.
Use pizza wheel to cut slices and eat while still hot.
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