Pizza Crust

This pizza crust is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and incredibly delicious!

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Pizza Crust

Serves 4; Yields 15 inch round pizza or 16 x 11 inch rectangle pizza

Total Time:  4 hrs. 20 min

Prep Time:  30 min

Rise Time:  3 hrs. 35 min

Cook Time:  15 min

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 13.33 oz. bread flour (approx. 2 ¾ cups), plus extra for kneading
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

 

Directions

  1. Heat the water to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  Add the yeast, stir, and allow to foam (approximately 5 minutes).  If the yeast does not foam, repeat the process again.
  2. Place the salt, flour, honey, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Stir the mixture for 30 seconds until combined.
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl and mix on low until the dough starts to form a ball, about 30 seconds.
  4. Switch to the hook attachment and knead the dough for 10 minutes on medium-high speed (make sure the mixer is in the locked position).  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface (dough will be slightly sticky) and knead by hand for 2 minutes (adding additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the board).
  5. Once the dough passes the windowpane test (see below for more info), form into a ball.
  6. Coat a metal or glass bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the ball of dough and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap, then a tea towel and rise in a warm place until doubled in size (approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes).
  7. Gently push down the dough to remove the air bubbles.
  8. If not preparing immediately, place the dough inside a plastic bag and refrigerate for 1 day or freeze for future use.  If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator.  Allow dough from the fridge to sit at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes before continuing with step #10.
  9. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, add 1 tablespoon of flour on top to absorb any additional moisture, press down into a disk to redistribute the yeast, roll into a ball, and cover with a tea towel for 30 minutes.
  10. Flatten the dough into a disk or rectangle using the heal of your hand.  Then stretch until ¼ inch thick (add flour as need to prevent dough from sticking to the surface).  Place the dough on a baking sheet or pizza pan.
  11. Rest the dough for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Brush the dough with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  13. Add sauce (no more than 1 ½ cups) and desired toppings (see my favorite toppings here).
  14. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are crispy and the cheese has melted.
  15. Rest for 2 minutes before slicing.
  16. Store leftovers in the fridge or freeze for later.

 

Here is the ingredient lineup:  honey, bread flour, yeast, kosher salt, olive oil, and water.  I like to use bread flour for pizza crust because it contains more protein than all-purpose flour.  This extra protein aides the gluten development during the kneading process and helps create a chewy crust.

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The first step for this recipe is super important – proofing the yeast!  Before we continue with our recipe we need to make sure our yeast is alive and well.  Adding the yeast to warm water (115 degrees Fahrenheit) will awaken it.  Stir up the yeast and wait about 5 minutes.  If the mixture has started to foam, you’re all set.  If not, restart the process – either the yeast is dead or the water is too hot (usually over 120 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Foamy Yeast!

Place the salt, flour, honey, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl and mix until combined – I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add the yeast mixture and mix on low until the dough has formed into a ball.

Now the fun begins!  Grab your dough hook (arrrgh!) and knead the dough for 10 minutes on medium-high speed (I used setting #8).  And make sure you lock down your mixer… it helps alleviate the mixer from jumping all over the place.  Once this step is finished, the dough will be slightly sticky.

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Next, put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes, adding additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the surface.  Use the heal of your hand to push the dough down, then forward.  Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat, incorporating more flour as needed.  You can knead the dough entirely by hand if you like!  Just keep in mind that it may take longer than 12 minutes to fully develop the gluten.

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So, has the gluten developed?  Is the dough ready for the next step?  Tear off a small piece and hold it up to the light.  Begin gently stretching the dough out.  If you can see through it, the dough is ready.  If, however, it tears before it reaches the translucent point, continue kneading and check after 2 minutes.  This is called the windowpane test.  My one-handed attempt at a picture of this…. (#strugfest)

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Once the dough is ready, form it into a ball.  Coat a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add the dough, and toss to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and place in the warmest part of your house (I keep mine in my pantry with the hot water heater, but laundry rooms work well too!)  Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size – mine took 2 hours and 45 minutes, but this can vary.

After the dough has risen, gently push it down to remove the air bubbles.

At this point you can split the dough into pieces if you want to make individual pizzas.  Or you can freeze the dough (or part of it) for future use.  If the dough is frozen, thaw in the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes before continuing with the next step.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and add an additional tablespoon of flour to absorb any moisture.  Press down into a disk to redistribute the yeast, form a ball, and cover with a tea towel for 30 minutes.

Flatten the dough into a disk or rectangle.  I used the heal of my hand to do this part.

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Stretch the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick, making sure the thickness is uniform – this will allow the pizza to cook evenly.  Feel free to roll it out even thinner if you like super thin crust and have a large enough pan to accommodate it.  Then place the dough on a baking sheet, pizza pan, baking stone, or even a cast iron skillet!

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Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes while it preheats.  This final rest will help create a chewy interior.

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Resting dough!

Brush the dough with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  This will create a barrier between the crust and sauce and will prevent the crust from getting soggy.  Add sauce and desired toppings (my favorites include Italian sausage and fresh mozzarella – see this recipe for full details).

Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is crispy and all the cheese has melted.

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Nommmm.  I know it’s difficult, but let the pizza rest for a couple of minutes before slicing.  If you have any leftovers, they will last in the fridge for about 4 days.  Or you can freeze individual slices – homemade frozen pizza!

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I’d love to know your thoughts!  What are your favorite pizza toppings?

 

 

 

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