Pizza Crust1 packet, or 1 heaping tablespoon, dry active yeast 2 teaspoons sugar, divided 1½ cup very warm water 3 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached) + more for rolling dough 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
Run tap water until very warm. To a glass measuring cup, add yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ cup very warm water. Using a small whisk or fork, blend contents briskly. Let yeast mixture bubble up until foamy, about 3-5 minutes.
While yeast is foaming, add flour, rest of sugar, Parmesan cheese and salt (if using) to the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. With mixer running, add the olive oil. Once yeast is foamy, add to flour mixture and combine. To the emptied measuring cup, add 1 cup very warm water. With mixer running, add water – a little at a time – until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. If your dough is too sticky to pull away from the sides, add a little flour.
Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray such as Pam. Turn dough out into the bowl using a spatula. Wet a kitchen towel with warm water, then cover the bowl with the towel. Put the bowl in a non-drafty area of your kitchen and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in bulk. In winter months, it may take longer for dough to rise. While dough is rising, prepare your toppings.
Once the dough has doubled, position oven racks to accommodate two pizzas, then preheat oven to 500°.
With your hand dusted in flour, punch down the dough, then scoop the dough into a ball and turn out onto a flour-dusted rolling surface. Divide dough in half. Begin rolling the first half into a 12″ circle. Once you have worked it out, gently lift the dough on to a 13″ pierced pizza pan, then repeat with the other dough half. Now it is time to dress your pizzas. Once dressed, place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until browned.
If you only want to make one pizza, you can either
- wrap the other dough half in plastic and refrigerator for a couple of days. Bring dough completely to room temperature before rolling out. or
- roll out the other dough half after you have done the first half, then partially bake the crust for 5 minutes. Allow crust to cool then freeze until you are ready to use it.
For convenience, use prepared pasta sauce, watching the sodium content on the label. Preferred brands are Paul Newman’s Tomato and Basil and Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil. Following is a recipe for homemade tomato sauce which came from Ellen’s brother. Each pizza requires about 1/2 cup of sauce.2 tablespoons minced fresh basil 1 tablespoon dried basil ½ teaspoon dried oregano ¼ cup dry white wine ¼ cup minced onion 1 tablespoon olive oil 1½ cups chopped tomatoes 2 tablespoons tomato paste
Steep dry herbs in wine for 15+ minutes. Over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes and paste, then herbs and wine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth. Return to pan and simmer without cover until sauce thickens.