Classic Pizza Dough

This is the basic crust, one without a lot of folderol. No fat, either—to make room for lots of cheese! Bread fl our is a high- gluten wheat fl our with a little malted barley fl our and either vitamin C or potassium bromate in the mix. The barley fl our provides quick food for the yeast; the other addition helps keep the glutens elastic so they’ll hold the air bubbles the yeast produces. Look for bread fl our in the baking aisle of almost all supermarkets.
MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
2⁄3 cup lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F)
11⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast (see Note) 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1 cup bread fl our 1 cup all- purpose fl our, plus additional for dusting Vegetable oil or nonstick spray
1. A mixing bowl or the bowl to a stand mixer can often be quite cool—and thus a detriment to the yeast. If yours feels cool to the touch, fi ll it fi rst with some warm tap water, drain it, and dry it thoroughly. Then stir the water, yeast, sugar, and salt together in the bowl just until everything is dissolved. Set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes to make sure the mixture bubbles and foams. If it doesn’t, either the yeast expired or the water was not the right temperature. Throw the mixture out and start again.
2. If working by hand: Stir in both fl ours with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough. Sprinkle a clean, dry work surface with a light coating of all- purpose fl our; turn the dough out onto it, and knead for 8 minutes by pulling the mass with one hand while twisting it with the other, all the while digging the heel of your twisting hand into the dough. After every two or three push/twist/dig actions, rearrange the dough by folding it onto itself. If the dough is sticking to your hands, add a little more all- purpose fl our, no more than 1 tablespoon or so; then continue kneading until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If working with a stand mixer: Add both fl ours, attach the dough hook, and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms. Continue beating, adding more all- purpose fl our in 1- tablespoon increments if the dough gets sticky, until the mixture is soft and elastic, about 6 minutes.
3. Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of cooking oil on a paper towel; or spray it with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-f ree place until doubled in bulk, about 11⁄2 hours. Shape the dough according to the instructions on page 20 or as directed in the individual pizza recipe. NOTE: Active dry yeast can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year to preserve its freshness.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

With more tooth and a little more fl avor than the Classic Pizza Dough, this hearty dough stands up to heavier toppings like the Lamejun Pizza (page 142) or the Roasted Roots Pizza (page 246). Whole wheat dough, despite the heavier fl our, is actually delicate and so may tear slightly when shaped. For easier handling, consider rolling it into the desired shape with a rolling pin. To do so, dimple the dough on the peel or the baking sheet, then roll it out to the desired size, dusting it lightly with all- purpose fl our if the dough sticks to the pin.
MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
3⁄4 cup lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F) 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
11⁄3 cups whole wheat fl our
2⁄3 cup all- purpose fl our, plus additional as needed 2 tablespoons walnut or canola or vegetable oil, plus additional for greasing 1. Place the water in a large bowl or the bowl to a stand mixer. Stir in the yeast, sugar, and salt. Wait 5 minutes so the yeast can activate and begin to bubble and foam. If it does not, throw the mixture out and start again. Either the water wasn’t the right temperature or the yeast expired.
2. If working by hand: Stir both fl ours and the oil into the yeast mixture until a soft dough forms. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with all- purpose fl our and turn the dough onto it. Knead by holding the dough with one hand, stretching it with the other, and then twisting the heel of the holding hand into the mass. Continually reshape the dough, folding it on itself as you knead. If it’s sticking to your hands, add a little more all- purpose fl our in about 1- tablespoon increments. Continue kneading until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If working with a stand mixer: Attach the dough hook and the bowl to the mixer, add both fl ours and the oil to the bowl with the yeast, and stir at medium speed until combined. Continue kneading at medium speed until smooth and elastic, adding extra a ll- purpose fl our in 1-t ablespoon increments if the dough sticks, about 8 minutes.
3. Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of cooking oil on a paper towel; or spray it with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-f ree place until doubled in bulk, about 11⁄2 hours. Shape the dough using the tips on page 20 or as directed in the individual pizza recipes.

