Pizza Night is a big deal in our house. And you can buy dough at Trader Joe's or your supermarket, and it's just fine. But why settle for just fine, when making great pizza dough is so easy to do! And when people ask if you made the dough yourself, you calmly answer, 'Why yes I did." It feels good.
You need at least 90 minutes of time, and preferably two hours, but 90% of that time is waiting for it to rise. Try it out!
Mix Warm Water with yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.
Mix Flour and Salt.
In a Kitchen Aid Mixer, or with a spoon or with your clean hands, mix, then knead the flour with the yeasted water. Do this for 5 minutes in the mixer or at least 7 minutes by hand. I prefer kneading it, as my hands can feel the dough when it starts to soften up and become more pliable. Knead it for another minute after you feel that change, and you're good.
Separate into two or three dough balls. Two makes two 12-inch pizzas. Three makes three 8-10 inch pizzas.
Let rise for at least one or two hours. Some ovens have a "proofing" mode, where you can set the temperature to 90 degrees or so. Otherwise, just cover with a cloth in the warmest place in your kitchen and let rise. It should double in size.
About an hour before you are ready to start putting those pies in the oven or Big Green Egg, start the oven at 550 (or as hot as yours will go) and put the pizza stones in there. If you have multiple pizza stones, they work great on the different levels of the oven. Also, if you have a convection oven, that works best.
I'm working on using my gas grill too, and I hope to update you on that soon.
Start in the middle and press out until you have a nice circle, or something that approximates a circle, or some kind of amoeba-like crust that will taste wonderful. 1/4 of an inch is a good thickness target - as that allows some rise an those nice bubbles in the oven. If you want it super thin, roll out with rolling pin to about 1/8". Or, if you're really good (I'm not) toss it and make it the artistic way!
Cover with your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings (keep it light - pizza is not meant to be overloaded) ingredients, bake at 550 degrees ((or the highest your oven will go) on a pizza stone for 6-8 minutes, and you are ready!
One more note - there is always a debate about how to keep pizza dough from sticking to the stone. Cornmeal is a favorite answer, but it's not my answer. Parchment paper. After you roll out the dough, put it on parchment paper and then add the ingredients. When you are ready to bake, slide the pizza WITH THE PARCHMENT PAPER STILL ON THE BOTTOM, into the oven. I take out the parchment paper after 2-3 minutes, it will be brown on the edges, and then the pie loses its stickiness and can be easily moved around on and eventually removed from the stone.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.