Perfect Pizza Crust

Makes two 12-inch crusts

1 3/4 cup warm water

1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (recommended: RapidRise)

2 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl

Cornmeal, for pan



Preheat oven at 450 degrees.


Stir water and yeast in a small bowl and allow it to activate, about 10 minutes.


Mix the salt and 2 cups of the flour in a large bowl. Pour in the yeast water and mix. Add the olive oil. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until well blended. As soon as the mixture is combined, dump it out onto a well-floured board and knead for 15 turns, until the dough is smooth and elastic.


Place the dough in an olive oil-greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap or a dry towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size, then punch it down. Divide it in half; each half will make one 12-inch pizza.


Place the dough on a cornmeal-dusted pizza stone, pizza pan, or cookie sheet. Roll up edge slightly to create a ridge around the pizza. Add desired sauce and toppings. Brush the crust lightly with olive oil. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until crust is light brown.


Note: If using only half of the dough, freeze the other half. Place the dough in a resealable freezer bag. To thaw, remove the bag from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Roll the dough out while cold then allow it to come to room temperature before adding toppings.
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