Monday, February 13, 2012
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 quarter-ounce package active dry yeast
2 3/4 - 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl and parchment paper
Cornmeal, for pizza peel or baking sheet
Assorted toppings such as cheese, carmelized onions, roasted tomatoes, thinly sliced artichoke hearts, pine nuts, and sauteed mushrooms
1. Pour 1 cup warm water into a small bowl. Add sugar, and sprinkle in the yeast. Using a fork, stir the mixture until the yeast is dissolved and the water has turned tan. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine 2 3/4 cup flour and the salt, and pulse 3-4 times. Add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Pulse until the dough comes together, adding more flour as needed until the dough is smooth, not tacky, when squeezed. Transfer to a clean work surface, knead 4-5 turns and shape into a ball.
2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Remove the plastic wrap and place your fist in the center of the dough to punch down. Fold the dough back onto itself 4-5 times.
3. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, if making 4 eight-inch pizzas or just roll this on to your baking sheet that has been prepared with a light dusting of corn meal to keep from sticking.
4. Cover with toppings of your choice and bake 5-7 minutes at 500 degrees.
I usually cook it about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. If you choose to make the 4-8" pizza crusts, these freeze really well.