Perfect Pizzeria-Style Pizza Crust
Makes dough for 2 large pizzas
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
4-6 cups flour
In a large mixing bowl add the water, yeast, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Allow mixture to stand for 5 minutes. Add one cup of flour and mix to combine. Add another cup of flour and mix through. Mix by hand for 1 or 2 minutes. The dough should be the consistency of cake batter. Add another cup of flour and mix through. Add flour until you can't mix it by hand very well. Sprinkle some flour on your table and turn the dough onto the table. Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. This should take 6 to10 minutes of kneading. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 15 to 60 minutes (this time varies a lot for me, I just let it rise according to how long it is until dinner time).
While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat, too. I would recommend using a stone for baking this pizza. If you don't have a stone you can turn your biggest cookie sheet upside down (so that the flat side is up) or use a rimless sheet. If you are using a stone let the stone heat for 30 minutes. If using a baking sheet, let it heat for 15 minutes.
When the oven is hot, cut your dough in half. Place half of the dough on a piece of parchment paper that is 18 inches long. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough (on top of the parchment paper) into a 12 to 14 inch circle. The dough should be about a half-inch thick. Top with 1 cup of pizza sauce, 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella, and toppings of your choice.
When the pizza is all ready, slide the pizza, which is on the parchment paper, onto a rimless cookie sheet or one that is upside down. This will help you get the pizza to the oven.
Open the oven and slide the pizza which is still on the parchment paper, from the cookie sheet onto the hot baking stone or hot cookie sheet. I just tug on the edge of the parchment paper with my hands and slide it on to the stone. BE CAREFUL! Your oven is set to 500. It's super hot, obviously! Make sure the babies are out of the way and be careful when sliding the pizza into the oven.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the top is bubbly and the edges are starting to brown. When the pizza is done, tug the edge of the parchment paper and slide the pizza back onto the cookie sheet you used to transfer it to the oven. Again, be careful!
Let your stone reheat for 10 minutes. While the stone is heating, repeat the whole thing with the second half of the dough and bake the same way.
Enjoy, enjoy enjoy!
I serve it right off of the parchment paper (which gets all dark and cooked looking) or I'll tear off a new piece and serve it on a crisp white sheet of parchment. Very pretty!