How to Make Pizza Dough
This is our ideal homemade pizza crust. You can make the dough in a few minutes with your stand mixer, and the dough hook does all the kneading, so it’s very easy. It’s also the real deal: As it bakes, it fills the kitchen with that fresh pizza smell, an intoxicating combination of baking bread and burnt flour. And it tastes like a wood-fired pizza — the perfect balance of crispy, crunchy, and wonderfully chewy.
Best of all, you can put whatever you want on it! Our tip: Make a double batch and invite your friends over for a pizza night with the kids. Kids love playing with dough! Folks can bring their favorite toppings to share, and you can make family-style or personal pizzas. If you end up with extra dough, you can freeze it for next time.
Yields: 2 small pizzas
1 cup warm water (115º degrees)
½ tsp granulated sugar
1 pkg dry active yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 500º and slide your pizza stone in the oven.
In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the warm water and sugar and stir to dissolve.
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it stand until it foams, about 10 to 15 minutes. Note: If it doesn’t foam, that means the yeast hasn’t activated, and you should start over.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, and olive oil.
Fit the dough hook attachment to the stand mixer, turn it on to low, and slowly add the water, yeast and sugar mixture. Turn the mixture up one speed, and mix for 3 to 4 minutes until a dough forms. It should be tacky but not sticky.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a round dough ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it tightly with plastic film, and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
The dough can be used immediately. You can also make it ahead and store it in the fridge for up to 48 hours. It will develop more flavor. When you take it out of the fridge, you’ll need to punch the risen dough down, pressing your fist into the middle of it.
To make the pizza: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to 14-inch circle about a ¼-inch thick. If you want two pizzas, divide the dough in half, and make 2 8-inch circles.
Perforate the dough all over with a fork. The holes will help the steam escape, so you won’t get big bubbles in the crust, and it will bake more evenly.
Slide the first crust onto the preheated pizza stone and cook it for 2 minutes, or until just firm.
Remove the crust from the oven — leaving the pizza stone in place — and allow it to cool slightly.
Top the pizza with your favorite ingredients, and then slide it back into the oven and bake it for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven. Slice and serve, while the second crust cooks.