Ah pizza…no matter how many other foods I expose my family to, they keep coming back to pizza! I’m actually alright with that, because when I make my own crust, I can top it with anything I want. Most recently, I topped it with Rock Your World lemon marinated shrimp, feta cheese, mozzarella, red bell peppers, spinach, shallots and Alfredo sauce. We’re talking GOOD STUFF! Throw it into the oven at 550 degrees F for 8 minutes and chow’s on! This can easily be made earlier in the day and refrigerated. Simply bring it to room temperature before stretching and baking.
Here are some tips on how to make the best pizza ever:
Make sure that you measure your flour correctly.
The absolute best way to do this is to weigh it with a scale. Why you ask? Because flour compacts, so every time you measure with a measuring cup, depending on how much it’s packed, you will get a different amount of flour. Using a measuring cup, your recipe has the potential to come out differently every time.
Use the right kind of flour.
It’s your main ingredient, so it’s going to make a difference in the final product. If you like a chewier crust, you definitely want to go with bread flour. It has more protein than all-purpose flour. More protein means more gas bubbles in the dough, and more gas bubbles means a bread that is tender and chewy versus solid and biscuit like.
Crank up the heat.
The higher the better! Your local pizzeria cooks their pizza in an oven that’s 700 to 1000 degrees F. So crank yours up to 550F! The high heat helps the dough to expand quickly creating airy pockets in the dough.
Use a pizza stone.
This is a small investment for a large return. A good stone, once preheated will hold a lot of heat energy that it will quickly release into the pizza making for a more restaurant style crispy crust. Allow the stone to preheat for at least 30 minutes.
Use your hands to stretch out the dough.
As much as you want to get out the rolling pin and make quick work of this pizza, the mere act of rolling that dough actually flattens a lot of those bubbles that you have tried so hard to develop to create that airy, chewy crust. Use your hands to pull and stretch the dough. If it keeps springing back and won’t hold its shape, give it a 15 minute rest to allow the glutens to relax and try again.
Put it on parchment paper.
It makes it really easy to move around by being able to slide it from a flat baking sheet or peel directly onto the pizza stone, parchment paper and all. It also makes for easy clean up of both your counter and your pizza stone. It is perfectly ok if it gets a little charred in the oven. Just pull it gently when removing the pizza from the oven.
Now let’s get started!!
Let sit 10 minutes until yeast is foamy.
Stir by hand until beginning to come together.
Using your mixer with a dough hook, continue to knead dough for 3 minutes until a smooth ball forms.
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 1 packet Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil for the bowl
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- In a mixer bowl, add warm water, honey and yeast. Stir to combine and let sit 10 minutes until yeast is foamy.
- By hand stir in the salt and 1 cup of flour. Add the remaining two cups of flour stirring until incorporated and beginning to come together.
- Using your mixer with a dough hook, continue to knead dough for 3 minutes until a smooth ball forms. Assess if more flour is needed to bring the dough together and add by tablespoonful until dough comes together.
- Oil a large bowl and place dough ball in it. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm spot for one hour. I use my warming drawer on the proofing setting. Dough will double in size.
- After an hour, divide dough in half and place each half on its own sheet of parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes to an hour. Dough balls will once again double in size.
- Leave dough on the parchment paper for easiest handling. Sprinkle with a little flour and stretch it into the desired shape. Top pizza and bake.