Fat Larry's Pizza Dough





  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes until it begins to be foamy.
  • Add one cup flour and stir well.
  • Add an additional 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of water and mix again.
  • Mix in 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil and the salt, 1/2 cup water, and an additional 1/4 cup of flour.
  • The dough should form a ball and be a little sticky.
  • Add more flour or water if it's either too wet or too dry.
  • By this point, you'll probably be using your hands to mix it.
  • Sprinkle some of the remaining flour onto a board and knead dough on it 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  • Form dough into a ball.
  • Oil a large clean bowl with 1 teaspoon regular olive oil and place dough in it, turning so all sides are lightly oiled.
  • Cover with a towel and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
  • Punch down dough with your fist, turn onto floured board and knead 1-2 minutes.
  • Form dough into either 2 or 4 evenly sized balls, depending on what size pizza you wish to make (either two 12-inch or four 8-inch pizzas).
  • At this point you can freeze the dough balls up to a month, individually well wrapped in plastic.
  • Proceed with unfrozen dough as described below.
  • Preheat the oven to the highest baking temperature you can (which is probably about 500 degrees - don't use the broil setting).
  • If you are using a pizza stone (which is really a heavy tile they sell at cooking stores), place it in the oven before heating.
  • To make the 2 larger crusts: roll out one crust at a time. Place one dough ball back in the bowl and the other on the floured board. (If using a pizza stone, place the dough you are going to roll out on a pizza peel generously coated with cornmeal. Proceed on the pizza peel as you would on the floured board.) Let the dough on the board sit a few minutes-it will be easier to roll out. Roll dough into a rough circle using a rolling pin, and then pushing out to form the final shape, making a slightly thicker rim around the edge. Or you can press dough ball into a rough circle, and then pick it up on your two fists and turn, stretching dough gently until it is desired thinness. Finish shaping on floured board. For thin-crusted pizza, make dough about 1/4-inch thick. For Sicilian, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick (see below).
  • If using a pizza stone, put whatever toppings you are using on crust, then put pizza on stone by sliding the pizza peel out with a quick jerk so pizza slides onto the stone. Cook 15-20 minutes.
  • If baking pizza in a pizza pan or on a baking sheet, lightly oil pizza pan or sheet and place formed dough on it, adjusting shape to final form you want. Add desired topping and bake 15-20 minutes.
  • For Sicilian pizza, divide into 2 larger dough balls. Rollout dough no less than 1/2-inch thick. Proceed as described above for pizza stone or pan baking. The traditional way to cook Sicilian pizza is in a lightly oiled rectangular 9 x 13-inch pan, rolling it into a basic rectangle and then shaping it to fit inside the pan with your hands. Because of the thickness, bake 20-25 minutes with its toppings.
  • While first pizza is cooking, repeat process with second ball of dough.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle each pizza with half the parsley and oregano and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. This gives you a lovely bit of herb and olive flavor right up front.
  • Henry's Notes and Tips: If you're going to have a lot of toppings, you may wish to prebake the crust a few minutes. This is because in a regular oven not all the ingredients will cook through at the same time and you may end up with a soggy center. (You need a much higher temperature for all the ingredients to get cooked at once.) But don't cook dough more than 3 minutes before adding toppings or it will get to done. Also, don't roll out dough too thin that's going to have a lot of toppings-I'd maker them an inch less in size than described above.
  • Classis Pizza Toppings.
  • The most basic pizza topping is tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, with a bit of Parmesan and herbs on top. This is often called Pizza Margherita, after Queen Margherita, who it was supposed to have been created for. Traditional pizza toppings to an Italian American range from meats like pepperoni, sausage, sliced meatballs, prosciutto, to spinach, mushrooms, onions, fresh red, green, or yellow peppers, black olives, anchovies, capers, artichoke hearts, and fresh garlic in any way-sliced, slivered, roasted, minced.