Pizza is a hands-down favorite, anytime, anywhere. And while you get good pizza when eating out, truly great pizza is much easier to find at home, mostly because you can top it exactly the way you want. This dough is a good starting point for your creations and can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours or frozen up to a month. If you like toppings, roll the crust a bit thicker so it can support their weight and moisture. If you like a thin crust, keep your toppings spare and packed with flavor.
Yield: Makes 1 pound, enough for 2 (12-inch pizzas) or 4 (7 to 8-inch) Pizzas
1/4 cup (2 ounces) warm water (110-115 degrees)
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet) or 1-3/4 teaspoons instant (fresh) yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) water
3 tablespoons (1-1/2 ounces) extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
3-1/4 cups (16-1/4 ounces) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Place the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Stir to dissolve, if necessary.
In a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt and mix briefly to combine. Turn the mixer on low speed; add the yeast mixture and mix to combine. Add the water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
Shape the dough into a smooth ball, place it on a floured surface, and cover with an inverted bowl, plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature for about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
When the dough is ready, use a large knife or a bench scraper to divide it into 4 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, press out any bubbles that might have formed in the dough, and form each piece into a small smooth ball. Place about 4-inches apart on a lightly floured surface.
Dust work surface with flour. Flatten one dough ball to a thickness of 1/2-inch, and roll to a diameter of about 5 inches and a thickness of about 1/4-inch, keeping the remaining dough covered. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and cover with another piece of parchment. Continue rolling dough balls and placing on the baking sheet, separating layers of rolled dough with additional sheets of parchment as needed. Cover stack of dough rounds with plastic wrap and set aside.
Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula Salad
This pizza combines the sweet caramelized flavor of peaches on the grill with salty prosciutto. The aged balsamic gives a sweet and tart kick that further helps marry the other ingredients together.
Yield: 8 individual (5-inch) pizzas
Vegetable oil, for brushing grill grates and peaches
4 large, firm-ripe peaches, pitted, each cut into 8 slices
1 recipe Homemade Pizza Dough
5 thin slices prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups baby arugula, trimmed, washed and dried
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
Prepare a hot charcoal fire, preheat a gas grill to high, or heat a large grill pan over high heat. Brush grill grates or grill pan with a thin coating of vegetable oil using a silicone pastry brush. Brush peach slices with the oil as well. Place peach slices on grill and cook until grill marks develop, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and grill on other side until grill marks develop, another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove peaches and place on a plate next to the grill. Place prosciutto pieces on a separate plate, and set next to grill with other topping ingredients. Bring rimmed baking sheet of dough rounds to grill and remove plastic wrap.
Lightly flour a rimless baking sheet or pizza peel. Place dough rounds one at a time on the baking sheet and carefully transfer to grill grates. Place 2 to 3 dough rounds on grill, cover, and cook until grill marks appear, about 2 to 3 minutes. Open grill and transfer dough rounds to another rimless baking sheet or large cutting board. Repeat with remaining dough rounds.
Flip each dough round so grill marks face up. Lightly coat each round with about 2 teaspoons olive oil, and top with prosciutto pieces and grilled peaches. Return topped dough rounds to grill, cover, and grill until second side is cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer pizzas to individual serving plates.
To serve: Place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and vinegar until lightly coated. Place a mound of the dressed arugula in the middle of the pizza and serve immediately.