Oh Pizza, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
At my house, we love pizza. I mean, we LOVE pizza. And the best pizza is always homemade. That way you have the perfect thickness of crust, the ideal combination of toppings, and the exact amount of sauce for you. We eat so much pizza, that I go to the trouble of canning up about a gazillion gallons of this pizza sauce every year. I even have individual deep dish pans and three different sizes of regular pizza pans. Did I mention that we LOVE pizza?
Over the years I have tried a tons of different pizza crust recipes. The sourdough crust is good, but I have found the hands down, go-to pizza crust. And it’s not even a crust recipe. It’s a bread recipe. Shocking. I know, right? Who uses a bread recipe for pizza crust? Well, uuhhmm, I do…and it makes the most amazing pizza crust you’ve ever eaten.
In the beginning, I made bread with it (like I was supposed to), and then I got a little crazy and I made some bread sticks to go with spaghetti one night. Then I had the brilliant idea (yes I did say brilliant, because that’s what it was; brilliant) to make pizza crust out of it. It was love at first bite. I’ve never looked at another pizza crust the same way again.
I have gone so far as to make the pizza crust in the mini pans and freeze it so that we can have pizza whenever we want without having to wait for the dough to rise. I have even, at times, used half the dough for a free form loaf of bread and the other half for pizza crust. All at the same time. What can I say, I live on the edge.
So in an effort to spread the love, I am about to share with you The. Best. Pizza. Crust. Ever.
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Italian Herb and Cheese Pizza Crust
- 1 Tbsp yeast
- 2 c. warm water
- 1/4 c. olive oil + extra to oil bowl
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp dried basil, or 6 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano, or 6 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder, or 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped,
- 1 tsp homemade onion powder, or 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 c. Romano cheese, grated
- 5-7 c. unbleached flour
Put water and yeast in a large mixing bowl and stir to dissolve. Allow to sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast. Add all the other ingredients except flour and combine thoroughly.
Add 2 cups of flour and mix well. Continue adding flour a cup at a time until dough becomes shaggy and leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Clean out mixing bowl and oil with olive oil. Place dough in bowl and turn to grease top. Cover with a damp towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled. After dough has risen, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured board.
Forming the Pizza Crust
Cut off a portion of the dough and roll it to fit your pizza pan. You can also make a free-form crust and bake it on a cookie sheet. How much dough you need will depend entirely on how big your pans are and how thick you like your crust.
Heat your oven to 450° F. If you are using a pizza stone, put it in the oven before heating and let preheat for at least 20 minutes. While your oven heats, get out your pizza ingredients (or not if you are going to be freezing them :)).
When your oven is heated up, re-roll or re-press the dough to fit the pans. It tends to shrink a little. Use a fork to prick holes all over so that the dough doesn’t puff up. Place in oven. The crusts need to bake for about 15 minutes. I like to take them out after 7 ish minutes and remove them from the pans and put them back in directly on the pizza stone. That makes the bottom crust crisper.
After 15 minutes remove them from the oven and top with your favorite fixins. Return to oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has browned to your liking. Sit back, relax, and receive praises from your family for making them The. Best. Pizza. Ever!
So go whip up a batch and let me know what you think!
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