Pizza Crust

When I got married, the Hubs came with a pizza stone.  I'll admit, I was intimidated by it.  I had no clue how to use it.  But I did have regular pizza pans.  That sat in the cupboard.  Why?  My crust would never bake evenly, it was difficult to work with, and I just did not enjoy making homemade pizza.  Until I learned how to use a pizza stone.  I was watching PBS one morning (oh yeah, I'm a public television person) and caught a cooking show where they were teaching you how to use a pizza stone!  And then I understood the beauty of having a pizza stone.  

The key was to place your pizza stone in the oven as it is preheating, and you preheat it to the hottest temp it will go (usually somewhere between 450 and 500).  Leave it in there for at least 20 minutes.  Then remove stone and place your pizza on the hot stone and return to the oven.  Perfect crust every time!  But be careful, with that perfect crust comes an extremely hot pizza stone.  Make sure you have hot pads!  And I usually set my pizza stone on my stove top after removing it from the oven.  It's way too hot to place on a non-heat proof surface!

A couple tips: It's best to sprinkle your counter with cornmeal or semolina flour before you roll out your dough.  That way, it won't stick to the counter and will make it easy to transfer to you hot pizza stone.  Also, spread your sauce out to the edges and then sprinkle a thin layer of cheese before adding your toppings.  Then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  This gives your toppings something to "grab" onto instead of sliding off your sauce.  

Pizza Crust


1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Cooking spray to grease bowl


1. Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast on water and then sugar.  Allow yeast to dissolve and become bubbly.  Add half of the flour and all of the oil, salt and sugar. Mix on low speed until combined.  Add enough of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough is easy to handle. Knead more flour in, if needed, until dough becomes smooth and satiny.

2. Spray a large bowl with the cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place 20 minutes. 

3. Gently push your fist into the dough to deflate it. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours. (If dough should double in size during refrigeration, gently push fist into dough to deflate it.) 

4. Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to the highest your oven will go (400-500 degrees).  Roll dough out into a round that will fit your pizza stone.  Place dough on hot pizza stone, adjust with your fingertips, and add your sauce and toppings.  Return pizza to oven and bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes.  Slide pizza onto cutting board and slice 8 pieces.

Makes 1 medium crust