Olive Oil Pizza Dough

Here’s a dough that’s more in keeping with some versions of pizza found in southern Italy and at Sicilian- style restaurants in North America. It produces a crisper, richer crust. For the best taste, use a fragrant, fruity olive oil. MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
1⁄2 cup lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F)
11⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt 2 cups bread fl our, plus additional as needed
1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus additional for greasing the bowl 1. If the bowl you’re using—either a mixing bowl or the one for a stand mixer— feels cool to the touch, fi ll it with warm tap water, drain it, and thoroughly dry it. Then stir the warm water, yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl, just until the yeast dissolves. Set aside so the yeast can begin to bubble and foam, about 5 minutes. If it doesn’t, throw the mixture out and start again. The water may not have been the right temperature or the yeast expired.
2. If working by hand: Stir in the fl our and olive oil until fairly uniform, then turn the dough out onto a lightly fl oured, clean, dry work surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, pulling it with one hand while digging into it with the heel of the other hand, repositioning the mass repeatedly and adding more bread fl our in 1- tablespoon increments if sticky. The whole pro cess should take about 8 minutes. If working with a stand mixer: Add the fl our and oil to the yeast mixture, attach the dough hook, and stir at medium speed until combined. Continue beating at medium speed for about 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding a little more bread fl our (say, a tablespoon or two) if the dough starts to crawl up the hook or get sticky.
3. Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, d raft- free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Shape the dough using the tips on page 20 or as directed in the individual pizza recipes.

Semolina Pizza Dough

Semolina fl our is made from durum wheat, a very hard wheat, traditionally used in pasta making. It’s somewhat granular, which is why cornmeal and even some rice fl ours ground to the same consistency are occasionally called semolina. Look for the real thing, the wheat fl our, at specialty markets and Italian food stores. It will give the crust a nutty, full- bodied richness, perfect with pizzas that call for a tomato sauce.
MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
3⁄4 cup lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F)
11⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
11⁄2 cups all- purpose fl our, plus additional as needed
1⁄2 cup semolina fl our 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for greasing the bowl
1. Pour the water in a slightly warmed, large bowl or the warmed bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the yeast, sugar, and salt. Set aside until the yeast is bubbling and foamy, about 5 minutes. If the yeast does not indeed “proof,” throw the mixture out—either the yeast expired or the water was too hot or too cold.
2. If working by hand: Stir both fl ours and the oil into the yeast mixture until fairly smooth. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with a little all- purpose fl our, then turn the dough out onto it. Knead by hand, adding a tablespoon or two of additional all- purpose fl our should the dough turn sticky. Pull the dough with one hand while digging and twisting the heel of the other hand into the mass, always repositioning the dough by folding it onto itself, working all the while, until it’s smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If working with a stand mixer: Add both fl ours and the oil to the yeast mixture, attach the dough hook, and stir at medium speed until fairly well combined.Continue kneading at medium speed, adding a little extra fl our if the dough should stick, until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes.
3. Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel; or spray it with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-f ree place until doubled in bulk, about 11⁄2 hours. Shape the dough using the tips on page 20 or as directed in the individual pizza recipes.

Parmesan Pizza Dough

This rich dough is best with simple toppings, like the Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza or the Delicata Squash and Chard Pizza, because the flavor of the Parmesan will come through the crust. Use only good Parmigiano- Reggiano, purchased from a wheel at the market and grated just before using at home
MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
3⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F)
11⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt 2 cups all- purpose flour, plus additional as needed 2 ounces Parmigiano- Reggiano, finely grated 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for greasing the bowl
1. Place the water in a slightly warmed, large bowl or the warmed bowl of a stand mixer. (To warm the bowl, just rinse it out with warm tap water before wiping it out.) Add the yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir well and set aside until the mixture begins to foam and get frothy, about 5 minutes. If for any reason it doesn’t, throw it out and start again to assure a good crust.
2. If working by hand: Stir the fl our, grated cheese, and olive oil into the yeast mixture until smooth. Dust a clean, dry work surface with a little flour and turn the dough out onto it. Knead by holding with one hand while pulling and twisting with the other, digging the heel of that twisting hand into the dough as you pull it. Continually reposition the dough and re-form it into a mass as you knead it, adding more all- purpose fl our if the dough sticks to your hands. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If working with a stand mixer: Add the flour, cheese, and oil to the yeast mixture, attach the dough hook, and stir at medium speed until fairly uniform. Continue kneading at medium speed, adding a little more a ll- purpose fl our should the dough turn sticky or climb up the hook, until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes.
3. Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel, or spray it with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-f ree place until doubled in bulk, about 11⁄2 hours. Shape the dough using the tips on page 20 or as directed in the individual pizza recipes.

