Thursday, February 26, 2009


Making pizza dough takes about 10 minutes, plus the 2 hours of rising time, and another 15 minutes to arrange the toppings on them. This recipe makes enough dough for 3 round pies, or two deep dish or rectangular pies. Or you can impress your friends with a buffet of 6" pizzas with topping themes.

Sometimes when I can't decide on any one thing for dinner, I make a batch of pizza dough and go to the grocery store while it rises. I get meats, cheeses, and vegetables that catch my eye with no clear plan in mind, only deciding what goes together as it gets placed on the pies. I use either my tomato sauce or well-blotted finely diced tomatoes and all the cheese I can find, usually a mixture of parmesan, romano, asiago, goat cheese, ricotta, and fresh mozzarella. Yes, I said "and."

Pizza Crust

½ cup water (the hottest from your tap)
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 ¼ cups warm water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 ½ tsp salt
olive oil for the bowl

1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a small bowl, stir and let stand about 5 minutes until it looks foamy. Stir in the rest of the water and the olive oil.
2. In a large bowl, stir the flour and salt with a pastry cutter or whisk. Pour in a little of the yeast mixture, stir it in, and repeat until they are combined and start to form dough.
3. Either in the bowl or on a counter top, knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and cohesive, this should take a minute or two tops. If the dough is too stiff or dry to become smooth, dip your fingers in water and knead until it cooperates.
4. Form the dough into a ball. Oil the inside of the mixing bowl and place the dough ball in it, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place until it doubles in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
5. Once the dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and preheat the oven to 475º.
6. Separate the dough into 3 pieces, roll each into a smooth ball then flatten to a disc. Each of these is enough for one standard pizza crust, but you can adjust the amount of dough used if you want to make thicker or thinner crusts.
7. Cover two of the discs with a cloth while you work with the third. Working from the center of the disc, press down with the heel of your hand, turning the disc a little at a time so that you are working it in a circular motion as you press. Occasionally flip the dough over and press the other side. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter if the dough is sticking. If you are feeling confident, try tossing it in the air with a flick of your wrist to make it spin. Continue to press the dough in an outward circle until it is the size of your pan.
8. Place the dough on a lightly greased pizza pan or cookie sheet. Press it into the pan, again working from the middle to the outside so there is excess around the edges to create a crust.
9. Set aside the crusts while you prepare your toppings: chop the veggies, slice the tomatoes, sautée the sausage, mince the garlic. If using mushrooms I strongly recommend sautéeing them in advance not only to add flavor but to reduce the liquid in them, otherwise you end up with pools of water between the mushrooms and cheese, sometime even a soggy crust underneath; which is neither pretty nor very tasty.
10. The crusts will have risen a little, you can press them back down before adding toppings if you’d like, or prick the bottoms with a fork to prevent bubbles from forming in the crust while baking. Personally, I like the bubbles.
11. Add tomato sauce, Italian herbs, cheese, meats and veggies of your choice. Brush olive oil around the edges of the crust. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until crust is turning golden brown around the edges.


  1. That looks so friggin good I can't begin to tell you how fast I'd dive into that. When'd you learn to make pizza dough?

  2. I started making pizza dough in my first apartment, which means it was late 2004. I've gotten much better at it over the years, and I can even toss it!

  3. Amanda, you're my new hero. YOU HAVE TO COME TO MY BAKEOFF!!!!

  4. Don't worry, I'll be there! I wouldn't miss it!