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What makes a GREAT pizza? The dough? Not entirely as it's a combination of the dough ingredients, the method the dough is made, the freshness of the toppings - not too much either and then finally the perfectly hot wood fire environment that can cook the pizza as quick as possible. But let's start at the beginning and give you the very best pizza dough recipe to get you on your way...
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the yeast and sugar together. Add lukewarm water (yeast loves temps of 70-80 degrees). Let the yeast sit there munching for 5-6 minutes until there’s a bubbly foam and the yeast is completely dissolved. Add flour, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed.
Once combined, remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook. Turn the mixer on low speed. Slowly pour in the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Continue mixing/kneading for about 8 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and become smooth. Gather the pizza dough together into a round ball. Place the ball in a lightly-oiled mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth. Allow the pizza dough to rise for one to two hours in a warm place (see “Pizza Dough Rising Tip” below).
You’ll notice that the dough will rise to about double it’s original size. Using your fist, punch down the the dough and transfer it to a lightly-floured surface. Using your hands, knead the dough. Place it back inside the lightly-oiled mixing bowl and cover the bowl. Let the pizza dough rise a second time (about 15 minutes). When the dough has risen, punch it down again. Your pizza dough is now ready to use! This pizza dough recipe makes two round 16″ pizzas, or you can divide up the dough to make several personal-size pizzas.
PIZZA DOUGH RISING TIP: At the door of your pizza oven is the perfect pizza dough rising environment, especially during cold-weather months. As you prepare the pizza dough you should have your pizza oven firing and building up the heat over several hours. The goal is to use some of the warm heat at the pizza oven door to assist with the dough rising. I use a clean, lightly-oiled, stainless-steel mixing bowl covered with a cloth/tea towerl. Pizza dough is very happy rising in this warm, cozy enclosed space.
HOW TO MAKE PIZZA
Roll out the pizza dough to the desired thickness. Place the pizza crust on a lightly floured pizza peel. Brush lightly with olive oil then top with your favorite sauce and fresh ingredients. Put in your pizza oven for 2 minutes.