It took me years to finally find a recipe for pizza crust that tastes restaurant-quality. Apparently it isn't so much the ingredients as it is the technique!! It might take you a couple of tries to get it right, but trust me, when you do, the results will speak for themselves. The first time I made this I thought my house was going to burn down! My pizza stone turned completely black while it was pre-heating in the oven and our house filled with smoke. I put the pizza on it anyway and it turned out perfect!
1 1/2 cups 110 degree water
2 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. olive oil
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup cornmeal
pizza sauce - of your choice, as needed shredded cheese - of your choice, as needed toppings - of your choice, as needed
-In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in water.
-Add oil and flour to bowl and stir with heavy spoon for 1 minute.
-Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press into a circle.
-Sprinkle yeast evenly over dough and knead for 12 minutes.
-Divide dough into 2 equal-sized portions for pizza OR 4 equal-sized portions for calzones and roll each portion into a ball. (see Notes, below)
-Place dough balls in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm location(don't be surprised when it doesn't rise much...you didn't put much yeast in it! it's not supposed to rise a lot).
-Place a dough ball on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a light coating of flour on top.
-Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle.
-Preheat a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven for 1 hour.(this is the main part I was missing!)
-Coat a large board with cornmeal and place the dough onto the cornmeal.
-Spread sauce over crust and top with cheese and desired toppings.
-For calzones, fold crust over itself in half.(I make mini calzones - see below)
-Gently shake the cutting board, assuring it isn't sticking to the board.-Slide the pizza/calzone from the cutting board directly onto the stone in the oven.
-Bake in a 500 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden.
Notes: Before allowing the dough to rise, you may place it in a plastic zipper bag and freeze. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature, then proceed with instructions.
I like to make one pizza and use the rest of the dough for pizza rolls/pizza pockets/mini calzones.
Sorry I didn't take a picture when they were out of the bag. I got them all bagged up and then remembered the picture...and by then I was too lazy to take them all out again. :)