I may do most of the cooking around our house, but when it comes to pizza my husband, Jesse, is the resident expert. I first tasted his work shortly after first meeting him– and after eating a slice I observed that “the woman who marries that guy is going to be one lucky lady!” Four years and one baby later that statement holds true!
I’ve learned that the secret to making a great pizza is getting the crust right. Here’s the crust recipe my Jesse developed years ago:
4 cups white unbleached or whole wheat flour
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cube butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
¼ cup sugar
In a small bowl:
Dissolve the sugar into the water. Add the yeast and stir it just enough to get most of the yeast damp. The sugar activates the yeast and mixing it together now will make the dough rise faster.
In a large bowl:
Mix all the other ingredients together and add the water and yeast mixture. Continue to mix the dough together, kneading it with your hands as needed, You should work the dough, punching it with your hands, until it feels elastic. When you pull a chunk of it– it should pull back when you release it. (If you have a stand mixer use the dough hook and let the machine run until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic effect when you pull on it.)
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and place it in a warm area of your kitchen (just make sure it doesn’t get hot since that will kill the yeast). Depending on the temperature of your kitchen it can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour for the dough to rise. You will know that it is ready to work with again when it has expanded quite a bit, is soft to the touch, and it does not spring up when you poke your finger in it.
After it has finished rising, divide the dough into two equal pieces and roll out. Place in a greased pizza pan, roll the edges of the crust, add your favorite sauces, cheese, and other toppings. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for eight to ten minutes or until the cheese and edges of the crust begin to brown.
This recipe makes enough dough for two large pizzas.