Yesterday me and the fam watched Harry Potter because one of the younger boys started reading the series and was literally begging us to watch it. So we did. And of course we ate pizza! But not pizza from a factory 500 miles away or Papa John’s…homemade pizza of course! And this pizza has become one of my favorite dinners so fast. After trying out a few recipes, investing in a pizza stone, and doing a little more research about what makes a pizza light and fluffy, I’ve found the perfect recipe for homemade pizza crust that is sure to make your skirt fly up.
One of the secrets to getting a perfect crust every time is not over-handling the dough. If you over handle the dough, you’ll end up with a dense, non-fluffy, cardboard-like crust, a bit like the store-bought pizza in my opinion. And trust me—there’s nothing worse than cardboard-like pizza.
So what all goes into the perfect homemade pizza crust?
Water. To make fluffy crust, your yeast will need a warm environment in order to rise. Using warm water to make the dough gives the yeast the perfect atmosphere to work its magic in.
Flour. Generally, I do an all white flour crust. This just means that I only use unbleached all-purpose flour. Sometimes, I do a half all-purpose/half whole wheat flour crust, and I still get great results! I like King Arthur Flour Brand because I love the quality of it, but you can use generic brand if that’s all you have.
Sugar. You need to feed the yeast something to help it grow. If you use warm water to make the dough, than you’re already providing the yeast with a warm environment for it to help the dough rise, but if you don’t provide the yeast with something to eat, it can be a little temperamental. I use organic unbleached pure cane sugar for every recipe that calls for sugar because I love the quality of it. You can just as easily use honey or other sweetener of your choice for the yeast to feed on.
Yeast. The yeast is what it’s all about. You’re going to want a quality yeast to make the dough with, because you can’t trust that your crust will come out right if you don’t. I like to use Rapunzel Organic Active Dry Yeast because I feel like I still get amazing results without sacrificing purchasing an organic product.
Salt. Without it, a pizza can be pretty flavorless. Think about if you were to make a loaf of bread or two, but not use any salt in the recipe. That would be terrible! Same goes with homemade pizza crust—if you want your crust to have a little flavor, you’ll add the salt.
Oil. Your flour can’t hydrate properly if you add the oil in first. The flour needs to be sufficiently hydrated to be able to produce enough sugars for the yeast (source). In order to make awesome pizza crust, instead just oil the bowl and brush the dough with oil when you’re done rolling it out to prevent the toppings and sauce from making the crust soggy. This is important!
This recipe makes either two thick crusts or three thin crusts. After you let the dough rise and you divide the dough, place any pizza dough you won’t be using in a gallon bag and place it in the freezer. That way next time you want to make pizza, all you have to do is put it in the fridge the night before and then place it on the counter for 30 minutes before using it. Making two or three dinners is one fell swoop? Now that’s what I call thinking ahead!
This really is the best homemade pizza crust recipe I’ve tried thus far! Don’t like thick pizza crust? Divide it into three balls. Don’t like think pizza crust? Lop it in half. It’s so simple!
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 3 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup unbleached pure cane sugar
- 4 - 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- about ½ cup olive oil, divided
- Place water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add flour and salt and mix on low speed for 8 minutes.
- Divide dough into 3 sections for thin crust or 2 sections for thick.
- Place each section of dough in a separate bowl with a little bit of olive oil. turn the dough around in the bowl to coat the dough. Let rise about 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Start preheating your pizza stone.
- Dump the contents of a bowl onto parchment paper and very lightly, use two fingers to spread out to desired size.
- Top with sauce, cheese & toppings.
- Transfer entire pizza (including parchment paper) onto preheated pizza stone.
- Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Store leftover pizza covered tightly in the refrigerator. Baked pizza slices may be frozen up to 1 month.