I had some requests for this recipe over on Facebook so I thought I would post this as well.
Justin’s Pizza Crust
Prep time: 1hr 15 min
Bake time: 15- 20 min
¾ cup of all purpose flour (to start off with)
1 envelope of Fleischman’s® Pizza Crust Yeast
2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast (I always use the envelopes)
1 ½ teaspoons of sugar
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 leaves of fresh basil (chopped)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2/3 cup of piping hot water (about 120°)
Extra all purpose flour (as much as needed)
A little cornmeal
Mixing: It is important that you add all dry ingredients first. Once the warm water is added to the mixture the yeast will begin reacting to the warm water. After adding dry ingredients add the olive oil then add the warm water. If you have a mixer with a bread hook you can use that, but I just use a glass mixing bowl and my Grandmother’s wooden spoon. Stir the ingredients a couple of times. If it looks soupy add more flour gradually until it looks right. (Careful, don’t overdo it). If it’s too dry i.e. it crumbles when you stir, add just a bit more warm water. Mix ingredients for about 2 to 5 minutes until you have a nice little ball in the rolling around in your bowl.
Kneading: It is here that most people will tell you to put flour on your counter or a cutting board, but why needlessly mess up your clean counter tops or another dish. Grandma always said, “don’t make a bigger mess than you want to clean up.” And, while that usually doesn’t stop me from making a mess, there is an easier way. First, put some flour in the bottom of the bowl, as the dough ball will still be a bit wet. Coat the outside of your dough ball with the flour. Second, pick the dough up with your washed hands and make a nice ball out of it. (If it’s still wet, coat some more flour )Now, place the ball in both hands with your thumbs on top of the ball and your fingers on the bottom and pull the top of the ball down towards your fingers and into the underside of the dough ball. (Be careful not to tear the dough as you work it). Continue kneading the dough for 5- 10 minutes and add more flour as needed. You’ll know it’s time to stop when you can poke the dough and the indentation stays mostly in place. You CAN overdo it, so I wouldn’t work the dough for more than 10 minutes.
Proofing: The type of crust you want or how soon you want to use the dough will affect how we proceed here. If you want a dry, thin crust just roll the ball into a pizza crust and put it in the oven.
If you want a thicker, more bread-like crust it’s best to let it proof (or sit) a while. How soon you want to make your pizza will determine how we do this. If you want to save it for a later date, just put in a Ziplock™ bag, seal it, and put it in the freezer. When you’re ready to make pizza just move it to the fridge and let it thaw for overnight, by dinner time the next day you the dough ball should be perfect. Just roll and bake.
Chances are, you are going to want it sooner than that, though . Spray some cooking spray in your mixing bowl, place your kneaded dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Then, Let it sit in warm place for about an hour. (We used hot water, so this will decrease the proofing time). At this point, I like to preheat my oven to 400° and set the bowl on top of the stove. When ready, the ball will be about double its original size.
Baking: First preheat your oven to 400° It is here that most people will tell you to put flour your counter again. But, instead well will get out a pizza pan. Scatter just a little cornmeal on your pan. (This will keep the dough from sticking to the pan). Place the dough ball on the pan and flatten it with your hand. (No rolling pin required, unless you just want to). Your once-ball should now be a disc shape. Now, with your hand, spread the dough from the center out in all directions until it is the diameter you want. There should be slightly more dough at the edge of the pizza than the rest of the pizza. (It should look like a wide, flat bowl). Before baking, spread some olive oil onto the “bowl” part of your crust.
Now, it is here that I differ from most pizza crust recipes. I like gooey cheese and at first I had trouble accomplishing both a well baked crust and gooey cheese. After many attempts, I finally discovered that I need to cook the pizza in two stages to accomplish my goal of gooey cheese +thoroughly cooked crust. Before topping the pizza I bake the crust (with the olive oil) for ten minutes. Then, I remove the pizza and top it. (I like to add sauce first, toppings second and then the cheese). When it’s topped with your favorite toppings put it back in the oven and bake for another five to ten minutes. When the cheese and the toppings are cooked to your liking, remove from the oven. Before cutting the pizza, I suggest brushing some melted garlic butter on the thick edge of your pizza. The result is a bread stick on the end of your pizza slice.
This recipe looks really involved, but it’s pretty easy once you do a few times. It’s well worth the effort. Enjoy!