Easy Homemade Pizza Crust
Pizza crust is one of those recipes I never attempted. I thought it was so hard, I read recipe after recipe. I made some great crusts and then the next time I made the SAME recipe it would be as flat as a cracker... cue frustration and forever swearing off making pizza dough.
When I say I tried every recipe, I actually mean it. The infamous NYTimes Cooking recipe using 00 flour which was easy enough but I just couldn't source 00 flour and wanted to use only all-purpose-- what we all have in the pantry! Then I tried the cast iron recipe from Joanna Gaines (Magnolia Cookbook) which I do really like but it had a bit too much oil for me and although I LOVE crust-- it was a bit "too much" (Can't believe I said that". And the whole transfer in and out of the cast iron that is a raging 500 degrees F was just not happening anymore. If you're wondering, I've dropped about 3 pizzas through all this trial and error. Finally, I tried the Half Baked Harvest Pizza dough with beer and I liked the taste but felt a bit dry and not as airy to me.
So I decided, I was going to take a little bit from each recipe and make my own. Then I repeated the recipe almost 10 times now in a super humid apartment, super dry apartment, cold weather/summer weather (yes all of this matters to the humidity of your dough), and I've tried it with just about every beer (yes... even the best beer ever, Shipyard Pumpkinhead). The recipe NEVER failed me. It has never become "cracker thin" it always holds it's shape, it's incredibly easy to put into a regular 'ol baking sheet and no special equipment is required. Also, there is very minimal kneading (especially if you have a standing mixer).
I keep my pizza's really simple most days and only rarely do I go all out making my own sauce (usually a pesto), lots of toppings, etc. But if i'm being honest, it's usually store-bought marinara sauce, pre-shredded cheese, and some type of veggies on top! A girl's got things to do... and when i've already made the crust-- I feel like I can "cheat" on these.
My absolute favorite toppings are LOTS of veggies, I like super crispy crusts or soft crusts with crunchy garbanzo beans! (Basically... I like all pizza)
4 grams yeast (1 tsp)
2 grams sugar (1/2 tsp)
38 mL warm water (yes, I know it's specific-- measure it out if you can!)
1 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
6 oz. light beer (if you are an IPA fan, go for it. But you will taste the beer in the crust, so make sure it's a beer you would drink. Best ones are: Lagers, Heifs, any Summer ale, and avoid at all cost any porters or stouts or guinness-- not the time!)
Cooking Spray (or 1 tbs. olive oil
Yields 1- 10" pizza (double recipe for large, family-style pizza)
Directions: This recipe requires 1 hour of "rising" time for the dough, so plan accordingly! Start by heating up some water, you don't want it boiling, you want it lukewarm. Add yeast, sugar, and water to a small bowl. Whisk together for about 15 seconds until the yeast has all been covered by water. Let it set for 5 minutes, uninterrupted.
Meanwhile, add flour and salt to standing mixer. Attach dough hook and let bowl mix for 2 minutes to spread the salt as evenly as possible in the flour. When yeast is done blooming (after 5 minutes) add 1 tbs. of olive oil to yeast mixture. Turn your mixer back on, and add in yeast to your flour/salt. Let mixer go on low speed for 1 minute, then add your beer. Mix again for 1 minute, raise speed to medium and look away... seriously, leave it alone for about 4-5 minutes.
When the dough is done it may look one of two ways. It could be a perfect ball, nothing stuck to any sides-- yay! Or it could be very sticky and stuck everywhere but still incorporated-- also YAY! Fight every urge in your body to add more flour-- don't do it.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, spray all over with cooking spray (or spread around 1 tbs. olive oil). Transfer the dough from the standing mixer to the greased mixing bowl. Cover with tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a nice warm environment (I place mine in the bed, under my duvet covers and lots of blankets) for 1 hour-- if it stays a little more, that's fine.
When dough is done rising, spread flour all around a large counter surface. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees-- yes i'm not joking. If your oven for some reason doesn't go up that high, take it to the highest degree. Take dough out and spread WITH YOUR HANDS around the floured surface. DO NOT USE A ROLLING PIN-- seriously, don't. Use your hands, and as long as the dough is warm it will be super easy to spread out. Keep flipping it so all sides get the flour from the counter and you won't get any sticking. This process should only take maximum 7 minutes, if it's taking longer-- you're stretching the dough too much. If this happens, just leave the dough on the counter for a few minutes untouched. Then transfer your circular dough onto a parchment paper.
Now, learn from my mistakes. Take the parchment paper with the dough and put it on your baking sheet BEFORE YOU LOAD THE TOPPINGS. This may seem self explanatory, but believe me for some reason it's not... (speaking to myself here).
Also, I have to say another thing here. Please do not use TONS OF SAUCE! You will make your pizza soggy, it only needs a tad. Oh and don't skip this step, after you put all your toppings, go back and do an olive oil wash all over the edges where our crust will be (you'll thank me later!)
If your toppings are all cooked (which your meats always should be!) then you only need to place the dough in the oven for 7-9 minutes TOPS!
Other toppings suggestions:
-Breakfast pie (Bacon, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, spinach-- bake for 7 minutes, just as crust is browning crack 2 eggs--put back in oven)
-Mashed potato (no sauce, just add olive oil, then tbs of buttered mash potatoes, bacon bits, cheddar cheese)
-Arugula Pie (red sauce, broccoli, sausage, garlic, fresh cracked pepper, when baked
top with arugula salad on top-- arugula, olive oil, lemon juice!)