How to make really good pizza at home. Crisp edges and lofted insides. See images above for a complete step-by-step tutorial. This recipe will give you enough for tonight and plenty for the freezer.
- 4–5 c. bread flour
- 2 tsp. flaky kosher salt
- 1 tsp. instant yeast*
- 1 3/4 c. cold water
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- cornmeal, for dusting
- Into a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add flour, kosher salt, and yeast. Mix together.
- Pour water and oil into a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in liquids until combined. Stop the mixer every so often to help incorporate all the flour.
- Once all the flour is incorporated, continue adding in flour a couple tablespoons or so at a time, about an additional cup in total. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. The dough will begin pulling away from the sides, only sticking to the bottom. Once the texture of the dough is just right, it will look like a fat tornado. Continue mixing/kneading the dough on low speed for another 10 minutes.
- Remove dough to a surface. You shouldn’t need any additional flour, only a pastry bench. Using the pastry bench, cut the dough into 6 equal parts. Shape dough into a ball (see tutorial above).
- If freezing dough for later, place individual balls in a ziploc bag. Place a straw into the far side of the bag and zip closed to the straw. Suck out all remaining air. Quickly remove straw and zip close. Place in freezer for up to 2 months.
- Allow dough to rise. If starting with frozen dough, remove from the freezer the morning before cooking. Open bag and allow to rise in the bag on the counter all day. If using freshly made dough, drizzle with a bit of oil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise on the counter for 4-8 hours. (It takes dough in my kitchen far less time to rise in the summer because of a warmer house.)
- One hour before baking, place Baking Steel in oven. Turn oven to highest temperature and allow to preheat. See placement in oven tips in the notes. In the meantime, assemble sauce or pesto as well as toppings. Place fresh mozzarella ball, if using, in the freezer to make slicing easier.
- About 30 minutes before baking, assemble the pizza. Pull out your pizza peel. Lightly spread cornmeal on the surface to allow an easy slide into the oven. Set aside. Using a bit of extra flour, coat the outside edge of the dough to absorb any wet areas. Gently use your fingers to press into the dough a couple times. We don’t want to break the outside seal of the dough. This will help to create those picture perfect charred bubbles once cooked. Pick up dough, adding additional flour if necessary and either toss or press out the dough into a 10-12″ round. (See video for tossing how-to. You’ll use the tops of your fist to toss and catch the dough. Do this 2-3 times.)
- Place shaped dough onto the peel. Drizzle the outer edge of the crust with olive oil for flavor. Gently rub in. Add a couple dollops of prepared sauce around the pizza. A little goes a long way. Use the back of a spoon to spread around evenly. Remove mozzarella from freezer and thinly slice. Place on top of pizza as well as any additional toppings.
- Carefully slide pizza onto the steel. Bake for 5-15 minutes. This will vary greatly from oven to oven.** Remove onto peel. Slice and serve.
- Leftovers? Try this method for reheating.
*This recipe is written specifically for instant yeast. No temperature activation is required. If using dry active yeast (or another form), use warm water instead of cold as listed. Please note, this recipe has been tested over the years using instant yeast only.
**Ovens vary from machine to machine. I’ve made this in an electric and gas oven. Either way, I turn the oven up to the hottest temperature (not broil). The first couple of times, I play around with placement in the oven. I one oven, I placed the baking steel on the very bottom, though that always made me very nervous. In my current oven, I place the steel on the second rung down from the top. That seems to work best in getting a nice crunch on the crust and melty cheese. It’s 100% trial and error. Because of this, baking times will vary immensely.