It’s PIZZA TIME in Quarantine Kitchen!

We LOVE pizza! I mean, who doesn’t?
Whether you like it thick-crusted with cheese and pepperoni, or a thin-crusted Margarita or the incredible “Chicago Style” pizza oozing with cheese and toppings, we just can’t get enough.

The origins of pizza are thought to date back thousands of years to the Romans that enjoyed their flat-breads with cheese and olives. It’s strange to think that the pizza as we know it didn’t even exist until after tomatoes were brought back to Europe from the “New World”. What?

That’s right, no tomatoes in ancient Europe! Crazy thought, isn’t it! Anyway, I have always wanted to make my own pizza dough, so what better time to perfect a recipe than under quarantine! It’s pretty straight forward, and I would even say EASY! However, there are a few things that will affect your outcome. I’ll give more detail on those below.
Let’s make some pizza dough!

What you’ll need:
1 package active dry yeast, or 2.5 teaspoons
1.5 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

What next?
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, mix the yeast in warm water adding the sugar after the yeast gets cloudy. Let sit for about about 10 minutes. Mix in the olive oil right before combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the wet mixture and combine thoroughly. I like to use a spatula to keep my finger from getting too sticky… If you have a mixer with a bread hook, yay! Mix for 5 -7 minutes. If you are kneading by hand, and here is the trick- you have to kneed for 10-15 minutes to get a good dough. If you don’t mix long enough, it won’t make the best dough. You will know it’s well mixed when you can pull the dough apart, and you get a nice stretch with very little tearing.
After you knead the dough, make a ball, press it flat and then fold the sides/corners in on each other. Gently squeeze the dough balls into tight spheres with ‘seam” side down, with the excess pulled to the bottom. The top of the dough ball should have a smooth tight surface with no tearing. If not, you need to keep kneading.
You can immediately roll your dough out into pizza crust, but I prefer to let it rise for 1 to 1.5 hours, then take this risen dough and roll it flat. The thicker the dough, the thicker the crust will be on the cooked pizza. You can also let it rise for an hour again on the pan and get a different crust.
Note for the kids: Make your dough larger than your pan and fold the edge over on some strips of mozzarella cheese sticks to make a stuffed crust pizza! (Pic above, lower right corner)
Transfer crust to a pizza pan or baker’s peel dusted with flour or cornmeal. Cover with your desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting.