It took me many years to find a good recipe for homemade pizza crust! This recipe (and most of the tips) came from a friend who used to work at a pizza joint. No wonder it was a success!
1 1/4 C water
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 3/4 C bread flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Put all ingredients in your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. If no order is recommended, then add them in the order they are listed above. Select the dough setting on your bread machine and press start. When dough cycle is complete, divide the dough into two equal parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll one part into a 12-14" circle (it doesn't have to be perfect!). Use a pizza peel or thin spatula to loosen the edges from the surface, then transfer it quickly to a 12-14" pizza stone or pan. Let the edges of the crust hang off the pan a little bit, because as it rises, it shrinks towards the center slightly. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Brush each crust lightly with olive oil, and let it rise for 15-30 minutes. The longer it rises, the thicker the crust. Spread each crust with sauce (1/2-3/4 C or so), then top with cheese and toppings of choice. Bake (one pizza at a time) at 450 degrees until cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is browned. How long you need to bake it depends on the kind of pan or stone you have...10-15 minutes usually does it. Serve with breadsticks.
Options and Tips:
- This dough is extremely forgiving and practically no-fail. If the dough cycle is complete on your bread machine but you are not ready to roll it out yet, just transfer the dough into a lightly-greased bowl and cover it with greased plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge until you're ready to roll it out (up to two days!). If it starts to rise in the fridge, just punch it down again. You can also refrigerate the crust after it has been rolled out and transferred to a pan/stone. Rise time for a refrigerated, rolled-out crust is approximately 1 hour.
- If you choose traditional pizza toppings, sprinkle the whole thing with shredded Parmesan cheese before baking. It makes your pizza look professional and adds delicious flavor.
- If the top of the pizza is almost done, but the bottom of the crust is not crispy yet, just slide the whole pizza off the pan/stone onto the oven rack. Let it bake another 2-4 minutes directly on the oven rack, and your crust should be just about perfect.
- If you like your cheese browned a bit, open the oven door for the last few minutes of baking. The air will brown up the cheese nicely.
- If you figure out how much money you have into the cheese, sauce, toppings, and crust, it might be cheaper to pick up a Hot 'n' Ready. But really, isn't it so cool to say that you make your own pizza? :) In all seriousness, part of the reason I like to make my own is so that we can try different combinations of toppings...more on that later!
This recipe (and almost all of the tips) came from Jen Eriks. Thanks, Jen, for helping me conquer homemade pizza...finally!