Pizza Dough: Makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Olive oil
- Cornmeal (to help slide the pizza onto the pizza stone)
- Tomato sauce
- Mozzarella cheese, grated
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, thinly sliced
- Italian sausage, cooked ahead and crumbled
- Chopped fresh basil
- Pepperoni, thinly sliced
- Place the warm water in the large bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. After 5 minutes stir if the yeast hasn’t dissolved completely. The yeast should begin to foam.
- Using the mixing paddle, mix in the flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil slowly for a minute. Then replace the mixing paddle with a dough hook. Knead the pizza dough on slow to medium speed using the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic, for about 10 minutes. If the dough seems a little too wet, sprinkle it with a little more flour.
- Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the inside of a large bowl. Place the pizza dough in the bowl and turn it around so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You can let it sit for several hours if you want. The longer rise will improve the flavor of the pizza crust. If you don’t have a warm spot in the house you can heat the oven to 150 degrees, and then turn off the oven. Let the oven cool till it is just a little warm, then place the bowl of dough in this warmed oven to rise.
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, preferably an hour.
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 desired 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 finger tips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest another 5 minutes. Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel (or flat baking sheet) with corn meal. (The corn meal will act as little ball bearings to help move the pizza from the pizza peel into the oven.
Preheat oven to about 450°F (230C°) for 5 minutes. While preheating apply topping to pizza.
When finished preheating, put pizza in the oven for about 25 minutes. While cooking you can get a beverage of choice (soda would fit the best but any other drink would work) and port it into a cup.