Pizza makes the world go round and crust makes a pizza round. So every pizza needs a killer crust.
Deep thoughts. Deep thoughts. Or as deep as my thoughts get at 1AM.
While this post isn’t nearly as exciting as my Angel Food Cake French Toast with Cream Cheese and Strawberry Syrup or Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken, Pineapple Carrots and Bell Peppers – its paving the way to make the exciting pizza posts possible – like my Alfredo Philly Cheesesteak Pizza pictured above.
Oh, yes, be excited. Be very excited.
I’ve perfected what I think is the perfect homemade pizza crust – thick, soft and chewy (if you like thinner crust, simply roll out more), baked with olive oil and garlic salt for satisfying flavor every time. Just like nothing compares to homemade bread, nothing compares to homemade pizza crust – when its this homemade pizza crust. Once you make this homemade pizza crust, you will never want to waste your money on store-bought crust again – and you will be strongly tempted to make your own pizza instead of going out whenever you get that pizza craving – because I guarantee this will satisfy your pizza craving!
This crust is also wonderful because you can freeze the dough! After you let the dough rise, you simply divide into balls, rise some more then store until ready to use. You can have homemade pizza crust at your fingertips at a seconds notice! Such an easy, fun weekday dinner!
So I consider myself a cook first and a baker second because I love the creativity in cooking and spices – whereas in baking I feel like I’m not completely in control because there are actual chemical reactions that go on – eek! For the longest time anything with yeast intimidated me, until I actually tackled my first homemade pizza crust. I couldn’t believe how EASY and how DELICIOUS it was! So if you have never made homemade pizza crust before, PLEASE don’t be intimidated!
I’ve detailed the process to make the crust below with pictures and with more information than you need, so its a bit wordy, but that’s just to answer any questions you might have. TRUST me that it really is quick, easy, delicious and SO WORTH YOUR TIME!
Let’s get our crust making on!
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (preferred), stir in the water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. If the yeast doesn’t foam, either your water was too warm, or your yeast is too old. Yeast should be no older than 6 months. Repeat until your yeast foams like this (which can take up to 10 minutes):
Continue to mix while gradually stirring in 2 more cups of flour. If your dough is too wet and is not pulling away from the bowl, add 1 more tablespoon of flour at a time (up to 1/4 cup) until dough barely sticks to your fingers. Once dough has pulled away from the bowl, continue to mix for 5 more minutes on medium-low speed (or by hand). You may need to place a hand on your mixer so it doesn’t fly off your counter!
Shape the dough into a ball and place back into your large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough over to coat with oil on all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm environment (75-80F), until it has doubled in size. Depending on your yeast (active dry yeast takes longer than instant yeast), climate, etc. this will take between 1-2 hours.
Guestimating 15 minutes before your dough is ready, place your pizza stone or baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven set to 475 degrees F. You want to “bake” your stone for 30-60 minutes in order to get it nice and hot.
Carefully remove your pizza stone/baking sheet and GENEROUSLY grease the entire surface with olive oil or with nonstick cooking spray (I like to spray like crazy). Sprinkle with cornmeal for added flavor, texture and to prevent sticking.
After 15 minutes, roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface or nonstick slip mat into a 12-inch round circle. Transfer pizza dough to your baking dish or pizza stone then pinch edges to create a rimmed crust. Try scooting your pizza dough – if it slides easily you are good to go – if not, you need more nonstick cooking spray and cornmeal. Lightly brush the top of the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust to prevent bubbling.
- 1 1/2 cups warm (105-115 degrees) water
- 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast (active will take longer to rise)
- 1 tablespoon. sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- Olive oil/nonstick cooking spray
- Garlic salt
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (preferred), stir in water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. Add olive oil, salt, and 1 ½ cups flour and mix until combined with your hook attachment (or with a wooden spoon if not using a mixer). Gradually mix in 2 more cups of flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough is too wet, add 1 more tablespoon of flour at a time (up to 1/4 cup) until dough barely sticks to your fingers. Once dough has pulled away from the bowl, knead in mixer on medium-low speed or by hand for 5 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place back into your large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
- Guestimating 15 minutes before your dough is ready, preheat your pizza stone or baking sheet in middle rack of your oven for 30-60 minutes at 475 degrees F.
- After dough has doubled, remove from bowl and knead a couple times. Divide dough into two equal balls and cover with a towel for 15 minutes. You can freeze one of the balls at this point if desired.*
- Carefully remove your pizza stone/baking pan and GENEROUSLY grease the entire surface with olive oil or with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
- After dough has been resting 15 minutes, roll each dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface or parchment paper into a 12-inch round circle. Transfer pizza dough to your baking sheet or pizza stone then pinch edges to create a rimmed crust (if you have trouble transferring, you can place your entire piece of parchment paper on your stone/baking sheet and bake directly on your parchment paper). Lightly brush the top of the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust.
- Bake for 12 minutes at 475F degrees with favorite toppings then broil for 2 minutes or until cheese is golden.
After the 2 balls of pizza dough have risen (Step 4), you can freeze 1 or both of the balls of dough. Lightly spray all sides of the dough balls with nonstick spray. Place the dough into separate ziploc bags, squeezing out any air. When ready to use, thaw dough in the refrigerator for about 12 hours then bring to room temperature by placing on your counter for approximately 30 minutes. Preheat pizza stone/baking sheet as in Step 3, then skip to Step 5.
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