Perfect Pizza Crust
August 16, 2009
I heart pizza! It has always been one of my favorite foods. I love the fact that you can change up the toppings a million different ways and of course there’s always the melted cheese. But probably the one thing that can make or break a pizza for me is the crust. If the crust isn’t good, then I can take it or leave it.
I typically just buy premade pizza crusts, but I’ve always wanted to find a really good one that I could make myself. I have made this one before and while it tastes good, it doesn’t quite have the texture I want. I finally decided to try this recipe that I have seen several times on Annie’s blog. It seems to be her go-to recipe and I can see why! I am always a little nervous when working with yeast, but I’m happy to say that it turned out great! It had the perfect texture, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
I topped our pizza tonight with homemade pesto, spinach, tomato and feta and I can’t wait to use the other half of my dough on another pizza!
Basic Pizza Dough
½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ 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 is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.
originally from Baking Illustrated by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine