New Favorite Pizza Crust

Oh, hello! Long time no cook! Well, that’s not true, exactly. We’ve been cooking, but it’s a lot of the same old standards lately, and I have not really found anything new or worthwhile to share. Until now!

It’s true: I needed another pizza crust recipe like a hole in the head, but the siren song of the NYT Food Section is just too hard to resist sometimes. Don’t do it, my jeans told me. Just walk away and do not look back. Be strong. Pizza is not your friend. But I stupidly bookmarked it, and long story short, I’ve made this now five times. I love, love, love it and now feel compelled to share it with you.

This recipe has definitely earned its place in my archives, and I know if you try it, it will become a favorite. It’s as easy as it is delicious. Let me know what you think!

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Quick Pizza Dough, Recipe by Suzanne Lenzer,
original recipe here

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ¾ cups/390 grams bread flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons/7 grams active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons medium or coarse cornmeal

Preparation

Make the dough:

  1. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, pour the oil through the feed tube, then add the water in a slow, steady stream. Continue to process for 2 to 3 minutes (the dough should form a rough ball and ride around in the processor). The finished dough should be soft, slightly sticky and elastic. If too dry, add a bit more water; if too wet, a tablespoon or so more flour.
  2. Lay a 12-inch-long piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface. Work the dough into a rectangle on the plastic, about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide. Press your fingers into the top of the dough all over, making indentations as though it were a focaccia. Fold the left third of the dough over (as you would a letter) and repeat the indentations. Fold the right third over and make the indentations again. Cover the folded dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough in half, form each piece into a neat ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer. The morning before you want to make pizza, transfer the dough to the refrigerator to thaw.

Make the pizza:

  1. Bring the dough to room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes. Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 550 degrees. (If you don’t have a stone, oil a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.) Dust a peel or the greased baking sheet generously with cornmeal. Working with the dough in your hands (not flat on a work surface), gently begin to stretch the dough into a circular shape, pressing your fist into the center of the dough and pulling at the edges with your other hand. With both hands, stretch the dough, being careful not to tear it. Working in a circular motion, pull the thicker edges of the dough outward, letting gravity help you. Continue to stretch the dough until it’s relatively even in thickness (the edges will be thicker) and you have the size you want. Carefully lay it on the peel or baking sheet.
  2. Top the pizza as desired and either slide it off the peel and onto your heated stone, or place the baking sheet into the oven. Cook the pizza for 6 to 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling.

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Easiest and Best Pizza Dough

Oh, how I wish I didn’t love pizza. While I may never look like a supermodel, I do believe if not for pizza I could actually be the weight of a supermodel. Alas, it will never happen. I will never break up with pizza, even though he is an abusive boyfriend who sometimes makes me feel very, very bad about myself. Pizza and I have a pathetic, unhealthy, codependent relationship, and I’ve made my peace with that.

As you can imagine, I have tried every version of a homemade pizza crust under the sun, and I have determined that this recipe from Giada is the very best of the bunch. Giada calls this crust tender, and I think that’s the perfect description. I realize that pizza is a very personal thing. In reading the reviews, I see that not everyone loves this recipe as much as I do, but keep in mind the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Personally, texture counts for everything in my pizza crust, and I consider it a blank canvas for my toppings.  I am not looking for any strong flavors, and that seems to be the biggest criticism of the negative reviewers — not flavorful enough. To them, I say, “Try Domino’s.” Did I mention I’m also an opinionated snob?

The strange part about this recipe is that it does not mention oven temperature or cooking time. On my original torn-out Bon Appétit magazine page in my binder, I have “Bake at 475 for about 15 minutes” written in pen. I am not sure where I came up with that, or why there are no instructions on the link I provided. Isn’t that strange? Anyway, I usually preheat a pizza stone, bake the dough for about five minutes, then add the toppings and put it back in the oven for another ten minutes.

Pizza Dough by Giada DeLaurentiis, Bon Appétit, March 2007

Printable recipe here

Ingredients

3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; process until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. KNEAD dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. PUNCH down dough. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. ROLL out dough according to recipe instructions. (Start in center of dough, working outward toward edges but not rolling over them.)

You can see how the dough has doubled in size in one hour. Now it’s ready to punch down and roll out.

 

Can we please admire this beautiful maple rolling pin from Vermont Rolling Pins? Hand crafted and made in Vermont.

Few things make me happier than pepperoni pizza.