This is my all-time favorite pizza dough. It comes together easily in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or in a food processor, but you can also knead by hand.
Since originally posting the recipe I have updated it a bit. I almost always use quick rising yeast, and I usually halve the recipe since there are only three of us. Half the recipe makes 1 12 inch crust.
- 1 cup very warm water (110 to 120 F)
- 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) -- I usually use quick rise
- 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups bread flour (13.5 ounces) -- weigh for best results
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for the bowl
- In a glass measuring cup, combine the warm water with the yeast and honey. Let it sit until it starts to bubble and foam. If you're using quick yeast or Rapid Rise, skip this step and just mix the yeast with the flour.
- In bowl of a stand mixer, combine the salt and flour. Add the water mixture to the salt and flour, stirring until well mixed, then add the olive oil. With the dough hook, knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl lined with more olive oil. Cover and let rise for about an hour. Punch down and use immediately or put it in a freezer bag and freeze it or refrigerate over night. If refrigerating, every so often, punch the dough down, as it will continue rising in the refrigerator.
- To bake, remove from the refrigerator and press the dough into 4 circles (without a dish) or into two large circles in a pizza dish. Allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour, then bake using your favorite recipe.
- I usually bake the crusts for about 4 to 6 minutes at 400, add toppings, then bake for another 10 minutes.
- The crusts can also be partially baked a few hours ahead of time and then topped and re-baked later.
- Latest Favorite Method: What I like to do is halve the recipe, press it into a 12 inch round on a baking sheet, bake at 425 for 5 minutes or until set, then remove from the baking sheet and let sit at room temperature (usually a few hours) until I am ready to bake it at dinner time. When ready to bake, top the crust as usual and bake directly on the rack for about 10 minutes at 400 or however long you need to melt the cheese and toppings.
Also, if you don't have a scale you might want to start with only 2 cups of flour, then add remaining cup in 1/4 cup increments until dough is neither too sticky nor dry. The reason for this is that 3 cups of flour can weigh anywhere from 13.5 ounces to 16 ounces depending on how the flour is packed into the cups. If you weigh out 13.5 ounces, your dough should be just right, but if you scoop the flour without weighing an unknowingly use 15 ounces or so because your flour was packed tighter, 3 cups would make the dough too dry. So if you don't have a scale, it's best to measure incrementally.