Alrighty so this is easily the best pizza crust I’ve ever made. It’s sort of like focaccia meets crispy pizza dough and they fall madly in love and you can taste the love that they have for each other.
Let’s get into it:
The Crust Ingredients:
- 250g high gluten flour AND about 250g more high gluten flour for later
- 2 packets (4.5t) active dry yeast
- 1T sugar
- 1.5t salt
- Black pepper
- 350mL warm water mixed with 2T olive oil
- A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (not entirely necessary, but very helpful)
- A 425ºF oven for later when baking the pizza, not for the dough rise
- An hour and a half of your day (that’s it! For delicious pizza!)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 250g of the flour and the rest of the ingredients. Whisk together, then get the bowl back onto the mixer and add the other 250g of flour. Using the dough hook, mix the dough together. If the dough is very sticky and not forming a nice ball after being mixed for a while, add more flour 1T at a time.
When the dough creates a ball in the mixing bowl, move the speed to 2/3 (low) and let the mixer knead for about 5 minutes. Turn the dough onto a smooth surface (I just use my countertop) and knead by hand another 5 minutes. If the dough sticks very much to the counter while you’re kneading it or you’re finding that there’s sticky dough all over your hands, add a little more flour. You should easily toss this ball of dough around and not get all gross.
Coat the mixing bowl with olive oil and put your kneaded dough ball inside. Turn dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel and set in a warm place* to rise 30-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Below are ideas for toppings for your pizza in list form, and, I mean, just go wild. Because why not? Do it all. This makes enough pizza for 4-6 people, so change it up. This will make 2 sheet trays of pizza, so mix up the toppings and make it fun.
Importantly: when you go to cook this pizza, heat your oven to 425ºF. Oil a rimmed baking sheet. Using your fingertips, spread out the dough until about 3-4mm in thickness. The dimples made by your fingertips are important sauce-holders.
Place your fully topped and prepared pizzas (on their sheet trays) on the bottom rack in the oven for the first 10 minutes of the bake time, then move to the middle rack for the last 4-7 minutes (time depends on thickness and how crispy you like your pizza).
*My oven has a bread proof setting. Usually I’ll turn on this setting but not actually put the dough inside. I just set the bowl on top of the oven grates. I’ve also put the bowl of dough on top of a cooling rack on top of a heating pad turned to medium heat. Also, it’s totally fine to rise at room temperature, it just might take a long time to double in size. I think you can also let it proof in the fridge overnight, but don’t quote me on that.
Ideas for toppings:
- Tomato sauce/alfredo sauce/pesto/barbecue sauce/that TJ’s garlic spread/even just olive oil
- Fresh or shredded mozzarella/feta/goat cheese/parmesan/blue cheese/any kind that you love
- Kalamata olives/black olives/green olives/garlic stuffed olives/we love olives. Drain them well.
- Giardiniera (like a true Chicagoan)
- Sliced fresh tomatoes
- Mushrooms. Any kind of mushrooms.
- Red onion/green onion/white onion/yellow onion/caramelized onion/sliced garlic/shaved fennel
- Spinach/radicchio/cooked (both can be cooked)
- Fresh basil/any other herbs/cabbage slaw/arugula (probably should go on top after cooking)
- Pepperoni/par-cooked sausage/prosciutto (can be cooked or added after cooking)/shredded or pulled chicken/pulled pork/par-cooked bacon/pancetta/ham?/SHRIMP? whatever. do it.
- Roasted red peppers/sliced pepperoncinis/sliced banana peppers/bell peppers/sliced jalapeños/pickled jalapeños/peppadew peppers
- Honeslty? Ranch and hot sauce. But that would go on after the pizza cooks.
- Anything else that you think sounds good. If you’re like, “Hey, would this be good?” The answer will be a resounding “YES, USE IT!” Get weird. Have fun. It’s only pizza.
My pizza here was split into thirds
1: Banana peppers, kalamata olives, spinach, fresh tomatoes, and feta 2: Mushrooms, goat cheese, and the tiniest bit of truffle oil 3: Pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, and giardiniera
My husband’s pizza had literally all of those toppings all over the entire thing and it was phenomenal. Add all the toppings you want, don’t hold back.