How To Make Homemade Pizza Crust: Learn The Secret

How To Make Homemade Pizza Crust: Learn The Secret
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Pizza is one of the most popular and delicious dishes in the world. It can be customized with various toppings, sauces, and cheeses to suit your taste and mood. But what makes a pizza really great is the crust. A good pizza crust should be soft and chewy on the inside, crisp and golden on the outside, and full of flavor.

Making your own pizza crust at home is not as hard as you might think. It only requires a few basic ingredients, some time, and a little bit of love. In this guide, you will learn how to make homemade pizza crust step by step, with tips along the way. Let’s get started!

Ingredients

To make homemade pizza crust, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups of warm water (about 100-110°F or 37-43°C)
  • ½ teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • ½ tablespoon of fine sea salt
  • 3⅓ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Some cornmeal for dusting the pan (optional)

You can also use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour for a chewier crust, or add some herbs or spices to the dough for extra flavor.

Step 1: Activate the Yeast

The first step is to activate the yeast, which is a living organism that makes the dough rise. To do this, you need to dissolve the yeast and honey in warm water in a large bowl. The water should be warm but not too hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast. The honey will provide some sugar for the yeast to feed on and speed up the process.

Stir the mixture well and let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes bubbly and frothy on top. This means that the yeast is active and ready to use.

Step 2: Add the Salt, Flour, and Oil

Next, add the salt, flour, and oil to the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. You may need to adjust the amount of flour or water depending on the humidity and temperature of your kitchen. The dough should be slightly sticky but not too wet or dry.

Step 3: Knead the Dough

Now it’s time to knead the dough, which is a process of stretching and folding it repeatedly to develop gluten. Gluten is a protein that gives the dough elasticity and strength. Kneading also helps distribute the ingredients evenly and incorporate air into the dough.

To knead the dough, you can either use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or do it by hand on a lightly floured surface. If you use a mixer, knead on low speed for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

If you knead by hand, use your palms to push and fold the dough for about 20 minutes, or until it passes the windowpane test. The windowpane test is a way to check if the gluten is well-developed by stretching a small piece of dough until it becomes thin and translucent without tearing. If it tears easily, keep kneading.

Step 4: Let the Dough Rise

Once you have kneaded the dough, shape it into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until it doubles in size.

This is called the first rise or proofing. During this time, the yeast will produce carbon dioxide gas that will inflate the dough and create air pockets.

Step 5: Divide and Shape the Dough

After the first rise, punch down the dough gently to release some of the gas and divide it into two equal pieces. You can either use both pieces to make two pizzas or freeze one for later use.

To freeze the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag. It will keep for up to three months. To thaw it, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours.

To shape the dough, you can either use a rolling pin or your hands. If you use a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. If you use your hands, stretch the dough in the air by holding it from the edges and rotating it.

You can also use your fingers to press and pull the dough on a floured surface. Try to make the edges thicker than the center to form a crust.

Step 6: Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Pan

Before you add the toppings to your pizza, you need to preheat the oven and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 475°F or 246°C and place a pizza stone or a baking sheet in the lower third of the oven. A pizza stone is a ceramic or metal plate that absorbs and retains heat, creating a crispier crust.

A baking sheet will also work, but you may need to adjust the baking time.

To prepare the pan, sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel or another baking sheet. The cornmeal will prevent the dough from sticking and add some crunch to the crust. You can also use some parchment paper instead of cornmeal.

Step 7: Add the Toppings and Bake

Now comes the fun part: adding the toppings to your pizza. You can use whatever you like, but here are some general tips:

  • Brush the dough with some olive oil before adding the sauce. This will create a barrier between the sauce and the crust and prevent it from getting soggy.
  • Use a thin layer of sauce and cheese. Too much sauce and cheese will weigh down the crust and make it soggy.
  • Spread the toppings evenly over the surface of the pizza, leaving some space around the edges for the crust.
  • Don’t overload the pizza with too many toppings. Too many toppings will make it hard for the crust to cook evenly and may cause it to burn or undercook.

Some classic pizza toppings are tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, basil, etc. You can also try some creative combinations, such as barbecue sauce, chicken, red onion, cheddar cheese, cilantro, etc.

Once you have added your toppings, carefully slide the pizza from the peel or baking sheet onto the hot stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is golden and crisp.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Homemade Pizza

Congratulations! You have just made your own homemade pizza crust from scratch. Now all you have to do is enjoy it. Cut into slices and serve hot with some extra cheese or red pepper flakes if desired. You can also drizzle some olive oil or balsamic vinegar over your pizza for extra flavor.

Making homemade pizza crust is not only easy and fun, but also rewarding and delicious. You can experiment with different ingredients and flavors and create your own signature pizzas.

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