2.5 cups warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
About 7 cups of flour
Mix the warm water and yeast together and let it sit for 7 minutes to activate the yeast. Add the salt and sugar and mix well. Slowly mix in the flour to make a soft, but not sticky dough. You don't want to add too much flour or the crust will be dry.
Grease pizza pans, iron skillets, or baking stones well with olive oil. I've found that baking stones work really well for traditional crust and iron skillets make good pan pizzas.
Flour a clean surface such as a tabletop or counter and roll out crusts to desired thickness.
Once the crusts are placed on the baking stones or in pans, you can add sauce, cheese, and toppings. This recipe makes roughly enough pizza for a dozen people, but how many pizzas it makes depends a lot on how thick you make your crusts and how big your pans are. I don't usually make the whole recipe for just my husband and I. Here I have 1/4 the recipe made into 2 pan pizza crusts (8" and 10").
For the sauce, I use Ragu Old-World Style Spaghetti Sauce flavored with Meat because it's less acidic than many spaghetti sauces. Use whatever spaghetti sauce you prefer. If you want a more italian taste to your pizza, you can sprinkle the sauce with italian seasoning before adding the cheese.
Once the sauce is on, you add the cheese and other toppings. This is the fun part, especially if you have kids. You can let kids make their own pizza (on a large baking stone or in a small iron skillet) or put their own toppings on part of a larger pizza.
Mozarella is my favorite cheese for pizzas, but you can use various other types of cheese such as provolone as well. You can put toppings all the way to the edge and get rid of the "crust" all together or you can leave a margin of crust. You can also make stuffed crust by making the crust a little too large and wrapping the dough around cheese or other toppings. There are tons of various pizza toppings you can use (including some you won't find at your local take-out place). Use your favorites or experiment with new things.
To make dessert pizza, you can top the crust with any number of sweet items. You can try some of these:
- Butter, sugar, and cinnamon
- Vanilla pudding and chocolate chips
- Apple chunks (or applesauce) and crumbly streusel topping
Here are my pizzas, ready to go into the oven. I put my toppings all the way to the edge. The cheese gets crispy around the edges that way as it touches the hot pan, and I won't have any plain crust.
Once the pizzas are ready, bake them at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the crust is done. Enjoy!
Note: The pizza crust recipe can also be used to make french bread or breadsticks. When making either of these, let the dough rise for 10-20 minutes before baking. For breadsticks, you can form the dough into long, thin sticks and lay them side by side on a baking stone or cookie sheet. Brush them with garlic butter and sprinkle with italian seasoning and parmesan cheese before baking (you can also do this to the edges of pizza crusts to make them more interesting).
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