Make your own pizza dough. Really, give it a try and see if you don't end up doing it again. Pizza places are humming during the holidays due to the amount of cooking being done for parties and family gatherings. And that's great. There are a lot of good pizza places out there. But being able to reach into the fridge or freezer for your own hand-crafted dough is something special. Taking on the challenge of perfecting it can be a rewarding experience (obsession) you might never have expected.
This dough is great for thin pizza that has a crisp crust and chewy pull (thank the high gluten flour for that one), but it is also a suitable dough for calzones, stromboli, pizza bites, or even a simple flat bread for the dinner table.
Homemade Pizza Dough
makes 3 (13-ounce each) dough balls
5 cups (22 1/2 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 3/4 cups room temperature water (70º F )
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix all of the ingredients on low speed until a coarse ball forms, about 4 minutes. Turn the mixer off and allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes (autolyse phase), then mix again on low speed for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just to the bottom. If the dough is too soft and sticky to hold its shape, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful; if it is too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the tablespoonful.
Immediately divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Round each piece into a ball and brush each ball with Extra-Virgin olive oil. Place each ball in its own zippered freezer bag or large plastic container. If using the next day, let the balls sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator overnight. If using the same day, let the dough balls sit at room temperature in the bags/container for 1 hour, remove from the bags, punch down, reshape into balls, return to the bags, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
The next day (or later the same day if refrigerated for only 2 hours), remove the balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before baking to bring to room temperature before you plan to roll them out. At this point, you can hold any balls you don't use right way in the refrigerator for a day, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
Source: American Pie by Peter Reinhart