The Best Homemade Pizza Dough

Chances are, if your family is a fan of pizza, it's going to be hard to find a recipe to please all age groups. Kids love that flaky bottom and chewy crust, while most adults prefer a gourmet-tasting crust without the added calories and sugar of most recipes. Hopefully for many, this homemade recipe will be the answer to all pizza-related quandaries. It has a fresh, lively taste and works great with any topping you can dream up. Happy creating!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package of active dry yeast (Make sure to check the expiration date for ultimate freshness)
  • 2 tbl extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ts salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 ts brown sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3-4 branches of fresh or dried rosemary

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix yeast and the warm water. The water should be just warm enough to not burn when touched. Stir lightly and let sit.
  2. In a very large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and brown sugar. Sift lightly. Slowly add the olive oil, using a fork to saturate the dry ingredients. Only mix as much as needed, over-mixing will cause the resulting dough to be tough and dry.
  3. When the yeast in the small bowl is of a creamy texture and completely dissolved, add to the dough mixture. Use hands to mix, gently but firmly. Once again, avoid over-mixing but make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. Look over the dough. The surface should be shiny and oily. If it looks dry or isn't moist to the touch, add another capful of olive oil. Remove dough and place on a floured pastry board. If you don't have a pastry board, take a thin dishcloth and stretch tightly over a cutting board. Dust with flour; the cloth and flour dusting helps avoid the dough from sticking.
  5. Firmly knead dough with your hands, stretching and pulling it until it is smooth and lump free. Place back into the large bowl and toss in the sprigs of rosemary. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  6. When ready to use, discard rosemary and bake at 325 degrees F for 23-28 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Helpful tips:

-For a little variety, try using a different cheese or sauce than you normally use. Sauces made with sun-ripened or golden tomatoes have a unique, tangy flavor and bleu, muenster, and feta cheeses all add a delightfully different texture and taste to classic pizza.

-For a crust kids will go crazy for, try rolling cheese or meat into the crust. Simply roll the pizza round about 2 inches larger than the pan. Place cheese or meat in a ring around the edge of the dough and fold over the edges towards the middle.

-This recipe yields one large pizza crust. If more than one is required, double all ingredients but decrease oil by 1 tbl (E.g two crusts would have three tablespoons instead of four.)

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