I love pizza. I hate paying for it. So, I make it! At the request of my friend Gretchen, here is my pizza dough recipe.
In your Kitchen Aid mixer bowl combine:
4 cups bread flour
1 T yeast
1 T Kosher Salt
1/8 t. garlic powder
Put your dough hook on the mixer and add:
1 1/4 c. very warm water
1/4 c. olive oil
Turn on Kitchen Aid to the 2nd speed and let it knead the ingredients into dough (about 8-10 minutes).
When the dough has formed a nice elastic ball and is no longer sticking to the sides it is done. You may have to sprinkle a little more flour while it is kneading to keep it from sticking. Remove dough from bowl to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 2 or 3 equal balls. (For 12-14" thin crust do 3 balls. For 12-14" thick crust or 14-16" thin crust do 2 balls.) Form balls into 1" thick by 5" wide discs, flat on top and bottom, circular shape.
At this point, if you can't use all the dough tonight you can freeze your dough discs for next week. Put 2 T. of flour into a ziploc bag and shake to coat the sides. Put your floured dough disc in the bag, seal and place in the freezer. When you are ready to use your dough. Let it thaw, covered with plastic or in it's bag, overnight in the refrigerator or for 3 hours on the counter.
Back to tonight's dough. Flour each disc and place on separate plates covered with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours. Generously oil your pizza pan, spreading Olive oil with a pastry brush over all the surface and edges. When dough has nearly doubled lightly flour it again and either roll it out or toss it to your desired size (don't be afraid to make it thin, you will let it rise again). Place it on your oiled pan and then turn it so both sides of the dough are covered in oil. Spread your sauce over the top and let rise another 45 minutes to an hour.
I like to cook my pizza on a thin aluminum pizza round. When I cook it I place my pan on top of a preheated Pizza stone in the oven. This helps the bottom of the crust to cook faster and more thoroughly and allows me to cover my dough in that wonderful yummy olive oil. Some people like to cook their pizza straight on the stone with a thin layer of cornmeal in between. And still others like to use special pans with holes or a mesh on the bottom to make a really crispy crust. You may want to experiment with different pans and stones to see what you like the best.
Place your stone on the top rack of your oven and preheat your oven and stone to 400 degrees. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella, parmesan or whatever other kind of cheese you want on your pizza and then finish it off with your desired toppings. Here are a few basic ideas but feel free to let your imagination run wild: pepperoni, ham, ground beef, canadian bacon, roasted chicken, bacon, fajita strips, pinneapples, tomatoes, basil, mushrooms,olives, peanuts, cashews, roasted onions, garlic, zuccini, eggplant, grated potatoes, whatever! In our family we have also tried substituting pizza sauce with chili, salsa, white sauce and others.
Place pizza pan on stone and bake for 13-16 minutes when cheese is melted and deep golden brown. Slide hot pizza onto a wooden cutting board to cool for a few minutes. Slice and serve.
Good Luck Gretchen! I hope you like it.
P.S. here are a few fun videos on pizza tossing . . . .