I've made a few different pizza crusts in the past, and for the last year or more I have resorted to the bread machine variety. It worked well and it was super easy. But today I decided we needed something new--something AMAZING. This was definitely the right recipe to choose. Though I had attempted this same recipe in 2009, I wanted to give it another try. I am so glad I did.
The crust was out of this world! It was crisp on the bottom and cooked thoroughly, yet thick and soft and moist. Our bread machine crusts always turn out delicious, but very crisp all the way through. If I lowered the baking time, the crust was uncooked in the center which did not make me very happy.
This recipe solves all of those problems and results in a homemade pizza that far exceeds your favorite restaurant variety. And the best part is, you can do the work once, and freeze the extra dough for later!
Basic Pizza Dough
recipe adapted from Annies-eats.com
Yields: 3 medium or 2 large pizza crusts
1/2 cup warm water (about 110°)
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
1-1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 Tbsp canola oil
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1-1/2 tsp salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Top as desired. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese