The easiest pizza you’ll ever make
Makes 2 to 4 servings
For the crust:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 cups lukewarm water
4 3/4 cups to 5 1/4 cups (23 1/2 to 25 1/2 ounces) flour, plus more as needed
Semolina, for dusting the baking sheet (may substitute cornmeal)
For the toppings:
1 1/2 cups (half of one 26 1/2-ounce carton) strained tomatoes, such as Pomi brand
1 small clove garlic, minced with a pinch of salt into a paste
Salt, as needed
Sugar, as needed
8 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Make ahead: Dough for the crusts can be made at least one day in advance. Refrigerate it for at least eight hours to let it slowly rise in cold storage after kneading, or refrigerate after it has risen for an hour or two at room temperature. The dough can be frozen for up to a few months.
1. For the crust: Combine the sugar, yeast, salt, oil and the lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Add the 4 3/4 cups flour, stirring it in with a wooden spoon. Add more flour, as needed, to form a soft dough that starts to come together in a shaggy mass.
3. Lightly flour your countertop. Turn the dough out there; use your hands to knead it for seven to 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic. If it starts getting very sticky, sprinkle more flour on your hands, the dough and the counter. The stickiness will also begin to go away as the dough smooths out.
4. Use some oil to grease a large bowl. Transfer the dough there, cover and place in a draft-free spot to rise for one to two hours (it should almost double in size), or transfer to the refrigerator for at least eight hours.
5. Meanwhile, make the toppings: Stir together the strained tomatoes and garlic in a medium bowl. Taste, and add salt and sugar as needed.
6. At least an hour before baking the pizza, place an inverted baking sheet or a pizza stone, if you own one, on the bottom/lowest oven rack; preheat to 500 degrees.
7. Lightly flour your countertop again. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into four equal portions, turning each into a rough ball. Reserve two of them for later use, either by placing back in the covered bowl in the refrigerator or loosely wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in a zip-top bag in the freezer. Cover one portion with plastic wrap while you work with the first one. Use your fingertips to begin flattening out the dough, until it’s about eight inches in diameter.
8. Hold one hand in the center of the dough to lightly anchor it. Use your other hand to begin stretching the dough on the side farthest from you, rotating the dough in quarter turns so that you are stretching all sides. If the dough resists stretching, let it rest for a few minutes. Aim for a round that’s about 12 inches in diameter.
9. Use semolina to dust the surface of a rimless baking sheet or inverted, rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough round there.
10. Brush the dough with a bit of oil, if desired. Spread half of the sauce lightly over the surface, leaving about a 3/4-inch border around the edge. Add half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
11. Slide the dough from the rimless baking sheet onto the inverted baking sheet in the oven. Bake (middle rack) for 13 to 16 minutes, until it’s golden brown, the toppings are hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted. Immediately transfer the pizza to a wire cooling rack (so the bottom of it doesn’t get soggy).
12. Once the toppings have set for a bit (five to 10 minutes), slice and serve.
13. Repeat the stretching, topping and baking with the remaining ball of dough.
—Crust recipe adapted from KingArthurFlour.com