Long are the days where you run by the store, pick up a frozen pizza and either let it sit in the fridge or throw the stone cold brick in the oven. No, you are about to be imbued with the magic our Italian ancestors first discovered. What’s great is, you can prepare the dough in a relatively short amount of time.

This post focuses just on the making the bread dough. Use your favorite toppings and sauce too! Make it your own! Also, don’t worry about getting the pizza precisely round. Homemade meals like these are perfectly imperfect.

I’d also recommend you make this the night before you plan to use it, that way you can get home from work and pull it out of the refrigerator and go.

The ingredients below will make a beautiful XL sized pizza. If you want to make smaller, go ahead and make the dough as listed below, and cut off as you see fit.

INGREDIENTS
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
2 teaspoons coarse salt
4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface

DIRECTIONS
Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast and let it stand until it gets foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk sugar, oil, and salt into yeast mixture.

Add flour and stir with a fork until a sticky dough forms. If you find it’s too tough to mix with the fork, use some wet hands to mix the rest.

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and brush top with olive oil.

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Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. I did this using room temperature, and it was fine. Just make sure there’s not a draft in the room.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 1 or 2 times before using.

You’ll want to preheat your oven to 450 degrees, for at least 30 to 60 minutes (preferably with a pizza stone). Whatever surface you use, you want it just as hot as the inside of the oven, before the raw pizza goes on it. If you don’t have a pizza stone, I’ve read where amateur cooks have gotten by with a baking sheet.

HOW TO TOSS DOUGH

I use to work at a pizza shop so I’m very familiar with how to hand toss a dough ball. You want to flatten the ball out and start working it into a frisbee shape. Take your knuckles and begin stretching the dough, making it wider.

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When it’s about as wide as your forearm you can try to toss it in the air. Take both hands, turn them into fists in front of you, like you’re boxing. Put the dough disc on top of both of them.

Push your right hand to your left and your left hand to your right and give a gentle push up in the air. The dough disc should spin and land back on your fists. Don’t be afraid to use your forearms in this process when it gets really wide.

The trick to this is to always, always use your knuckles and the tops of your hands. If you catch the dough as it’s coming down with your fingers, you’ll surely poke holes in it.

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After that you can throw some cornmeal down on a pizza peel, a work surface or a baking sheet. The cornmeal will help the pizza slide off onto into your oven.

Give the newly formed pizza pie a little olive oil glaze for wow factor.

OPTIONAL: You can curl the crust around the pizza to help catch any melting cheeses or running sauces. Or if you’ve gone for a really flatbread, you can opt out of this.

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Add your favorite pizza sauce, toppings and cheeses. Then take the pizza and put her in to bake. She’ll be down when the edges are good and brown, and the toppings look cooked (about 20-30 minutes if you’re using all of the dough you’ve made).

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If you want to freeze, you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze it in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months.

If you plan to use it in a recipe that calls for half a batch, divide it before freezing.

Share your pictures and let me know how the recipe went for you! Anything you tweaked? Bon appetit!

pizza