Pizza Dough

Most French recipes for pizza call for pâte a pizza, letting the home cook decide whether or not she wants to make her own or use one of the excellent products that are readily available from the supermarket. However, I always make pizza dough from scratch—it’s just not that difficult, and it doesn’t take as long as most yeast breads. The small bit of extra work results in that fresh, yeasty goodness that you can get only when you knead and bake it chez vous.

Makes 2 (12-inch) thin pizza crusts

1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
Pinch sugar
1 cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease 2 large baking sheets. In a 1-cup measure, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups of the flour and the salt. Add yeast mixture. Stir until well combined and dough starts to pull from the sides of the bowl.

2. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough until dough is smooth; this will take about 6 to 8 minutes. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball, place on a lightly floured surface, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.

3. Roll or pat dough into 2 12-inch rounds on the baking sheets (see Note). Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; flatten any air bubbles with a fork. Top with desired toppings. Bake until toppings bubble and crusts are cooked throughout, about 10 minutes more.

Note: If you want to make mini-pizzas or tarts, you can divide this dough into quarters and flatten it into 4 6-inch rounds.

Stand Mixer Option: Prepare dough through step 1, using the mixing bowl from your mixer. Attach dough hook to mixer; with mixer running on low speed (speed 2 on a KitchenAid), add enough remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Continue kneading on low speed until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Continue as directed.

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