Ingredients for the Dough:
3 - 4 cups all-purpose flour (I'll explain later)
1 packet of yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons (I like to use PIZZA yeast, but regular yeast works just fine.)
TWO PINCHES of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 cups hot water (not boiling...just hot.)
Ingredients for the Pepperoni Pizza:
2 tablespoons olive oil (extra-virgin olive oil is best for this, but not necessary)
about 3 cups of sauce (spaghetti, tomato, whatever..)
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups of shredded mild cheddar cheese
Before you go any further, I want to tell you that this recipe is for a stand mixer armed with a dough hook. This recipe for dough takes almost exactly one hour. It's totally worth it.
In the mixing bowl, combine the yeast and water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to activate. Meanwhile, take out a separate bowl and coat it with olive oil or cooking spray.
Add 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and two pinches of sugar to the water/yeast. Mix on the lowest setting for one minute.
Start adding in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough forms a ball on the dough hook. You do not want the dough to be stiff or sticky. Once the dough has formed a ball, rub some oil on your hands and remove the dough from the dough-hook. Place the dough in the olive-oil-lined bowl you set aside earlier, and punch it down. Cover the bowl with saran wrap first, then with a dish towel. Place the bowl in a warm place and allow it the rise for about 45 minutes (or until the dough doubles in size).
TIP: I always stick my bowl on top of the dryer & turn the dryer on. :)
After 45 minutes, go punch the dough back down. Re-cover and let it sit on top of the dryer (or in a warm place) for another 15 minutes or so.
TIP: You've got another 15 minutes! I spend this time pulling out all of my pizza toppings & getting them ready! :) I have been known to cut my pepperoni's into a heart shape...but this is a good time to prepare your toppings.
After the final 15 minutes have passed, you can start shaping your dough into a crust. Go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the dough on a counter top covered in olive oil or cooking spray. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough out. Spray a pizza pan with cooking spray or coat with olive oil. Place the dough on your pizza pan and press it out with your fingers. I always have to spend about 10 minutes doing this and stretching out the dough. I've even been known to make heart-shaped pizza when the dough wasn't forming right. :) Again, you don't have to do this either.
Now that you've shaped your dough, you have two options. You can bake the crust alone at 350 for 8-12 minutes. Add toppings, bake again at 350 for another 8-12 minutes. OR you can put it all together and back it one for about 30 minutes at 350. Whatever you choose...apply your toppings like this:
Start with olive oil. Rub it ALL OVER the pizza crust. This is the secret to an amazing pizza.
Sprinkle Garlic & Wine Seasoning from The Melting Pot all over the crust. If you don't have this, get some. If you can't get any, use garlic and salt. It makes the crust SO delicious!
If you're adding crushed red pepper, this is also a good place to add that ingredient for an extra kick.
Spread out a LOT OF SAUCE. Another secret to an amazing pizza is an amazing sauce & lots of it.
Then add your cheeses & toppings.
TIP: You don't want your cheese on top..it will burn before your other toppings have a chance to cook! While your pizza is cooking, it's a great time to clean up your kitchen! I know some people don't like to clean as they go...and that's fine. This is just how I do it because I hate cleaning after I've eaten. I like to be lazy after I have a full tummy.
Here is a picture of my heart shaped pizza...just for reference and because it is fabulous. :)
This is my favorite recipe for homemade pizza! Be warned...you will probably never want to eat a frozen pizza again! Even buying frozen dough loaves and making pizza from them isn't good enough anymore. Sorry for "ruining your life" when it comes to pizza...but it's worth it.