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Basic pizza dough

GROWING up with neither Neapolitan grandmother nor local pizzeria (lived in Iowa, ate haggis), I learned how to make my own pizza out of pure desperation, often, and with giddy pleasure. Maybe this giddiness is why I've broken all four ... Read more

Total time: 20 minutes plus overnight rising time and 1 hour resting time | Makes 2 pizzas, about 10 inches in diameter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • Generous pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon best-quality
  • olive oil
  • About 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Step 1Put the water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes, until it begins to foam. (If it doesn't, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Step 2Stir in the olive oil and 1 cup of flour and mix until incorporated. Then add the salt and the second cup of flour, stirring with a spoon or spatula.

Step 3Turn out the dough onto a floured board or, if your bowl is large and shallow enough, just knead it in the bowl. Knead the dough, incorporating the rest of the flour as needed, until it's smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Step 4Put the dough into a clean, well-oiled bowl, turning to lightly coat the top of the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 5The next day -- about an hour and a half before you want your pizza -- take the dough out of the refrigerator, punch it down and divide it into two balls. Lightly coat the dough with olive oil, cover with plastic, and let it rest on the counter for an hour.

Step 6After an hour, using your fingers, spread each ball of dough into a 10-inch disk on top of a piece of parchment paper. The edges should be half an inch thick, and the centers should be about a quarter-inch thick. Assemble your pizzas.

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