Home   Basic Pizza Dough  
Course: Main Ingredients
1 T granulated sugar
1 cup warm (110-115 F) water
1 envelope (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cup bread, semolina, or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar (or honey) in warm water. The water should be warm to your finger, but not too hot--a temperature comfortable for a bath. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir gently until it dissolves, about 1 minute. When yeast is mixed with the water at the proper temperature, a smooth, beige-colored mixture results. (If the yeast clumps together and the water stays clear, discard the mixture and start over.) Let stand in a warm spot until a thin layer of foam covers the surfface, about 5 minutes, indicating that the yeast is effective.

To Mix and Knead the Dough By Hand
Combine 3 cups of the flour with the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast mixture and the oil. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously stir the flour into the well, beginning in the center and working toward the sides of the bowl, until the flour is incorporated and the soft dough just begins tohold together.

Turn the dough out onto a lighly floured surface. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough gently in the following manner: press down on the dough with the heels of your hands and push it away from you, then partially fold it back on itself. Shift it a quarter turn and repeat the procedure. While kneading, very gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/4 cup flour until the dough is no longer sticky or tacky; this should take about 5 minutes. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, elastic, and shiny, 10-15 minutes longer. Knead the dough only until it feels smooth and springy; too much kneading overdevelops the gluten in the flour and sesults in a tough crust.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning to coat completely on all sides with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with platic wrap to prevent moisture loss, and set to rise in a draft-free warm place until doubled in bulk.

With your fist, punch down the dough as soon as it has doubled in bulk to prevent overrising. Shape it into a ball, pressing out all of the air bubbles.

Shape the dough into pizzas (2 or 3) and add yummy toppings. Bake at 475-500 F on a pre-heated "pizza stone" if you have one until done.