Making a homemade pizza crust is really an easy thing to do, but some people are intimidated by it. Others just see no reason to make it simply because there are some great pre-made ones in every grocery store – I often opt for those myself so I totally see your reasoning (Judgement will not be forthcoming from my neck of the woods!).
But on the off chance you ever want to make a homemade crust, I thought I’d show you how truly simple a delicious crust can be, and even toss in a stuffed crust option if you like!
You can do this, I promise, and it just takes a few minutes.
You’ll need: All purpose flour, a wee bit of sugar, fresh rapid rise yeast (check your date*), Olive Oil (can use vegetable), wee bit of salt, corn meal, and warm water*.
*I prefer Red Star rapid rise yeast because I am not a patient woman. This pizza crust is ready to go in under half an hour when you use rapid rise. You can, of course, use another brand and type, but it may take a little bit longer. There are other rapid rise yeasts on the market but I’ve always ended up with “good” yeast that worked when I got this particular brand and can’t say that for others. Just go with what works for you.
*Water temperature is one of the most important things when it comes to working with yeast. Too hot, and it will kill your yeast. Too cold and it won’t activate it or will make it slow as molasses. The key here is to think “Baby Bath Water”. If you’ve ever given a baby a bath, you can easily make your water the perfect temp just by feeling of it. If you haven’t ever given a baby a bath, see if some of your friends will let you borrow their baby… Just kidding. But hey, most folks won’t turn down free babysitting, especially with a newborn!
Place flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
Stir that together a bit.
Stir that up until it starts to stick together like this.
Dump it out onto a floured surface.
Knead it for 3-5 minutes.
What I do is press it into a ball, then push into it with the heel of my hand.
Press it into a ball again, turn it a bit, push into it with the heel of my hand.
After a few minutes it will get all smooth and nice.
Now form it into a ball again but this time leave it be.
Loosely cover it with plastic wrap.
I cover that with a damp dish towel just to keep the plastic wrap from coming up and to help keep my dough from drying out while it rises.
Leave this be for 15-30 minutes if you used rapid rise yeast.
If you used regular yeast, leave it be for 30-45 minutes.
When you lift up your towel you’ll have a slightly larger ball but it’s not going to be doubled in size or anything.
Now sprinkle about 1/8 cup corn meal onto a pizza pan.
Press your dough ball down and place it in the center of the pizza pan.
~squints eyes and tilts head~
Or kinda in the center.
It’s a pizza crust. The state of the world does not rest on how centered our dough is when we start.
Using your hand, press, press, press, press until you have your pizza pan mostly covered.
Then ignore this for five minutes.
This relaxes the dough and makes spreading it even further really easy.
After five minutes, press, press, press, press again until it slightly overhangs the edges of your pizza pan.
This is really easy to do since you let the dough relax a bit.
See? It pays to follow my advice sometimes
If you want to stuff your crust, take some mozzarella and add in some herbs.
I am using about 1 cup mozzarella with 1/2 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon basil.
If you don’t want to make a stuffed crust, skip down to where we start folding the edges over…
Toss that together a bit.
Then sprinkle it in a ring on the outer rim of your pizza crust.
Fold edges over cheese and press down.
Your pizza is now ready for sauce and toppings!
Add sauce, toppings, and cheese, and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.
Any kid will run any errand for you,
if you ask at bedtime.