Homemade Pizzeria Crust

I was tired yesterday, and I really didn’t want to fuss with a formal and boring meal.

Of course that led me to the well known place of not knowing what to make, so I kind of piddled around all afternoon working hard not to even consider the fact that five ravenous people would soon be calling for my head.

It was around 4:30 before I remembered the brick of mozzarella cheese tucked away in the back of the fridge and realized that BBQ Chicken pizza sounded really good. Not to mention simple.

So I set out to make a pizza crust, doubling the recipe to avoid any surprisingly hungry children crying for more. Which seems to be happening more and more lately.

About half way through cooking the chicken breast, I discovered a forgotten package of pepperoni tucked into the back of the fridge. And that’s how our awesome pizza night turned into a buffet of sorts.

First, heat your oven to 450 degrees, or hotter if you can. There are two reasons home made pizzas don’t work. The first is the pan used. Most pizzerias bake their pies in hot stone ovens or on open mesh conveyor belts. This gives the crust it’s uniform crispiness. You can acheive this at home most easily by purchasing a pizza stone. Pampered Chef’s in my experience, are the best. But, work with what you’ve got. If you only have metal, prebake your crust without toppings to make sure it gets done in the middle.

Second, cook at a high temperature. Most pizza parlors bake at or above 500 degrees. My crazy oven actually bakes at that temp, so sometimes I do mine at that heat. But, in all honesty it scares me a little, so usually I’ll cook them at 450. Most home ovens top out at 450 degrees anyway, so it’s a good benchmark.
Cooking at such a high heat gives you better results and more authentic crust. If you don’t understand what I just said, heaven help you. There is nothing in this world better than authentic style pizza.

And now for my crust recipe. Super simple, especially if you own a Kitchenaid style mixer. This recipe is for a single crust. If you want to make two pizzas, or one pizza and a garlic bread, or dessert pizza, double it.

1 cup very warm water
2 1/4 t. yeast
2 cups flour
1 t. salt

In your mixing bowl, pour one cup of the nearly hot water.

To that, sprinkle 2 1/4 t. yeast, one cup of flour and, 1 t. of salt. Don’t mix it, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the yeast to get going. When it has begun to smell yeasty, you are ready to move on.

Mix the flour and salt into the warm water until a thick but sticky dough forms. After the dough hits the sticky but very soft stage, you are going to add the final cup of flour, and then allow the mixer to knead the dough until it becomes soft and smooth, like chewing gum.

Once you have achieved this state, simply dust the dough with flour and cover with a plate while you work on your sauce. That’s it. Pizza crust is the easiest thing ever, and so multipurpose. If you want to play around with it you can, you can add a T. of olive oil, herbs, parmesan cheese, sugar, whatever you can come up with, in small quantities.

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