Mmmm...eureka! I've found it! The perfect pizza d'oh recipe!!!
This recipe makes enough dough for two 12" thin crust pizzas or one thick crust pizza. I suspect it would make for excellent calzones, too, but you'll have to figure out how many on your own, yo.
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (yeah, the stuff that will kill ya)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pkgs dry yeast (make sure it's not old...if it's been in the fridge for more than three months, toss it)
1 1/2 cups warm water (divided)
2 tsp brown sugar
Measure out 1 cup warm water and add the 2 tsp brown sugar until dissolved. Mix warm water/sugar with two pkgs of yeast in a large bowl and let sit for at least five minutes. The yeast/water mixture will become frothy-the yeast is proofing.
Now...the directions in the book tell you to make a mound with the flour, pour the oil into a little indentation in the middle, blah blah..here's Laura's simplified I-have-three-kids-and-very-little-time way of doing it.
After the yeast is nice and frothy and stinky (yes, it is funky), I add in the remaining 1/2 cup warm water, the olive oil, salt and four cups of the flour. Mix it all up-it will be a sticky mess. Do your best to lump it into..well, a LUMP and turn it out onto your lightly floured kitchen table or whatever clean, lightly floured surface you will be kneading it on. Add in the flour a little at a time-in fact, I don't even use the entire remaining 1/2 cup..it's more like a quarter. If you add too much flour, your d'oh will become tough..and you don't want that. Knead it all into a soft, slightly tacky ball. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl and place the d'oh inside. Cover with a damp dishcloth and place the bowl in a warm, draft free location so the d'oh can rise to about twice the size (about an hour to an hour and a half).
Once it has risen and you're ready to make your pizza, punch the d'oh down and divide it in half. I make two thin crust pizzas-one for the kids and one for the grown ups.
Now....the second half of making this unbelievably awesome is that you really need a pizza stone. I got mine from the Pampered Chef and I love it. But, you are gonna have to break the rules. They tell you not to preheat your stone. If you want kick ass pizza crust, you NEED to preheat the stone. Preheat the oven (and the stone) to 500 degrees..it's hot. It's damn hot. So..that being said..let's continue.
Roll out your d'oh on a floured surface-I use the kitchen table and I have to give each of the kids a blob of d'oh so they can play pizza chef. It keeps them busy... Good thin crust pizza needs to be rolled out to a thickness of about 1/10th of an inch or the thickness of a credit card. Roll it out so it is large enough to overlap the edges of your pizza stone and roll it up to make a little sauce levy.
I put a little cornmeal on a flat cookie sheet and make my pizza on that while my stone is heating up..the cookie sheet acts as a paddle-which I don't have. Place the rolled out d'oh on the cookie sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. This will (theoretically-personally, I don't notice that much difference) keep the sauce from making the crust soggy. Then build your pizza from there.
Side note..my favorite pizza is Pizza Margherita.
Layer of unseasoned tomato sauce
Fresh torn basil leaves
Fresh tomato slices-and make sure you shell out the extra cash for GOOD tomatoes. It's so worth it.
Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced.
When your pizza is built, pull out the oven rack with your preheated stone and slide uncooked pizza from the cookie sheet to the stone-this takes some finesse but you can do it. Bake it until the sauce levy is crispy and golden and the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown ever so slightly.
I usually transfer the pizza back to the cookie sheet because I make two pizzas at a crack-I need the stone. And also that stone really holds the heat..like for an HOUR and you want your pizza to set up a bit. It might look a little soupy when you first pull it from the oven, but it will settle and ~gel~ when it starts to cool.