Homemade pizza is so much fun to make. You’ve basically got a blank slate that you can work with to make anything you want – the possibilities as far as toppings go are only limited by your taste buds and your imagination. I would imagine this would also be really fun to make with kids – you could even separate the crust into individual pizzas and allow everyone to make their own!
The first few times we tried homemade pizza, it was good, but not perfect. We liked it, but take-out was still better. Now, I finally feel like we’ve got it down, so I’m ready to share the recipe with you! This recipe can be made the day of, or it can be made ahead of time and frozen so you can have homemade pizza any time you’d like. The nice thing about this recipe is that it makes enough for 2 crusts, so we usually do both – make 1 pizza that night, and freeze the remaining dough for another day. It’s also simple enough that if you have a free afternoon, you can mix up the dough and freeze both portions – I love to keep our freezer stocked with things like this Which is definitely part of the reason why we just ordered a new (aka bigger) refrigerator – but that’s a story for another day. Once we get the fridge (it was back-ordered… boo!!) and have a chance to use it for a little while, I’ll be sure to share our thoughts on it with you guys.
- ½ cup warm water (between 100-110°F)
- 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast*
- 22 oz. (about 5 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 1¼ cup water, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the crust
* You can easily substitute instant yeast here – I just happened to have active dry on hand. If using instant, there’s no need to proof the yeast in warm water for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine the warm water and the yeast. Stir gently and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The yeast should foam up – if not, your yeast may be old and probably won’t rise properly. This hasn’t ever actually happened to me, but just an FYI.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour and salt. Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook and mix briefly on low. Add the room temperature water to the yeast mixture. With the mixer on the lowest speed (“stir” on a KitchenAid), slowly pour the yeast-water mixture into the bowl. Add in the olive oil and continue to mix until a somewhat cohesive dough is formed. Increase the mixer speed to low (“2″ on a KitchenAid) and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl (I just use a Misto sprayer to spray some olive oil around the mixer bowl) and turn the dough over to coat lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm area (around 70-75°F) until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and press down gently to deflate. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form each into a smooth, round ball. If freezing, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag, then transfer to the freezer immediately. The double-wrapping is necessary – the dough may burst through the plastic wrap as it continues to rise a bit before it freezes completely. Freeze until the day you plan to use it, the transfer to the refrigerator that morning (if making it for dinner). Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.
If not freezing, cover the dough ball with a damp cloth and let sit for 15-30 minutes. While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 500°F. If using a pizza stone (which I highly recommend in order to get a crispier crust – not using a pizza stone can make your dough kind of soft and soggy), make sure the pizza stone is in the oven while it is preheating. You should aim to preheat your oven for at least 30 minutes before baking.
For your shaping surface, you can use either a pizza peel or a piece of parchment paper. We don’t have a pizza peel so I always go with the parchment paper, which makes it really easy to transfer the pizza to the oven. Just slide the parchment onto a cutting board or baking sheet when you’re ready to move the pizza, then slide the parchment right onto the pizza stone.
After your dough has rested, sprinkle your shaping surface with cornmeal or semolina and transfer your dough onto it. Shape the dough into a 12- to 14-inch round, leaving it slightly bulkier around the edge for the crust. If the dough is too springy and keeps wanting to spring back towards the center, just let it sit for 15 minutes and try again. Brush the edge of the pizza lightly with some olive oil, then top as desired. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden-brown, about 8-12 minutes.
Yield: 2 pizza crusts