|Features - The Craft of Cooking|
|Written by R. Patrick Kent|
There's good pizza and there's great pizza but it's hard to find pizza that's outright bad. A pizza crust is a great, versatile platform for so many ingredients: traditional tomato sauce and mozzarella; caramelized onion, roasted red pepper and goat cheese; white sauce and clams...You name it. That's the point. Either as an appetizer or as an entrée, being able to throw a few ingredients together to make a creative pizza is an essential skill.
A few years ago I experimented with pizza crust and landed on this recipe. I think it works well. Consider it a suggestion. Whether you use this recipe or another is not the point. The goal is to wander the farmer's market and know that when you see a gorgeous eggplant, ripe tomatoes, or grass-fed beef, you think, "I could make a great pizza with that." This recipe will make a pizza crust about 12 - 14" in diameter.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour. 1 cup warm water (not hot, not cold.) 3 Tbsp Olive Oil. 1Tsp Active Yeast. 1 Tsp Kosher Salt. 1 Tsp Sugar.
Stir the sugar into the warm water. Add the yeast, stir gently and let it sit for 10 minutes until the top is foaming. In an electric mixer, measure out the flour and salt. Using the dough hook attachment on a low setting to stir the flour and salt, slowly add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Let the mixer continue to run and slowly add the yeast-water mixture to the bowl. Let the mixer run until the dough is rolling around the bowl -- if it appears too dry add a 1 - 2 tsp more of water until it forms a ball. Pour 1 - 2 tbsp of olive oil into another large metal or ceramic bowl and "grease" the inside of the bowl - spreading the oil around with your hand or a paper towel. Drizzle a little more olive oil on to the dough and rub it down. Place it in the metal / ceramic bowl. Cover it with a dishtowel and place it somewhere warm to rise for 1 - 2 hours -- it should rise to about 2x it's original size.
When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle a few more tablespoons of flour on a large cutting board. Turn the dough out onto the board. Sprinkle with a little more flour. Knead gently for a minute or two and then begin shaping it into a pizza. Roll it out or spin it in the air if you are adventurous. Place the shaped pizza crust onto a large non-stick cookie sheet. Add toppings and bake for about 20 minutes or until it looks done.