Spelt Pizza Dough

Spelt is a whole grain wheat, made from an ancient forerunner of today’s wheat and also quite high in protein. But all nutrition aside, it makes a chewy but still crisp crust, a good base for heavy cheese sauces. A little potato fl our gives the dough some elasticity; a bit of honey imparts a bit of sweetness.
MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
3⁄4 cup lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F) 2 teaspoons honey 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
13⁄4 cups plus 2 tablespoons spelt flour, plus additional as needed 2 tablespoons potato fl our (see Note) 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus additional for greasing the bowl
1. Pour the water in a slightly warmed, large bowl or the warmed bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the honey, yeast, and salt. Set aside until a little foamy and frothy, about 5 minutes. If the yeast does not “proof,” toss the mixture out and start again—either the water was at the wrong temperature or the yeast expired.
2. If working by hand: Stir the spelt fl our, potato fl our, and olive oil into the yeast mixture until fairly smooth. Lightly fl our a clean, dry work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Knead by holding with one hand and twisting the dough with the other while pushing the heel of that hand into the mass. If the dough sticks to your hands or the work surface, add another tablespoon or so of spelt fl our as you knead. Reposition the dough, gather it together, and repeat this kneading pro cess until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. If working with a stand mixer: Add the spelt fl our, potato fl our, and oil to the yeast mixture, attach the dough hook, and knead at medium speed until well combined and uniform, about 3 minutes.
3. Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel, or spray it with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-f ree place until doubled in bulk, about 11⁄2 hours. Shape the dough for a tray using the tips on page 20 or as directed in the individual pizza recipes. Because spelt fl our lacks many of the glutens found in a ll- purpose or bread fl our, this dough can be very diffi cult to shape by tossing and stretching. Instead, place it on a lightly fl oured peel or work surface, dust the top with spelt fl our, and roll with a rolling pin to the desired shape. NOTE: Don’t confuse potato fl our with potato starch. Potato fl our is made from ground, dried potatoes and is available in the baking aisle of h igh- end markets and almost all health food stores.

Cracker Pizza Dough

Look no further for the thinnest, crunchiest crust, a true Italian specialty. This dough is different from the others; it cannot be stretched into a crust once it’s risen. Instead, it must be rolled out on a lightly fl oured peel or work surface until paper thin. There’s no need to use the dough hook on a stand mixer for this crust; kneading by hand is a snap because so little fl our is used.
MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
1⁄2 cup lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F)
1⁄4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
11⁄2 cups bread flour, plus additional as needed
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus additional for greasing the bowl
1. Pour the water into a slightly warmed, large bowl or the slightly warmed bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the yeast, baking soda, and salt until dissolved.
2. Stir in the fl our and olive oil until smooth. Dust a clean, dry work surface with a little bread fl our, then turn the dough out onto it. Knead by holding the dough with one hand and pulling it with the other hand, twisting and digging the heel of that second hand into the dough as you pull it. Add a little more fl our if the dough sticks; continue kneading until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.
3. Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of cooking oil on a paper towel, or spray it with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft- free place to rest for 2 hours. Because there’s not much yeast, the dough will not double in bulk but will rise a little and soften somewhat. Roll the dough into the desired shape on a fl our- dusted peel or work surface rather than tossing it by hand.

Gluten- Free Pizza Dough

Even if you don’t have gluten allergies, try this specialty crust, made with instant masa mix, often used to make tamales and available in almost all supermarkets, often in the Mexican products aisle. The rice and potato fl ours are available at health food stores and high- end markets. The dough will not rise the way a yeast dough will. It will also not stretch because of the lack of wheat glutens, so you have to roll it out. We add a little gluten-free yeast to the mix, just for flavor.
MAKES 1 POUND DOUGH
1 cup lukewarm water (between 105°F and 115°F)
2 teaspoons sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons gluten- free active dry yeast (see Note)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup instant corn masa mix, plus additional for rolling out the dough and dusting a pizza peel
1⁄2 cup rice fl our
1⁄2 cup potato flour (do not use potato starch)
1. Place the water in a large bowl; sprinkle the sugar, yeast, and salt on top. Stir until dissolved and set aside for 5 minutes so the yeast can begin to foam.
2. Mix the masa mix, rice flour, and potato fl our in a second bowl until well blended.
3. Stir the fl our mixture into the yeast mixture until it forms a ball. Should the mixture be too dry (the moisture content of masa mixes can fl uctuate dramatically based on external humidity and temperature), add more water in 1-tablespoon increments until the whole mixture can be formed into a ball. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.
4. Dust a pizza peel with masa mix or grease a pizza tray or a large, rimless baking sheet with nonstick spray. Set the dough at the center of any of these, dust the dough with a little instant masa mix, and roll with a rolling pin to a 12- to 14- inch circle. If the edges crack, push them together to form a perfect circle. If desired, fold the edge over to form a lip on the crust. Top and bake as the recipe requires. NOTE: Many packaged yeast varieties include various wheat glutens adhering to the yeast granules, both for storage and for better activation. You can fi nd gluten free yeast at health food stores.

