1 3/4 cups warm water
1 TBS sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
6 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBS salt
Combine water, sugar, and yeast, and let sit until the yeast
bubbles nicely. Stir in one cup of flour, then the olive oil and
salt. Add another 4 1/5 cups of flour, mixing with a large spoon
until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and holds
Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of flour on your kneading surface (I use
a sieve to get an even sprinkle). Turn the dough out and knead it
until it feels like a cohesive dough. Let it rest while you clean
and grease the mixing bowl for rising. Continue kneading until the
dough is smooth and spongy.
There are three options for rising: regular, slow, and none. Slow
means making the dough in the morning and popping it into the fridge
until evening. For either regular or slow, the dough should double
in bulk. For no-rise dough, just let the dough rest for 5 to 10
The original recipe calls for using a rolling pin to shape the
dough, but frankly, that doesn't work well for me. This recipe
makes either two thick-crust or three thin-crust 12 inch pizzas or
four 9 inch pizzas. The shaping method that works for me is to
flatten a ball of dough and then put both hands under it, with
fingers interlaced. By pulling my fingers apart and turning the
dough on top of them, I can stretch it fairly evenly. Whatever
works is good. Don't try to stretch each piece all the way at once.
Let each one rest while you work on the others.
For a crunchy crust, sprinkle whatever you're going to bake the
pizza on with cornmeal. For a softer crust, grease the baking sheet
or stone. When the pizzas are the right size, slide them onto the
prepared pan. Brush the top with olive oil, to prevent the sauce
from soaking in. If you're not using sauce, you can skip this step.
Apply toppings (this is my favorite step).
For a really crispy crust, bake it for 10 minutes at 475 before
decorating. Otherwise, you can either bake it as soon as it's
decorated or let it rise again for 15 to 30 minutes before baking.
In any case, the pizza should go on the bottom rack of the oven, and
cook for about 15 to 20 minutes total. Check at the 5 to 10 minute
mark, and lower the temperature to 450 if it's browning too quickly
(I've never had to do this).
Thanks to tayefeth for this one. I only wanted one pizza, so I made a 1/3 sized batch and made a thin crust, and a 1/2 sized batch and made a thicker crust.
Both were good, though on the thicker one I undercooked the crust a little, but I think I can fix that next time. In any case, this is a fine, standard pizza crust and I'm perfectly happy with it. And will likely be making more of it.