a simple and delicious pizza dough recipe that is easy and forgiving with tweaks for different styles. use this dough on pizza stones, cast iron, cookie sheets, etc. it’s very flexible and always delicious. you need just a handful of ingredients, some measuring cups and a mixing bowl or two. let’s dive in.
this first part is the busiest part of the whole process. gather all the stuff you’ll need first: a large mixing bowl, tablespoon, teaspoon, flour, corn meal, yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and warm water. in a large mixing bowl add flour and corn meal in a 2:1 ratio. i generally use two cups of flour and one cup of cornmeal. on one side of the bowl, add one tablespoon of yeast (or one packet, if you have packets). on the same side of the bowl, add two teaspoons of sugar. on the other side of the bowl, add one teaspoon of salt. honestly, sometimes i switch it up and use two teaspoons of salt instead of sugar, and it still turns out fine. it’s a very flexible recipe. anyway, mix all the dry ingredients together until the mixture looks uniform. once the dry ingredients are mixed, add one to three tablespoons of olive oil. the more olive oil you use, the more focaccia-like the dough will become. add two cups of warm water, a little at a time. stir the water in slowly, mixing the dough as you go. you may need to occasionally dust a little more flour in (another half cup or so, over the whole process).
once the dough has come together, knead it for another 3-5 minutes until its smooth and a bit elastic all around. transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or pie dish or what have you, and sock it someplace warm & still for at least half an hour to prove. I pop mine in a pie dish in the microwave, but you can also put in a bowl and cover it with a towel or any other place that is warm and still air. you’ll know your kitchen better than me.
after the dough has risen for a while, transfer it to the baking implement of your choosing— pizza stone, cast iron pan, cookie sheet, etc. you can either roll it out at this point, or let it rise for another 15-30 minutes. once you’re ready to roll it out slap it onto your bakeware and start forming the base. use an oiled rolling pin or a bottle with parchment paper or whatever you’ve got handy to spread and smooth it. if baking the dough in a cookie sheet you can spread it out with your hand to the edges and it’s fine. oil the sheet first. this is a good time to preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
okay now that your dough is spread out and ready for toppings, add some sauce. making your own tomato sauce will taste best but honestly just a few spoonfuls out of a can will do just fine, it’s pizza. you want it fast and easy. put a few spoonfuls of sauce on the dough and spread it out with a spoon for a light covering. you can sauce it heavier if doing deep dish in a cast iron or whatever, but for most purposes lighter sauce works better with this dough, in my opinion.
once the sauce is on, then add a base layer of cheese and your toppings of choice. lately i’ve been doing my version of a “veggie delight”, with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, mama’s lil peppers, and topped with a few healthy handfuls of arugula, mozzarella cheese & light tomato sauce in a cookie sheet. add whatever toppings your heart desires, go nuts. experiment. there are so many amazing combinations out there. i leave it as an exercise for the reader to discover more. anyways, once your pizza is all topped up, the oven should be beeping that it’s preheated very soon.
pop this sucker in for anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on what you set the oven to, your bakeware implement, and number of toppings. for the pizza described (“veggie delight in a cookie sheet”), a 18 minute bake usually hits that sweet spot of browning-but-not-burnt cheese that i crave. again, this is a very flexible recipe you should adapt to your own tastes. maybe check the pizza after 15 minutes just to be safe. anyway, cook the dang thing. when it’s done cooking, let it sit for another 3-5 minutes before slicing, then dig in. bon appetit!