Homemade pizza dough is one of those things that cannot compare to store bought. And please believe me when I say it is the easiest thing EVER. There is zero excuse to not try it at least once (but I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked.)
This recipe is from the amazing Alton Brown and I have converted his gram measurements below, HOWEVER, when working with yeast and flour it's always best to be precise. If you have access to a digital scale, it is best to use weight to measure the ingredients and then the dough will be absolutely perfect. For the gram measurements, use Alton's recipe here: http://altonbrown.com/pizza-dough-recipe/
The hardest part of this recipe is that the dough needs to be chilled overnight so plan accordingly. If you need pizza today and you don't have time to refrigerate, Bobby Flay has a good recipe that only takes an hour of rise time and works well but if you can plan ahead, I definitely recommend the recipe below.
I hope you give it a try…
Homemade Pizza Dough Prep time: 24 hours (15 mins hands on time) 4 12-inch pizzas
3 teaspoons active, dry yeast**
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups filtered or bottled water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
Non-stick spray or olive oil for greasing the bowl
Add the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer bowl. Attach the dough hook and turn to "stir" or the lowest setting to start to blend the dry ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients together and pour slowly into the dry ingredients while the machine is stirring. Keep on low until the ingredients are completely combined and the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer in a smooth ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour one tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too dry, add more water one tablespoon at a time. (If you measured the ingredients by grams, it shouldn't need adjustments.)
Turn the mixer up to medium and let the dough hook knead the dough for 5 minutes. You may need to put your hand on the top of the mixer during this step as my Kitchen Aid likes to walk across the counter when it kneads dough!
When the kneading is done, turn off the mixer and remove the bowl from the stand. Grab a can of non-stick spray or a few tablespoons of olive oil. Take the dough out of the bowl with one hand and spray the same empty bowl with the non-stick spray or add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and coat the inside. Shape the dough into a ball and put back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator overnight (or up to 2 days.)
When you are ready to cook the pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut with a serrated knife into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball and place on a lightly floured surface or a piece of parchment paper. Cover dough balls with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30-45 minutes.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven (500 degrees) or the barbecue (high) for at least 30 minutes. If you have a pizza stone, make sure the pizza stone is placed in the oven or barbecue during the preheat process. The stone and the oven needs to be hot so don't cheat on this part!
When you are ready to cook, shape your pizza dough. Full confession: I am terrible at this! I actually use a rolling pin which Alton says to never use...oops. But it gets the pizza thin and it's far less stressful for me and guess what...It still tastes amazing. But if you are good at shaping with your hands go for it! There are a million YouTube videos that show you how.
My method: Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. When it's the size you want, transfer to a pizza peel generously dusted with flour or corn meal. Shake the peel a little bit and make sure the dough moves easily before you start to dress the pizza. If it is sticking to the peel at all, lift and dust some more.
When the pizza dough is on the peel and moves easily around when shaken, brush the edges of the dough with olive oil and then sprinkle the edges lightly with salt. The salt can be omitted if you are salt conscious but it really makes the pizza delicious! Add sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice.
Transfer raw pizza to heated pizza stone by sliding the dough off the peel onto the hot stone. Cook for 5-7 minutes (start checking around 5 - when the edges are dark and the cheese is bubbling it should be done!) I like to pick an edge up with my peel and make sure the center of the underside of the pizza is nice and crispy.
Remove the pizza with the peel and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into pieces and enjoy!
*Bread flour is going to make your pizza crust crispier. If you don't have bread flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour but it will make your crust chewier.
**It is cheaper to buy a larger bottle of yeast instead of the packets. If you don't use yeast very often, store in the freezer. It will keep long past the expiration date this way and you can use it straight from the freezer.
Final Note: This recipe makes 4 good sized pizzas (each pizza is enough for 2 adults). For kid sizes, I half the dough balls before I stretch them out.