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Classic Homemade Pizza


Posted: July 30

Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Yield: 16 servings

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Skip the trip to the pizza parlor! You’ll feel like a chef when you knead and roll out your very own pizza dough for Classic Homemade Pizza. Then, you’ll get to top it with delicious fresh tomato sauce, creamy cheeses, and Italian meats like pepperoni and sausage. Before you know it, you’ll have a perfectly golden crust and melty cheese. This Classic Homemade Pizza is something you’ll want to sink your teeth into as soon as it gets out of the oven! Careful not to burn your mouth!


Ingredients

For the pizza dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water, 105-115 degrees F
1 package active dry yeast
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for flouring a work surface
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
For the optional toppings:
extra virgin olive oil, for brushing the crust, to taste
cornmeal, to help slide the pizza onto the pizza stone
tomato sauce, smooth or puréed
firm mozzarella cheese, grated, to taste
fresh soft mozzarella cheese, separated into small clumps, to taste
fontina cheese, grated, to taste
parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
feta cheese, crumbled, to taste
mushrooms, very thinly sliced if raw, otherwise first sautéed, to taste
bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, very thinly sliced, to taste
Italian pepperoncini, thinly sliced, to taste
Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled, to taste
fresh basil, chopped, to taste
baby arugula, tossed in olive oil, added as the pizza comes out of the oven, to taste
pesto, to taste
pepperoni, thinly sliced, to taste
onions, thinly sliced raw or caramelized, to taste
ham, thinly sliced, to taste

Directions

Step 1

Place the warm water in the large bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer.

Step 2

Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. The yeast should begin to foam or bloom, indicating that the yeast is still active and alive.

Step 3

Using the mixing paddle attachment of the stand mixer, mix in the flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil on low speed for 1 minute.

Step 4

Replace the mixing paddle with the dough hook attachment.

Step 5

Knead the pizza dough on low to medium speed using the dough hook for about 7-10 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, you can mix the ingredients together and knead them by hand. The dough should be a little sticky or tacky to the touch. If it's too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour.

Step 6

Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the inside of a large bowl.

Step 7

Place the pizza dough in the prepaid bowl and turn it around so that it gets coated with the oil. At this point, you can choose how long you want the dough to ferment and rise. A slow fermentation—24 hours in the fridge—will result in more complex flavors in the dough. A quick fermentation—1 1/2 hours in a warm place—will allow the dough to rise sufficiently to work with quickly.

Step 8

Cover the dough with plastic wrap. For a quick rise, place the dough in a warm place, 75-85 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours. For a medium rise, place the dough in a regular room temperature place for 8 hours. For a longer rise, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The longer the rise the better the flavor the crust will have.

Step 9

Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a pizza pan or a thick baking sheet; you need something that will not warp at high temperatures.

Step 10

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

Step 11

Remove the plastic cover from the dough.

Step 12

Dust your hands with flour and push the dough down so it deflates a bit.

Step 13

Divide the dough in half and form two round balls of dough.

Step 14

Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic, and let sit for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Step 15

Prepare the toppings. Note that you are not going to want to load up each pizza with a lot of toppings as that will prevent the crust from becoming crispy. About 1/3 cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. As an example, 1-2 whole mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.

Step 16

Working one ball of dough at a time, take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a lightly floured work surface.

Step 17

Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick.

Step 18

Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further.

Step 19

Let the dough relax for 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter, about 10-12 inches.

Step 20

You can also hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch while working around the edges of the dough. If a hole appears in your dough, place the dough on a floured surface and push the dough back together to seal the hole.

Step 21

Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. Pinch the edges if you want to form a lip.

Step 22

Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling.

Step 23

Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. This prevents the crust from getting soggy from the toppings.

Step 24

Let the dough rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Step 25

Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel with cornmeal.

Step 26

Transfer one prepared flattened dough to the pizza peel. If the dough has lost its shape in the transfer, lightly shape it to the desired dimensions.

Step 27

Spoon on the tomato sauce.

Step 28

Sprinkle with your preferred cheeses.

Step 29

Place your desired toppings on the pizza.

Step 30

Sprinkle the cornmeal on the pizza stone.

Step 31

Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone in the oven. Gently shake the peel to see if the dough will easily slide before attempting this. If not, gently lift up the edges of the pizza and add a bit more cornmeal.

Step 32

Bake the pizzas one at a time, until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes.

Step 33

Serve!


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