Basic Pizza Dough
An easy basic homemade pizza dough - can also be used to make foccacia
- 1 package rapid rise yeast (equivalent to one scant tablespoon active dry yeast)
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups unbleached regular flour (divided)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 cups very warm water
- 2 T. olive oil
Mix the yeast with 2 cups of the flour, and with the sugar and salt. Add water and oil and stir to mix. Add enough extra flour (1 1/2 to 2 cups) to make a soft, smooth dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and elastic, about five minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rest in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes.
For pizza or calzone, shape as directed in the individual recipe. Makes two 12-inch pizzas, or six to eight calzone.
For focaccia, shape into two 1/2-inch thick rounds. Let the focaccia rise a second time, about 30 minutes. Make thumbprint indentations in the dough every 1 or 2 inches. Continue following individual focaccia recipe as directed.
Note on shaping the dough: As you shape the dough, it is easiest to shape it onto a pizza paddle and then simply slide the dough onto a baking stone in the oven. If you do not have this equipment, shape the dough on a large baking pan that has been brushed with oil and dusted with flour or cornmeal.
For active dry yeast
If using active dry yeast, begin by adding the yeast to 1/4 cup very warm water and stir to dissolve. Add 2 cups of flour, plus the sugar, salt, remaining water, and oil. Stir to mix. Add enough extra flour (1 1/2 to 2 cups) to make a soft, smooth dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about five minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 to 60 minutes. Shape pizza or calzone and bake according to individual recipe directions. For focaccia, flatten the dough onto a pan and let it rise a second time until doubled in bulk, about 30 to 60 minutes. Follow individual recipe directions for baking.