Basic Pizza Dough Recipe:
*3 1/2 cups flour (I use a nice blend of unbleached white & whole wheat)
*1 cup warm water
*2 TB yeast
*2 TB honey
*1/4 cup olive oil
*1/2 tsp. salt
Two Big Personal Notes Here:
1) I use a bread maker, set for 'Dough'. The main reason I do this is because of Murphy's Law. When trying to make bread and having little kids under foot, someone will always need attention when you are hands-deep in mixing dough. This is just one of those time savers.
2) This recipe is enough for two "medium" sized pizzas and too much for one big pizza. But it is so yummy (as homemade pizza tends to be), you'll be glad you split the dough in half for the second pizza!
While the dough is rising a little in the bread machine I turn my oven on to 425 degrees, with my pizza stone in there. In fact, I keep my stone in there all the time. One, it makes the oven run more efficiently and two, finding somewhere else to store the stone would be a pain.
When you're ready to start, take your stone out & remember, it will be hot! Spread a little whole durum wheat flour (or just flour if you haven't got that) over it. The gritty texture is good. If you can toss your dough, go for it. If not, shape it into a decent ball-shape, put it on the stone, sprinkle it with some flour and get out your rolling pin. Roll it out across the stone. Let the edges start to hang a little off the stone. You'll fold them back up to make the edge of the crust (nice and simple is the key!).
~Not a bad looking pizza dough. You'll be surprised how thin you can roll it!~
When you've got yourself a decent looking pizza dough, put it back in the oven SANS toppings for about 10 minutes. This will help ensure that the dough actually cooks and gets nice & pizza crispy. Otherwise you run the risk of feeling like you're eating pizza on soft bread.
Now it is time for the toppings. You know what you like, so go for it. I will share with you what I ended up putting on our two pizzas from the other night.
~Pizza #2: Made on a cookie sheet rather than a pizza stone (a good alternative). Topped with pesto sauce, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and .... ~
~ .. lots of fresh mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, freshly grated Monterey jack cheese, and Parmesan & Romano cheese .. as well as some more organic garlic powder for good measure~
My apologies for the lack of "fresh out of the oven" pizza photos, but you can understand that by the time these were both done there was a family of hungry, salivating people demanding slices!!
And .. aside from the time the dough spends in the bread machine, I can get these pizzas made, cooked, and on the table in about 30 minutes. Even delivery places can't promise you that anymore!