BASIC PIZZA DOUGH
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- Pinch of sugar or 1/4 teaspoon honey
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- cornmeal or semolina, for sprinkling
Pour the warm water in a small bowl (tip: be sure that the bowl is also warm so that it doesn't drop the temp of the water!).
Sprinkle the yeast, sweetening and 1 tablespoon of the flour over the surface of the water.
Stir until dissolved and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 15 minutes.
In the work bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine salt and 1 cup flour.
Pour in the yeast mixture and stir on low to combine.
Add the olive oil.
Beat for 2 minutes, adding the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed.
Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook and knead for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy.
If desired, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand.
Place the dough in a greased deep container. Turn one to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until tripled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
At least 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees or its highest setting. Place a baking stone, if using, on the lowest oven rack.
Shape dough as desired.
Immediately after shaping, brush with sauce or olive oil and assemble toppings on the dough.
If using a baker's peel, heavily sprinkle it with cornmeal or flour.
Slide the pizza onto the pan or directly onto the baking stone.
Pizza cooked directly on a baking stone will take 8 to 10 minutes; in a pan it can take 10 to 15 minutes.