Basic Pizza Dough

I love making my own pizza dough…not only is it super simple, but it’s so good.  This will make two balls of dough, each one big enough for a pizza, calzone, stromboli…whatever your preference.  

There are so many recipes out there for pizza dough, but this one is by far the best that I’ve tried.  Just a few ingredients, about 10 minutes of your time (minus the waiting for the dough to rise) and you’re good to go!  Also, I also use the fast rising yeast, one less thing you have to wait for (see notes if using regular yeast).  I’ve made some pretty fabulous pizzas and strombolis with this dough…those recipes to follow…

Makes 2 dough balls (about 1 pound each)
Basic Pizza Dough 
1 packages of Fast Rise Yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)*
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 1/4 cup bread flour (approximately – add more a couple of tablespoons at a time if dough is too sticky)
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer** fitted with the dough hook, combine the bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar.  Add water and olive oil and mix.  Continue mixing the dough with the dough hook until it completely pulls apart from the sides, 5-10 minutes.  Lift the dough out, spray the bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place dough back in bowl, turning to coat the surface.  Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.  Cover again with towel and let rest for 30 minutes.  If you are not going to use both, wrap one in plastic wrap and put in fridge (be careful, it will expand!) for no more than 3 days.  If you want to freeze the loaf, wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag.  Place in fridge the morning that you want to use it and it will defrost by dinner time!

* If using regular (not fast rising) yeast, dissolve the packet into 1/4 cup of the warm water and add the tablespoon of sugar.  I do this right in the bowl I’m going to use to mix the dough.  Let sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture foams and doubles in volume.  Then add all of the remaining ingredients, mix and knead as directed above.

**This can also be done by hand – everything into a large mixing bowl as directed above, stir with a wooden spoon until it gets too hard to stir.  Knead with hands 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth.  Continue following the rest of the directions.