There is something very rewarding about making your own pizza. For me, seeing the dough transform as it rises and the smell of it baking in the oven is enough to make me smile (and exponentially increase my appetite). I love topping the pizza with fresh ingredients– either sticking to traditional taste combinations or creating new ones. Overall, this pizza dough recipe is very simple to make and you can top it with whatever toppings you like!
Servings: 2 thick-crust style pizzas
- 2 cups warm water
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 – 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- Olive oil for drizzling, optional
- Chili flakes, optional
In a large mixing bowl, add the water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until the mixture foams on top (this is the yeast blooming), about 10 minutes.
Add the flour, salt and 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the yeast mixture. Using your hands, mix the dough until it comes together. It should be soft and sticky, but not so much that it sticks all over your fingers.
Knead the dough in the bowl for 2-3 minutes until most of the flour is combined.
Transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl that has been oiled all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with saran wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes up to 2 hours.
After letting the dough rise, it should be light and airy, just like this!
Press the dough out onto an oiled baking sheet (use 1 tablespoon of oil per sheet) until it is about 1 centimeter thick. Cover the pans with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough sit for 15 minutes to let the dough rest. After 15 minutes, use your fingertips to press down the dough using your fingertips so that you create little “wells” all over the pizza dough.
Next, go ahead and add whatever toppings you want! Here, I made a traditional Margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce, but I have made tons of other pizzas with the same dough recipe. The combinations are endless so get creative!
One important tip: if you are using fresh basil leaves (or and leafy green for that matter), add them on top of the pizza after it is cooked, or else the leaves will dry up in the oven!
Bake the pizzas at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes in the center of the oven. Check the pizza after 20 minutes to ensure that the bottom crust is crisp and golden brown from the edges to the centre. If it is soft and still not at that golden brown stage, let the pizza cook for another 5-10 minutes. This cooking time really depends on how thick you make the dough and how much toppings you add, so the cooking time does vary from pizza to pizza.
Once the crust has become golden brown, remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool on the tray for 5 minutes so that the cheese begins to firm up. Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the pizza into slices and serve right away!
* This dough can be made in large batches and can be frozen in an airtight bag for up to 2 months.