Pizza Dough + Tips for Topping
makes a large pizza
1/2 cup warm water, more or less
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 - 3 cups all purpose flour, more for kneading and as needed
1 teaspoon salt
a splash of neutral oil for bowl
Stir yeast into water and set aside to prove for 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour and salt and attach dough hook. With machine running on medium, pour in water. Continue running for about five minutes before stopping and scraping down bowl. Return to medium speed and run until a dough forms and begins to pull from the side of the bowl - you may need to add more water or flour to get the right consistency.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly to form a ball.
Add oil to the mixing bowl and return dough to it, turning to coat. Cover with a plate or pot lid and let rise at least one hour. If making a day ahead, do this process in a container that is at least double the size of the dough ball. Remove the dough from the refrigerator an hour before you plan to bake your pizza and allow to come to room temperature before completing the next step. If the dough begins to encroach on the top of the container, punch it down and reform to a ball as needed.
Preheat your oven to at least 450 with a pizza stone on the lowest rack.
Prepare a peel if you have it or a sheet tray by spreading semolina to coat the surface.
Return the dough to the floured surface and use your fingers to redistribute any larger air bubbles before re-forming into a ball. Turn the mixing bowl over top the dough ball to protect the dough as it rests for ten-fifteen minutes.
Roll the dough out to the size of your peel or sheet tray and transfer to it to top.
Top your pizza as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of stickage. Transfer your pizza from the peal to the pizza stone or place the baking sheet directly on top of the stone and bake. Use the bubbling and browning of your toppings and the crisping and browning of the bottom as a guide to doneness.
After removing from oven, top with any fresh herb toppings and allow the pizza to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before slicing.
Top Tips for topping
use less sauce than you think - skim a spoon across the top to thinly coat
consider pesto or herb purees in place of classic tomato sauce for a flavor-packed white pizza
pre-cook some of your toppings, especially vegetables or tomatoes that are water-rich
be conservative with the volume of your toppings and concentrate them around the perimeter to prevent a soggy center
layer toppings and cheeses together to build a more complex flavor and varied texture
add your herbs at the end - top your pizza with micro basil, chopped oregano, arugula or your favorite green just after you pull it from the oven
LET IT REST for at least ten minutes before cutting - cheese on pizza especially needs time to settle before slicing can be successful
What’s most important is to know that there’s no wrong way to combine flavors when making a pizza.
Considering how easy it is to prepare the dough canvas, there’s no need to worry if you’re making a perfect masterpiece each time; it’s perfectly fine to try out a different palette each time.