Perfect Pizza Crust

Who doesn’t like pizza? No one, that’s who. Pizza is amazing. And, if topped right, you get your grains, meat, dairy, and vegetables. It’s a perfect food. Right? Right.

Have you wanted to make your own pizza at home? It’s easier than you think. I have the most perfect recipe. That’s right, I used the word “perfect”. I have never managed to screw this recipe up, despite my ability to excel at screwing recipes up. So there you go.

Don’t be afraid of yeast. I used to be terrified of working with yeast. It’s honestly not as hard as you’re imagining it is. I talked a lot about using yeast in an earlier post on making bread. There’s some good tips in there if you’re new to working with yeast. Either way, you’re going to like this recipe for Perfect Pizza Crust.

Here we go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups white flour
  • Olive oil/Cooking Spray
  • Garlic Salt
  • Cornmeal

Ok, start with a bowl. Preferably the bowl of your stand mixer, and stir in water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes, or until yeast is foamy. When I make this on a cold day, sometimes it takes up to 20 minutes or so, so don’t panic.

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Yeast freshly stirred in, not foamy at all.
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Yeast is starting to come alive!
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Yeast nice and foamy.

Once you have foamy yeast (and if it doesn’t foam, throw it out and get new yeast, your yeast is dead, my dear), add in the olive oil, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix with the hook attachment in your stand mixer.

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Gradually mix in 2 more cups of flour. Ensure the puppy nose cannot actually reach the stand mixer (yet, he’s still growing).

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If you ever feel badly about your kitchen counters being cluttered, just take a look in the backgrounds of any of my pictures. Literally. Stuff. Everywhere.

Mix until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl. It should look like a dough ball.

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Take the dough ball out and knead it by hand for a few minutes. This is what I like to call “being old fashioned”, lol, fun right?

So, now is the only annoying part of the whole process. You need to put the dough ball into a bowl that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. I personally get out a new bowl, because washing the current bowl is better as Future Lindsey’s problem, but you may prefer to quickly wash out the current bowl. The choice is yours. Either way you ended up either washing one bowl twice or washing two bowls. It’s kinda bullshit, I know, but what can you do? At least in the end you have pizza to comfort you. 😉 So shape your dough back into a ball and put it in the bowl sprayed with cooking spray and roll it around a bit to get it all coated. This helps keep it from being stuck to your bowl after it rises. Now cover that dough tightly in plastic wrap, and walk away.

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Seriously, you can walk away. It’s going to do it’s dough-y thing for 1-2 hours now. Also known as “rising” by the dough-y experts.

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Remember that crap pile I showed you in the post about pancakes? IT’S STILL THERE!!!!

When the dough has doubled in size you’re ready for the next step.

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Bam. Doubled.

Take it out of the bowl and knead it a few times. When it’s feeling nice and smooth, you can divide it.

Now, here’s where you have to make a choice. My original recipe says to divide in into TWO balls, making two pizzas. The first few times I did this I found the crusts were a little too thick for our tastes. So usually I divide it into THREE balls, then I freeze one ball, and cook the other two. This way, when I do the recipe twice, on the third time I have two frozen dough balls and get to entirely skip the first step. Dividing it into three makes a fairly thin crusted pizza, but not insanely thin. It’s totally up to you.

Today I had this crazy idea that I would make it into FOUR balls and make each of us our own, tiny, personal pizza. It seemed like a great idea in theory, and I had in fact recently acquired a fourth pizza pan (thanks Mom!), but I’d never actually tried this before, so beare with me. (Side note: That’s not a typo, though I do make lots of typos; I couldn’t decide if it should be “bear”, like a grizzly bear, or “bare”, like no clothing, so I decided to just go off script and use BOTH the a and the e on the end. #NailedIt)

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My four tiny dough balls!

Cover your dough balls, however many you decided on, with a towel for about 15 minutes. If you’re not cooking some of them now, this is the time to wrap them up and pop them in the freezer.

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Now is when I make my pizza sauce and chop up my toppings. Seeing as this post isn’t about pizza sauce, you’re pretty much on your own, but this is what I do: Tomato Paste + Epicure Pizza Seasoning.

Now you’re going to want to grease your pizza pan(s) with cooking spray, and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Now the recipe says “roll out each ball into a 12″ circle and transfer to pizza pan”. As if rolling dough into a circle is just that easy!! I roll out my dough a tiny bit on the counter, just to get it going, then I peel it off the counter, cursing it as it fails to cooperate, and then slap it on the pizza pan. THEN I press it into the pan, and THAT is what gets you a nice circle my friends. Don’t try and make your own circle! Use the pan’s already circular borders to assist you! Trust me on this. And when I say trust me, I can tell you that when I make 12″ pizzas in a 12″ pan, they are beautiful and round. When I made my mini pizzas (which I anticipated being about 8″) in a 12″ pan, they were… well… round-ish… I guess.

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It’s… you know, kinda round? (This was the best of the four, shh.)

Pinch the edges of the dough to create a rimmed crust. Then brush the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. So yummy!

Prick several holes in the crust with a fork. I always forget this part and then I get giant bubbles in the crust and I have to reach into the hot oven with my fork and prick them all down during the baking process. That pretty much sums up how I cook in a nutshell.

Top with sauce and delicious toppings of your choice.

Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees. Yes, 475. That’s not a typo, as I thought the first time I made this, because that is FREAKING hot, but that’s what it is. Try to avoid needing to stick your hand in the oven during cooking. 😉

If you like chicken on your pizza, this is a great time to use some of those baggies of pre-cooked chicken from my last post!

Another note: Make sure you have enough cheese for your tastes! We like a pretty good amount of cheese (like what would qualify as “extra cheese” when you order delivery pizza) and I had one 500g block of mozzarella and ran just a little short. Luckily, Kyle likes the marble cheese on his pizza, so that was fine. The only problem was that I did my own pizza last, and ran out on my pizza, so I had to take mozza cheese off Kyle’s pizza (being ever vigilant that none of his horrible onions snuck in with the cheese and stowed away over to my pizza) to put on mine and then put the marble on Kyle’s. Extra work- bleh! You’ll be relieved to hear that I survived this ordeal and didn’t find any stray onions on my pizza.

Again, bake for 12 minutes. I have a small oven and have to do one on top of the other on the racks, so I do 6 minutes and then switch their spots, then another 6.

Pizza Time!

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Mmm, delicious, round-ish, egg shaped, onion-free, cheesy pizza!

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