Chris and I decided that we were in the mood for some pizza tonight, and since we didn’t feel like ingesting the local cheap grease-bombs so popular in college towns, we decided to make some. We’ve made pizza several times before, but the crust had always eluded us. Tonight, I think I’ve hit on something that we can both live with.
1 lb AP flour (in the future I may be playing with a mixture of this and bread flour-since I usually am not prepping the dough 12 hours in advance, the extra structural help may be a good thing)
1 1/4 cups luke-warm water
1 packet of yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon gluten (again, since I’m rarely organized enough to do this much in advance, structural assistance is a good thing)
2 tablespoons canola oil (olive oil works perfectly well here as well, but Chris feels that it leaves the crust with a kind of funky flavor, so I’ve opted for something more neutral)
Proof yeast in water and sugar, and set aside. Measure the rest of the dry ingredients and mix. Pour the yeasty-water and oil into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Knead lightly, and place in an oiled bowl and let rise for around one hour, or until doubled in size. Divide in two parts and knead again. Let rise for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour. Form a round with each of the dough balls, leaving the edges thicker than the center. Lightly dust a cookie sheet with cornmeal and place the round on it-one pizza per sheet. Brush with melted butter (again, olive oil works just fine here too, depending on personal preference), and top as desired. Cooking one at a time, put the pizza into an oven that has been preheated to as high as it will go (for me, that’s 500 degrees F). After 5 minutes, I turned to pizza around for even browning. They were done in about 9 minutes. Remove from oven, and let set for 5 minutes before cutting.
Although not exactly your typical college-student pizza, we both feel that it is certainly worth the effort. The result was a nice, thick, chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside crust that browned nicely and evenly all the way around. There are still several things I want to experiment with, but for now, this is a good starting place.