I live in a small town. We do however, have two, yes count ’em, TWO pizza joints. Sorry to anyone reading this who may be a fan of those local eateries. But I am not. Don’t get me wrong. They’re ok in a pinch, but for pizza snobs like myself, they just aren’t worth the dough ($ee what I did there?) Sorry, it’s mid week crazy hitting me hard tonight.
I like a thin Italian style pizza, with a sweetish sauce, topped with a variety of quality cheeses and a crisp, well-done crust that has a slight crunch, but you can still fold it in half, the only way to eat a slice of pizza. It can be hard to get a good pie like that in a home oven, as they can’t get as hot as a wood burning pizzeria oven. Unless you are lucky enough to have a special pizza oven taking up half of your garage. But you can still get a great homemade pizza with a few good tips and of course, a great dough, even without said special
gigantic pizza oven.
I am admittedly, not a great planner. More times than not, I have not taken out anything for dinner. When that’s the case, I usually want something pretty quick and easy. Now, I know I can dial up one of those pizza places and have dinner delivered to my door in half an hour. But I can’t, in good conscience, do that when I have this quick, delicious, foolproof dough recipe in my arsenal.
Before I go any further, this dough has instantly become my favorite recipe. I use it every week at least once and sometimes again on the weekends when the kids have friends over. I did give it a little tweak, but it’s basically the same. So let me give mad props to Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for sharing this recipe. She’s my new girl crush (blush). Click on over for a visit, but plan on spending some time. She rocks.
This dough comes together super quick and only needs ten minutes or so to rest. It makes two medium size pizzas, which can feed quite a few people, especially if you throw together a nice salad to go with it.
Here are a couple of tips for a great pizza every time.
- Don’t work the dough too much. I throw a bit of flour (AP or semolina) on the counter and use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat circle. Making sure you pin it every once in a while so it isn’t sticking. Use more flour if necessary if it starts to stick. Transfer your dough to your cooking surface (pan, stone, screen) and make any adjustments if needed. No need to toss it in the air like the pros do.
- Use a pizza screen. I have a stone that I have used for 15 years. It is beautifully seasoned and makes a great crust. But after many trials, I really think the screen is better. The crust is crispier and it is easier to use because it doesn’t have to be pre-heated in the oven. Sometimes that hot stone can be troublesome. I have the scars to prove it! The dough also sticks to it better. I don’t know about you, but fighting with dough that keeps bouncing back can be maddening.
- Use quality ingredients. That’s a no-brainer. Freshly grated cheese (some bagged, shredded cheese contains cornstarch which can make it melt funny), rich sauce and fresh meats, vegetables and herbs. I don’t think pizza needs too many toppings. Just use amazing ingredients. There’s nothing like a pizza topped with a deep red summer tomato sauce or slices, fresh buffalo mozzarella, fragrant basil from the garden and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Simple and delicious.
- Let it cool a bit before transferring it to a cutting surface. If you move it when it’s still hot, the crust will lose a bit of its crunch. Be patient.
I hope you find these tips helpful and make you want to skip the takeout and give homemade pizza a try.
Thanks again Mel for this recipe!
Quick and Easy Foolproof Pizza Dough
- 1 cup warm water (105-1110F)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 -3 cups flour (see note)
- Preheat oven to 475-500F
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the water, sugar, oil, yeast and salt. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Flour amounts can vary, so go by the feel of the dough versus the cup measurement. The dough should be soft and smooth and not leave your fingers sticky, but also not stiff either.
- Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead another minute.
- Cut in half and let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Roll onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into pizza(s), place on your screen or stone, spread with sauce and toppings, and bake for approximately 8-10 minutes until golden and bubbly.