Remember in this post where I confessed that I used $.89 betty crocker pizza dough…and liked it? Well those days are no more. This post is all about my new favorite homemade pizza dough. I won’t tell you how many times we’ve eaten pizza in the last two weeks, I’ll only tell you that this is the best homemade pizza crust I’ve ever had.  It’s thick and chewy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside – absolutely perfect texture-wise. And the taste is exactly what you’d expect from a great pizza crust. We’ve already tried it with our favorite margarita pizza, and with a new pizza that I’ll share with you soon. Both were absolutely delicious.

One of my favorite things about this dough is that you can make it in advance. I make it on the weekend, or on a free evening, then freeze it until I’m ready to use it. The day I want to make pizza for dinner, I just stick it in the refrigerator to thaw while I’m at work. After a quick 30 minute rest at room temperature, it’s ready to be rolled out and baked. Incredibly easy, and definitely worth it. Throw in the fact that I just got a pizza stone from Mike’s parents for my birthday, and homemade pizza is now a weekly staple in our house!

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Perfect Homemade Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast (or active dry)
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. If using active dry yeast, stir the yeast into the water and allow it to sit until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.

If freezing the dough, wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag and freeze. Place the dough in the refrigerator on the morning of the day you want to use it. (If using the dough for lunch, transfer to the refrigerator the night before.) Before making the pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

If using the dough right away (not freezing it), cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. (a pizza peel or parchment paper) Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.