Here are the three most important things I have learned through this search and process…
1. Bread flour is vital. (Ok, ok… if you can’t get your hands on bread flour, it won’t kill you to use all-purpose. But please try the bread flour! It’s so much better!)
2. You must have a pizza stone or steel!
3. Bake at a HIGH temperature… (500ºF to be exact!!).
Oh and like I said in my bagel recipe a few days ago… This is another one of those if-you’ve-never-made-bread-before-don’t-rush-into-this-without-preparing things.
I love this recipe. It is simple and perfect in every way for me. That said… I never use only 4 cups of flour. Sometimes I need an extra 1/2 cup or more to get the right dough consistency. But that’s basically because I don’t usually use a scale to measure my ingredients.
Make sure you click on over to Annie’s Eats original recipe of this before you make it. She’s got some great step-by-step photos and tips!
- 4 cups bread flour (plus up to a cup more)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 3/4 cup water, barely warm (100ºF - baby bottle temperature!)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together the 4 cups flour, yeast & salt. With the mixer on LOW, pour in the water and the olive oil until the dough starts to come together.
Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on LOW speed for about 5-10 minutes, adding more flour a few tablespoons at a time if needed, and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
(The dough should be soft, and barely sticky at this point. Don't add too much flour, but if it's not coming clean off the sides of the bowl and barely sticky to the touch, add a bit more!)
Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly oiled and turn the dough once to coat it. Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap or a tightly fitting lid and then place in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until doubled in size.
(If you don't have time for this rise and want to just make the pizza right after it's kneaded, you can! Just divide it and let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes while the oven preheats. It won't have exactly the same texture, but it's pretty great as it is!)
Gently punch down the dough to deflate it. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, separate into parts and form each piece into a round.
Dust the dough rounds with flour and cover lightly with plastic wrap and let them rest on the counter for up to 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone on the lower rack.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board (or use a pizza peel if you have one!) and dust it lightly with flour. Gently stretch and shape the dough to the size you'd like with floured hands.
Brush a bit of olive oil (garlic infused if you have it!) on the outside crust, then spread your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings all over the center.
Use the cutting board to transfer the parchment and the pizza to the baking stone and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats