Basic Pizza Crust
- 3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp yeast, quick-rise
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 cup(s) water, warm (105ºF–115ºF)
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp uncooked unenriched white cornmeal
- Pulse the flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor 2 or 3 times to blend. With the machine running, add the water and oil through the feed tube; process until the mixture forms a ball, about 10 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead a few minutes until it forms a smooth ball and is lightly coated with flour.
- Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; place the dough in the bowl. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, 45–60 minutes. Or let the dough rise in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. (At this point, the dough can be frozen. To reuse, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.)
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide it in half, and knead each half until it just forms a smooth ball and is lightly coated with flour. Spray 2 large bowls with nonstick spray; put a dough ball in each bowl. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until they puff up a little, 10–15 minutes.
- To assemble the pizza(s), preheat the oven to 500ºF. For each crust, lightly spray a 12-inch nonstick pizza pan with nonstick spray; dust each pan with one tablespoon of the cornmeal.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and shape it into a round, flat disk; let it rest for a few minutes, then place it in the pizza pan. Pat and gently stretch it to the desired thickness and shape. Sprinkle with toppings of your choice, and bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Yields 1/4 pizza crust per serving.
Today we can enjoy the real thing, with a crisp homemade crust and our choice of toppings. This recipe uses quick-rise yeast, so there’s hardly any kneading—and it’s a cinch to whirl in your food processor. What’s more, the recipe makes enough dough for two pizzas; enjoy one now and refrigerate the rest of the dough for up to two days—or freeze it for up to two months, so you’re pizza-ready anytime. To shape and stretch the dough like a pro, place one hand over the dough, and, with your other hand, gently pull on one side of the dough as far as it will stretch without breaking. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat until it has reached the desired size and thickness. If the dough starts to tear, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. This relaxes the proteins in the dough and makes it easier to stretch. One of the secrets to a great pizza crust is a very hot oven. Be sure your oven has reached the recommended temperature before you slide that pizza in. To make the dough by hand, combine 11/2 cups of the flour with the yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and oil; stir until the dough starts to gather around the spoon. Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, until the dough can no longer be stirred. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.