- 1 1⁄2 cups (350 ml) of warm water
- 1 package or 2 1⁄4 teaspoons (11 ml) of active dry yeast
- 3 1⁄2–4 cups (830–950 ml) of flour (bread or all-purpose)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil
- 3 cups (710 ml) of homemade pizza sauce
- Favorite pizza toppings
- 4 cups (950 ml) of grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 teaspoons (9.9 ml) of salt
- Grated cheese (mozzarella, romano, parmesan, goat cheese or some combination)
- Sliced pepperoni
- Chopped onions
- Green peppers
- Bacon or bacon bits
- Chicken chunks
- Olives (Black, green, or stuffed)
- Ground beef
- Ham pieces
- Pineapple slices
- Roasted garlic
- Barbecue chicken
- Proof the yeast. Place the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Pour the yeast onto the water and let it sit until it dissolves. After a few minutes the yeast mixture should begin to bubble.
- Add the other dough ingredients. Put the flour, olive oil, and salt in the mixing bowl with the yeast mixture. Use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixture or work by hand to stir the ingredients together until a wet dough forms. Keep mixing the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. (i) If you’re working by hand, the dough will become difficult to stir when it starts to thicken. Put down the spoon and knead the dough until it reaches the right texture. (ii) If the dough looks wet after you’ve been mixing or kneading it for a long time, add some flour to dry it it up a little.
- Let the dough rise. Form it into a ball and place it in a clean mixing bowl coated with a little olive oil. Put a dishcloth, some muslin or plastic wrap over the bowl and place it in a warm part of the kitchen. Let the dough sit and rise until it has doubled in size, which should take about 2 hours. (i) You can let the dough rise in the refrigerator instead. This takes about 6 – 8 hours. (ii) You can also freeze the dough before it rises and let it rise when you’re ready to make pizza.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Do this well before you’re ready to bake the pizza, so the oven has plenty of time to get quite hot. If your oven tends to run cool, turn the temperature up to 450°F (232°C). (i) If you’re using a baking stone or pizza stone, place it in the oven so it gets preheated as well. (ii) If you’re using a baking sheet, place it in the oven at this time.
- Form the crusts. Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape them each into balls. On a floured work surface, roll out the first ball of dough into a circular shape, or use your fingers to stretch it out and shape it. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could also try tossing the dough to form it into a pizza shape. When you’re finished with the first crust, make the second.
- Get the crusts ready to bake. Use a pastry brush to spread a thin coating of olive oil over the tops of the crusts.
- Top the pizzas. Spread homemade pizza sauce (or sauce from a jar) onto the crusts. Layer on your favorite toppings, making sure not to go overboard or the crusts won’t get crisp. Finish by sprinkling on your favorite type of cheese.
- Bake the pizzas one at a time. Carefully remove the baking sheet or stone from the oven and sprinkle it with some cornmeal (or reach into the oven to sprinkle it on). Transfer the pizza to the baking stone or sheet, and place it back in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Repeat with the second pizza.
If you’re using a baking peel, transfer the pizza directly from the peel to the stone in the oven. Baking peels are used by professional pizza bakers along with baking stones. The unbaked pizza is assembled on the peel, then transferred to the stone in the oven.