Who makes pizza dough at home? People that have no lives, that’s who. But seriously, given the fact that it takes exactly twelve minutes from start to finish, and some independent rising time, there’s really no reason not to. We’ve bought pre-made pizza shells before, and if not disappointed, weren’t blown away either. The pre-made shells were usually lackluster, generic and some had some pretty interesting ingredients, so one fine day, I turned to my friend GOOGLE (did I mention I love you, and can’t remember life before you?) and googled pizza dough.
All the recipes were about the same with minor variations – quick rising yeast vs. regular, honey vs. sugar, long fermentation or short, the magic ingredients that make a pizza are mainly about flour, water and yeast. I’ve tried several variations on the theme, and they’re all pretty much the same – good fast dough for one huge pizza (24”) or two reasonable ones.
In the end I came up with a recipe that seems to have a tiny edge on the majority, and here I present to you the glorious weeknight crust:
1 package dry yeast
1/3 cup hot water
1 cup beer (yes, you can use water, but where’s the fun in that?)
3 .5 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Combine the yeast and warm beer/water mix in a small bowl, and let stand for five minutes until the yeast is dissolved.
In a large bowl mix all the other ingredients, add yeasty water.
Turn onto a clean, floured counter and knead for 8-10 minutes. Yes, that counts as exercise.
Put your dough in a bowl with a clean dishtowel on top, and let rise in a warm place. I usually stick it inside the oven with the pilot light on. Finish the beer, you earned it.
The dough will take about an hour and a half to rise. Remove your masterpiece.
This is where you can decide how many pizzas to make – it freezes well in case you only want half.
Whatever portion you will use – punch down, and allow another 10 minute rest. This is the time to prep all the pizza toppings and warm up the oven.
Stretch and pull the dough over your pizza stone or baking tray or whatever you’ll bake on, and use your fingers to dent the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling.
You’re all done, and about twenty minutes away from the best thing you’ll eat all day.
P.S. I’d bake it at 420 F until it looks done and smells better. Maybe 20 min?