Pizza Dough

7:45 AM

Since my husband left for deployment, my kids and I started having Pizza Night every Saturday night. We tend to eat a lot of pizza when he is gone because he is not partial to it, so finally we ordained Saturday as our special pie day. I think when the hubs comes back we will make it "Pizza and Wings" night so we can keep the tradition rolling.

Almost every Pizza Day I make the same sauce because it is to die for, but I'll share that recipe in the next post. For the longest time I would buy store-bought crust because I was always intimidated to make my own, but for the past few weeks I've been making it from scratch. I haven't found any winners yet, but today's crust was REALLY good, and I think it will be the recipe I will fall back to each time unless I want to find a new flavor/texture. The recipe below is a slightly modified Tyler Florence recipe, which caught my eye from all the 5-star reviews, so I figured it was worth a shot.

I immediately noticed a huge difference in the feel of the raw dough after I let it rise compared to others I have made. The dough was so light and fluffy feeling (my last few batches were denser and tougher), and the finished result was just as light - the crust itself was almost like a breadstick. Tyler's recipe says that it makes three 12" thin-crust pizzas, so when I stretched my 1/3 dough to fit my pizza pan, it was VERY thin. Granted, I did it very unevenly since I have not mastered the pizza-flinging technique, which made some spots slightly thicker than others. My portion of the pizza, which had heavy toppings on, couldn't handle the weight. I would recommend either making two pizzas out of the dough to make it slightly thicker and a better vessel for toppings, or if you like the thin-crispy crust and are good at doing pizza, then make it into three. If you are looking for a great crust for your next Pizza Night, give this one a try!

Pizza Dough
Yields 2-3 crusts

1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for coating)
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Ad the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium; stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Get a feel for the dough by squeezing a small amount together; if it's crumbly, add more water; if it's sticky, add more flour - 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough gathers into a ball; this should take about 5 minutes.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times, kneading until it's smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot (i.e. over a gas pilot light) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. This is a good time to stick a pizza stone in the oven and preheat them to 500˚.

4. Once the dough is domed and spongy, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll and stretch the dough into a cylinder and divide into 3 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to roll out.

5. Roll or pat out a piece of dough into a 12 inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Dust a pizza paddle with flour and slide it under the pizza dough. Brush the crust with a thin layer of olive oil, and top with your favorite flavors. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp. Repeat with the remaining dough.

**Extra pizza dough can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for one day, or to freeze, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a Ziploc bag.

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