We love making homemade pizzas, and probably have them a couple of times a month. The boys almost always want just cheese, but I like to get a bit more creative. My personal favorite is my Spinach Alfredo, but I also enjoy barbecue chicken or a simple tomato, basil and mozzarella (that's the husband's favorite as well). I'll share my favorite sauce recipe later this week, but here's my go-to crust. After experimenting with a few different recipes, I've determined that I truly like this one the best. It helps that it's super quick and easy to make, but it's delicious, too.
Basic Pizza Dough
from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
makes 1 large or 2 small pizzas
1 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp coarse salt
1 to 1 1/4 cups water
2 tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil
To make by hand:
Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add 1 cup flour and 2 tbs olive oil; stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time; when mixture becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little flour as possible- just enough to keep the dough from being a sticky mess. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about 10 minutes. Proceed with next step (below).
To make with stand mixer:
Combine half the flour with salt, yeast, 2 tbs olive oil, and 1 cup water; blend with machine's paddle attachment. With machine on low speed, add flour a little at a time, until the mixture has become a sticky ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (switch to dough hook if necessary). Knead for a minute by hand, adding as little flour as necessary. Proceed with next step (below).
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with remaining tsp olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. (You can let the dough rise slowly in fridge up to 6-8 hours.)
At this point, you're ready to roll out your dough and top it, or you can wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in a covered bowl in the fridge or at room temperature.