Homemade Pizza Dough

After suffering for years with the dough-in-the-can and graduating to the dough-in-the-bag from the store, I finally decided to put my cherry red KitchenAid 90th Anniversary stand mixer to work on pizza dough.  It came out absolutely delicious, fluffy and crispy, and it was much easier than I thought it would be.  And so I share…

Pizza Dough Recipe:

1 package active dry yeast (if you have the Costco-sized bag of yeast, use 2 1/4 tsp)

1 cup warm water (heated in microwave for no more than 30 sec)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp olive oil (extra virgin or don’t bother)

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp cornmeal (optional)

Warm the mixer bowl by turning it upside down in the sink and running hot water over it for a few minutes.  I do NOT recommend you microwave the metal mixer bowl or even the glass one with the ring on the bottom.  I’m a lawyer, trust me on this one.

Dissolve the yeast in warm water in the warmed mixer bowl.  Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups flour.  Attach the bowl and dough hook to mixer.  Turn to speed 2 and mix for about 1 minute.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour a little at a time and mix until the dough clings to the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes.  If you add too much flour the dough will start to break into pieces, so slowly add a little water until the dough comes together again.  Knead on speed 2 about 2 more minutes.

Put the dough into a bowl greased with olive oil.  Again, extra virgin or don’t bother.  Turn the dough over a few times to make sure it’s coated in the oil.  Cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.  An hour later, take out your frustrations by punching the dough down.

Now you’re ready to bake.  Brush a pizza pan with oil or sprinkle a nonstick cookie sheet with cornmeal, or use a pizza stone, whatever you have.  Warning: if you try to do the whole pizzeria toss into the air thing, be sure you’ve made a spare batch of dough in case it ends up on the floor.  Not that I did this, I’m just saying.

Add your toppings.  For mine, I used fresh mozzarella (the squishy watery kind, not the dry kind), fresh chopped garlic, halved cherry tomatoes, halved kalamata olives, and fresh basil.  Drizzle the entire thing with olive oil, paying special attention to the crust and sprinkle some coarse salt over the whole thing.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.