Pizza is one of my all time favorite foods! Used to be that I thought I could only get really good pizza from a pizza parlor, but with this dough recipe from Chris Bianco that I found in "The Gourmet Cookbook" and some leftover marinara you can absolutely create some delicious pies right in your own kitchen. The one I made for dinner last night is topped with just fresh mozzarella cheese and shards of parmesan reggiano. The possibilities are endless, however! Substitute my ingredients for your own favorites and create your own Hawaiian Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Seafood Pizza, Cheeseburger Pizza or any other combination you dream up. While I cooked this one on a pizza stone in a 450 degree oven, I have also used this dough recipe for pizza on the grill and it worked out even better!
Basic Pizza Dough ...adapted from a recipe by Chris Bianco in "The Gourmet Cookbook"
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dredging
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a measuring cup and let stand until surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir together 1 1/4 cups flour and salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water and stir until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour (about 1/2 cup) so dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead dough on a dry surface with lightly floured hands (reflour hands when dough becomes too sticky) until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into 4 balls for individual pizzas and put on a lightly floured surface and generously dust with flour. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.
To shape the dough, do not punch down. Carefully dredge 1 ball of dough in a bowl of flour to coat and transfer to a dry work surface. Holding one edge of dough in the air with both hands and letting the bottom touch work surface, carefully move hands around edge of dough (like turning a steering wheel), allowing the weigh of dough to stretch to roughly 4 inches. Transfer to a floured tray and work edges with fingers to get desired shape. Let side on tray for about 15 minutes before preparing as desired.