Classic Pizza Sauce

This recipe makes enough sauce for about fi ve pies, because who wants to go to the trouble of making just a small amount for one pizza? Freeze any leftover sauce in 1⁄2-cup plastic containers or zippered plastic bags for up to 3 months; thaw in the micro wave on low or in the refrigerator overnight. Although onions are sometimes traditional in pizza sauce, this recipe omits them because they make the sauce too sweet. Besides, onions are best as a pie topping.
MAKES ABOUT 23⁄4 CUPS
One 28- ounce can reduced- sodium crushed tomatoes (see Note)
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Up to 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper fl akes, optional 1 garlic clove, minced
1. Mix the tomatoes, olive oil, sugar, basil, oregano, salt, red pepper fl akes (if using), and garlic in a large saucepan set over medium- high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
2. Set the lid askew, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down into a somewhat thickened sauce, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before using, or store, covered, in a plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The best way to get sauce on a stretched dough is to use a ladle; spoon the sauce into the middle of the crust, then use the back of the ladle to spread the sauce evenly over the crust. NOTE: The quality of the tomatoes will directly affect the quality of the sauce. Do a taste test sometime to discover a brand with true tomato taste without too much salt or acid.

No- Cook Pizza Sauce

Here’s a real time-saver. Put everything in the blender or food pro cessor and you’ve got pizza sauce in minutes. The basic flavors are pumped up with fresh basil leaves because the tomatoes never break down into their aromatic fullness as they would over the heat.
MAKES ABOUT 21⁄3 CUPS
One 14- ounce can reduced- sodium diced tomatoes
One 6- ounce can reduced- sodium tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons minced oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
8 basil leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
Place the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, oregano, sugar, salt, basil leaves, and garlic in a large blender or a food pro cessor. Blend or pro cess until smooth, scraping down the inside of the canister or the bowl as necessary. Store, covered, in a plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze any extra in 1⁄2- cup plastic containers or zip- closed plastic bags for up to 3 months.

Pizza Pesto

Pesto is a no- cook sauce made from blending together fresh herbs, nuts, and cheese. While basil is the most traditional herb, there’s no reason to stand on ceremony, as you can see below. Pesto for a pizza needs to be slightly drier than the kind used on pasta so the sauce doesn’t run all over the hot pie on the grill or in the oven. If you use jarred pesto for your pies, pour off the oil that lies on top of the jar, rather than stirring it back into the sauce.
MAKES ABOUT 1 1⁄2 CUPS 6 tablespoons pine nuts, or chopped walnut pieces, or chopped pecan pieces
3 cups packed basil leaves; or 2 cups packed, stemmed arugula and 1 cup packed basil leaves; or 1 1⁄2 cups packed sage leaves and 11⁄2 cups packed parsley leaves; or 1 cup packed cilantro leaves, 1 cup packed parsley leaves, and 1 cup packed basil leaves 2 1⁄2 ounces Parmigiano- Reggiano, fi nely grated
1⁄2 cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
3 garlic cloves, quartered
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the nuts in a small skillet set over low heat. Cook until aromatic and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally so the nuts don’t burn, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and cool for 5 minutes.
2. Place the toasted nuts, herbs, cheese, olive oil, 3 tablespoons water, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food pro cessor. Pro cess until the mixture becomes a grainy paste, scraping down the inside of the bowl as necessary. Since this sauce makes more than you’ll need, place the remainder in 1⁄2- cup containers, cover with a thin fi lm of olive oil, and freeze for the next time you make a pie; thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using, pouring off the excess olive oil, which has only been used to keep the basil fresh and green. (That fl avored oil can now be used for salad dressings and marinades.)