Homemade Pizza Crust
- 2 pkgs (or 4 tsp) dry active yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 1/2 cups (17.5 oz) flour (you can sub up to half whole wheat flour), plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing crust
- Cornmeal, for dusting surface
- Place water and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and sprinkle the yeast over top.
- Let stand for 10 minutes – if your yeast doesn’t swell or get frothy, buy new yeast.
- Add the olive oil, salt, and flour.
- With the mixer on low, mix until the dough comes together and mostly off the sides of the bowl (it will not come all the way off of the bottom). You can add flour by the tablespoon if necessary.
- Let the mixer run for 5 minutes to knead the dough. It should be smooth and slightly sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half and shape into a ball (each will weigh ~1 lb). This is enough to make 1 large pizza. We like to make individual pizzas, so I divide each half into 3 pieces and shape into balls.
- Lightly dust a plate with flour and place the balls of dough on top, seam-down.
- Sprinkle the top with flour, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge.
- When you get home, pull the dough out of the fridge and let it sit, covered, on the counter for 60 minutes while your oven is preheating. If the plan is to only make one pizza that day, dust the extra ball of dough with flour, loosely wrap with plastic wrap, place in a gallon zip-top bag and refrigerate to it within 2 days, freeze if you need to store it for longer.
- Place your pizza stone in the top 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 550, letting it hold at temperature for 30 minutes.
- Prepare your toppings: grate cheese, chop veggies, cook sausage, uncork the wine, etc.
- Very lightly flour your pizza peel (or a rimless baking sheet, or turn a rimmed baking sheet upside down and use the bottom) and then add a couple generous pinches of cornmeal.
- Gently stretch the dough into a round – I hold one edge of the dough ball a couple of inches above my work surface and let gravity do most of the work, while I move my hands around the edge of the dough (like turning a steering wheel).
- Place the dough onto the prepared peel or pan.
- Switch your oven from “bake” mode to “broil.” (If you get the option, select the “high” broil setting or 550 degrees. If you don’t get the option, don’t worry about it.).
- Brush the outside ~1-inch perimeter with olive oil and then top as desired.
- Gently shake the pizza from the peel/pan to the baking stone and broil for 5-7 minutes. (During this time, I’m making the next individual pizza.)
- Remove the pizza from the oven, leaving the stone in place. If you’re night slicing and serving immediately, transfer it to a rack – the crust can get a little soggy if you put it directly onto a peel/cutting board/plate and just let it sit there.
- Slice and serve. And enjoy. Immensely.
Yields: ~2 lbs of dough, enough for 2 large pizzas or 6 individual pizzas