You guys have no idea how excited I am to finally post this recipe. I've spent the past three months trying out different pizza dough recipes and searching for the best one. There have been some good ones and some really bad ones. There have also been recipes that have completely failed. But this one from Annies Eats is perfect. Her Deep Dish one is also pretty good if you're looking for deep dish pizza.
*I used a different baking method than Annie because I didn't have a pizza stone. I followed the directions on the yeast packet and baked mine on the lowest rack at 475º between 10-13 minutes. I put the dough in either a baking pan or a clear bottomed glass baking dish. The glass dish works best because it allows you to check the bottom of the crust to make sure it's browning, not burning.
Source: Annie's Eats
1/2 cup warm water (about110º)
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for greasing the bowl
Meausre the warm water into a liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at a low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and put in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until it has doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500º for at least thirty minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with cornmeal. Top as desired. Slide the bough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8-12 minutes. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use. Enjoy!
*Pizza dough was one of the things on my 23x23 list!