Servings: Makes 2 thick crust pizzas or 4 thin crust pizzas
Place flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While mixer is running, gradually add water and knead on low speed until dough is firm and smooth, about ten minutes. Turn machine off.
Pour oil down inside of bowl. Turn on low once more for 15 seconds to coat inside of bowl and all surfaces of dough with the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm spot until doubled in bulk, about two hours.
Preheat your oven to highest setting, 500° or 550°F. If using a pizza stone, place stone in oven on bottom rack, preheat oven one hour ahead. Punch dough down, cut in half. On generously floured work surface, place one half of dough.
By hand, form dough loosely into a ball, stretch into a circle. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into large circle until very thin. Don't worry if your circle isn't perfect and if you get a hole; just pinch edges back together.
To prevent dough from sticking to counter, turn dough over, add flour to dough, counter and rolling pin as needed. Sprinkle pizza peel or cookie sheet generously with cornmeal. Transfer dough to pizza peel or cookie sheet with no lip. Add toppings.
Slide dough onto pizza stone or place cookie sheet with pizza on bottom rack. Bake 10–12 minutes or until golden. To remove pizza from oven stone, slide cookie sheet under dough onto another cookie sheet, slice and serve immediately.
Roll out remaining dough and top with desired toppings or freeze in freezer bags.
Recommended technique: Make double batches of the dough, divide and freeze leftovers so you've never got an excuse to eat out. Place a bag of dough on the counter before you leave for work. By the time you cruise in from your commute, the dough will be ready to roll, top and bake.
From the book Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen
Published on June 23, 2003