The Only Pizza Crust - Have It Now or Later!

Total Time
2hrs 18mins
Prep 2 hrs
Cook 18 mins

I use my bread machine on the dough cycle- adding wet first, then dry ingredients. I make a double batch of the dough; divide it into 4 crusts; bake and freeze it for later use. This crust adapts to YOUR schedule: make the dough now, and serve fresh pizza up to 2 days later if kept in the fridge or up to 6 weeks in the freezer.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Combine the yeast with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 4 to 5 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. Don't over-knead the dough; it should hold together, but can still look fairly rough on the surface. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise till it's very puffy. This will take about an hour using instant yeast.
  2. Shape it into a rough circle. In either case, don't pat it flat; just stretch it briefly into shape. Allow the dough to rest, covered with an overturned bowl or lightly greased plastic wrap, for 15 minutes.
  3. Use vegetable oil pan spray to lightly grease the pan(s) of your choice. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the pan(s). The pan spray keeps the pizza from sticking; the olive oil gives the crust great flavor and crunch.
  4. Place the dough in the prepared pan(s). Press it over the bottom of the pan, stretching it towards the edges. You'll probably get about two-thirds of the way there before the dough starts shrinking back; walk away for 15 minutes. Cover the dough while you're away, so it doesn't dry out.
  5. Allow the dough to rise, covered, till it's noticeably puffy, about 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450°F.
  6. Bake the pizza on the lower oven rack till it looks and feels set on top, and is just beginning to brown around the edge of the crust, but is still pale on top. This will take about 8 minutes for thinner crust pizza and 12 to 14 minutes for thick-crust pizza.
  7. To serve pizza immediately: Remove it from the oven, and arrange your toppings of choice on top. Return to the oven, and bake on the upper oven rack for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned, both top and bottom, and the cheese is melted. Check it midway through, and move it to the bottom rack if the top is browning too much, or the bottom not enough.
  8. To serve pizza up to 2 days later: Remove the untopped, partially baked crust from the oven, cool completely on a rack, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature. When ready to serve, top and bake in a preheated 450°F oven, adding a couple of minutes to the baking times noted above. Your goal is a pizza whose crust is browned, and whose toppings are hot/melted.

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