Is there a more perfect meal than a slice (or two, or three) of pizza? A pizza can include every food group – starch, dairy, meat, vegetables, fruit and even sugar (dessert pizzas!). You can customize everything, even the crust. And there are so many possible variations. White Pizza, Hawaiian Pizza, Mountains of Meat Pizza, Vegetable Garden Pizza, Kitchen Sink Pizza, Cinnamon Swirl with Icing Pizza, Indian Spice Pizza, Sundried Tomato Pesto Pizza …
But despite all these endless possibilities, there is one thing that can absolutely ruin a pizza – and that is poorly made crust. And unfortunately, most of us consider making pizza dough a daunting and frightening task so we subject ourselves to the nearest chain of Papa You Call This Pizza? pizza. But no more! I am going to walk you through a fool-proof and super fun recipe for a wonderful dough that, when rolled out thin, becomes a wonderfully thin and crusty-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside pizza crust. So throw away those pizza menus (actually recycle them, please) and let’s make some homemade deliciousness.
Yield 4 (6-in pizzas) or 2 (12-in pizzas)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 c warm water (about 110 degrees F)
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 scant tbsp honey
olive oil or canola oil
In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast and allow it to rest for about 5-10 minutes.
Sift about 1 3/4 c of flour (or about half the total flour) over the yeast mixture. Blend until combined with your hands.
Sift the remaining flour into the dough then add the salt, pepper and honey. Mix to blend then dump the dough onto a floured surface. (Be sure to keep your hands and the board well floured during this process. I like to keep a small cup of flour right next to my work surface so I can use it as needed.)
Begin kneading the dough. To do this properly, if you are right handed, push into the dough with the heal of your right hand then roll it back towards you. Repeat. Knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are well incorporated.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place your dough in it. Roll the dough a bit to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest and rise for 1 1/2 hours. The dough should double in volume by this time.
When it’s ready, press into the center of the dough lightly with your fist and then turn it out onto a well-floured board. Divide the dough in however many individual pizzas you desire. Cover the individual doughs with the damp towel and allow to rest for an additional 15 minutes. When you are ready to make the pizzas, work with one dough at a time, keeping the rest under the towel so a crust doesn’t form. Roll the dough out with a floured rolling pin or stretch it out gently with your hands (or toss it in the air like the pros!). I usually roll mine out pretty thin, between 1/4-1/8″. Top with whatever you like and bake them on a pizza stone in a 400 degree F oven. (Note: If using a pizza stone, place the stone in the oven while the oven is preheating so that it is hot when you place the dough on it. This way, a nice crust will form and the pizza will bake evenly. This step is crucial because if you don’t preheat the stone, your dough may stick. If not using a pizza stone, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and warm it in the oven for a few minutes to create the same effect.)