Ben's been talking about making homemade pizza for quite sometime so I jumped on google and grabbed the first recipe I saw. It was actually pretty quick and painless kneading the dough due to one key element: "Chicken," my trusted KitchenAid stand mixer. She made creating this pizza a dream. Now on to the recipe!
The Dough (makes enough for two 10-12 inch pizzas):
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package of active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil (and a little extra to brush on the dough later)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Whatever you want! We made two types of pizzas: a pepperoni & mushroom with mozzarella and a four cheese pesto.
1. Turn on Dean Martin and turn up the volume.
2. Prepare the Dough:
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, add the warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit and dissolve for 5 minutes. If needed at the end of 5 minutes, stir to dissolve completely.
Using the mixing paddle, mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar on low speed for about a minute. Then, remove the mixing paddle and replace it with a dough hook. Knead using the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic; about 10 minutes (if you don't have a mixer, you can knead by hand... for a long time...). If the dough seems a little too wet, sprinkle on a bit more flour.
Place the ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1.5 hours. Note: I heated my oven to 175 for a few minutes then turned it off, let it cool a little, and placed the bowl inside.
At this point, if you want to make it ahead, you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
3. Prepare the Pizzas:
Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.
Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down to deflate it. Divide the dough in half and form two round balls. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 more minutes.
Now it's time to prepare your toppings. Don't overload your pizza or it will be too heavy and soggy.
Working one ball of dough at a time, flatten it with your hands on a floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let it relax a few minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (this prevents it from getting soggy from the toppings).
Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Generously sprinkle your pizza peel (or flat baking sheet) with cornmeal. Transfer one prepared dough to the pizza peel.
Spoon on the sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and add your toppings.