“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”–Yogi Berra
How to Make the Best Pizza Crust Recipe
It’s no exaggeration to say that pizza may be the ultimate food. It incorporates all four food groups. It’s portable. It can be as working-collar as a deep-dish meat lover’s pie or as fancy as a thin-crust, hand-tossed slice topped with fresh scampi and asiago cheese. It can be an all-American slice of pepperoni and cheese or local and ethnic as fresh basil and handmade mozzarella baked in a European-style wood-burning oven.
Pizza is also very easy to make in a standard kitchen oven right in your own home. There are any number of commercially available “pizza kits” that will allow you to add ingredients to pre-made dough, or worse, pre-baked crust.
These may allow you to whip up a pizza quickly, but are ultimately a cop-out. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of a homemade pizza crust! Making your own pizza crust from scratch is an admittedly time consuming process but it’s fantastically easy, and the payoff is worth it. Freshly made pizza crust will improve the taste of your final product immeasurably. Just follow these steps to make the best pizza crust recipe.
You will need:
- 1 envelope of active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- 1 3/4 cups of unbleached plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Feed the yeast. Open the envelope of yeast and mix into the warm (100-110 degrees F.) water. Add the sugar to the mixture stir slightly, leaving it to sit for approximately 6 to 8 minutes. This is called “proofing the yeast,” activating the microbes that will later make your dough rise.
Note: if the instructions on your yeast packet differ significantly, follow those.
2. Mix the wet with the dry. Stir together the flour and salt in a bowl until evenly combined. You can also use a food processor for this, but it isn’t strictly necessary. Keep the bag of flour handy, as you’ll need some to prepare the dough-kneading surface.
After the yeast mixture has sat for long enough, mix this into the dry ingredients. If using a food processor, this will take approximately 30 seconds. If using a bowl, mix until you have a tight, neat ball of dough.
3. Knead, knead, knead (or toss, toss, toss)! Lightly dust both your work surface and your hands with flour. Knead and turn the dough for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, constantly folding it into a ball. If you want to hand-toss your dough, here’s where you would give it a try. Otherwise, you can stretch it out to a flat, disc shape by hand. This recipe will make enough dough for a 12-inch pizza.
You can place the pizza in a round, 12-inch pan, pressing it out to form a slight lip. Or, if you’re feeling especially authentic, you can use a pizza stone (make sure to pre-heat your stone to 450 degrees for about an hour). Add your choice of sauce and toppings.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 500 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice and serve!
Now that you know how to make the best pizza crust recipe, you’ve opened the door to literally countless variations on delicious, fun meals you can make for you and your loved ones.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at tossing the dough to make a New York-style pizza with big, foldable slices. Or, made a Sicilian-style pizza by mixing and baking the various toppings directly into the crust. You can also roll fresh mozzarella cheese into the crust for a stuffed crust-style pizza.
Don’t be afraid of getting creative with toppings, either. Traditional meat and vegetable toppings such as sausage and bell pepper are delicious of course, but why not experiment with something more exotic like cooked shrimp or feta cheese? Marinara sauce is traditional, but why not try Alfredo or barbecue?
Interesting new pizza toppings can be a great way of introducing the finicky eaters in your family to new foods. Kids especially will enjoy experimenting, and will delight in helping add toppings. Always have an adult nearby to supervise when an oven is in use!
The possibilities are literally endless. Knowing how to make the best pizza crust is just the beginning. Bon appetit!