Who doesn’t love pizza…? One of world’s most loved foods, so adaptable and really so very easy to make, there’s absolutely no reason to not make your own!
One of the best things about pizza is it’s versatility! From the thickness of crust to the choice of toppings & even the cheese: pictured above is a Margherita pizza with tomato sauce, bocconcini cheese & fresh basil – it’s something you could eat almost every night, and have it differently.
Because I too love pizza, I’ve made so many of them over the years, trying so many different doughs… and this… is my absolute favourite! With ideas borrowed from Nadia G of the Food Network Canada this dough has it all: it’s springy and light, comes together easily whether you make it by hand or using a stand mixer, and most importantly – is full of great taste! Additions of fine cornmeal and a bit of brown sugar add an incredible amount of flavour, and are basically just small tweaks to any standard pizza dough recipe (yeast, water, salt, olive oil & flour).
The other thing that really helps build flavour in the dough, is a second rise. In fact, if you wanted to make focaccia bread, you could use this very same dough, and give it the required third rise, before shaping and topping!
The bits of colour you see in the beautifully risen dough above… that’s from the cornmeal. Don’t worry, it doesn’t come out as gritty, it just melts in, adding a great background flavour.
Pizza dough is a great make ahead and will keep in the fridge for 2 days. Freeze any extra for future use, thawing it in the fridge overnight.
Doesn’t it look wonderfully homemade…? And fresh! I always try to keep my toppings simple, especially if I’m going with a thin crust pie. I was never a fan of too many flavours competing against each other!
Once you get in the habit of making your own dough, you’ll be hooked! It’s fun to make, really not difficult and, if you have the dough ready – you’ll have fantastic pizza in the same time it takes to get take out, at a fraction of the cost… but with so much more flavour!
- ¼ cup + 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon regular dry yeast (not instant)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons fine cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 - 1/2 cup additional flour, for kneading
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, add 1/4 cup of the water, the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Sprinkle in the yeast and stir to combine, let the yeast activate: approx 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the 3 cups of flour with the cornmeal and salt. Make a well in the center, add the proofed yeast, remaining 1 cup of warm water and oil. Stirring from the center, gradually pull the flour into the liquid mixture – much like making fresh pasta.
- Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for approx 10 minutes, gradually adding as much flour as needed; at this point the dough should be smooth and soft.
- Round the dough into a ball and put it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled in bulk, approx. 2 hours (Rounding it will ensure the dough rises properly – this applies to all dough!!)
- Punch down the dough and give it a second rise, for approx 1 hour - this really helps develop the flavour. Divide the dough into portions, either 2 for large pizza or 3 for smaller ones.
- When ready to make your pizza, place your oven rack in the middle and preheat your oven to 450°.
- Lightly oil your pizza pan or cookie sheet – whatever you have and add the rolled out dough. Top with tomato sauce and your fave toppings – be as creative as you like with what you use, but don’t pile it on too thickly; it won’t bake thoroughly and may burn the edges before the middle is done.
- Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until edges are golden, cheese is melted and checking underneath for doneness/browning.
- To save your baking pans, remove the pie to a large cutting board before cuting into wedges.
- *Use a heavy duty stand mixer if you have one, it’s a great help with the kneading.
- *To ensure it's cooked on the bottom, slide a spatula under and check for browning!