1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse-grain cornmeal, for dusting
assorted toppings (pictured: pepperoni, Italian sausage, spinach and mushrooms)
Preheat the oven to 500. Place 16-inch (or larger) pizza stone on lowest shelf position, for 30 minutes. Pour warm water into a small bowl. Add sugar, and sprinkle in yeast. Stir the mixture until the yeast is dissolved. The water should look tan. Let yeast stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. In a food processor, combine 2 3/4 cups flour and salt, pulse three to four times. Add yeast mixture and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Pulse until the dough comes together, adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth and not sticky when squeezed. Transfer to clean surface. Knead four or five turns into a ball. Coat the inside of a medium bowl with olive oil, and place the dough in the bowl, smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot or a cool oven until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Remove plastic wrap, and use your fist to push down on the center of the dough. Fold the dough in half four or five times. Turn dough over, folded-side down, cover with plastic wrap, and return to the warm spot/cool oven to rise again. Wait until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Punch down the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Divide the dough in half, and knead each half four or five turns into a ball. Place one of the dough balls back in the oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Lightly flour a clean surface, place the dough ball on top, pat into a flattened circle, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let rest 5 minutes. Begin to flatten and push the dough evenly out from the center until it measures about 7 to 8 inches in diameter. Leave a 1/2 inch border of unflatted dough around the edges of the circle. Sprinkle cornmeal all over the surface of a pizza peel, and set aside. Lift the dough off the surface, and center it on top of your fists. Rotate and stretch the dough, moving your fists until they are 6 to 8 inches apart and the dough is several inches larger. Then place your fists under the inside of the outer edge, and continue to stretch the dough until it reaches about 12 inches in diameter. The dough will drape down over your forearms. Start over if the dough tears or gets to thin. Do this carefully, preserving the raised edge. Place the pizza dough into a circle on top of the cornmeal-dusted peel. Distribute pizza sauce on the dough, leaving the 1/2 inch of raised dough bare. Sprinkle with cheese and toppings. Slightly tilt the peel, and place the front tip of peel on the back side of the stone. Slide the pizza off the peel, centering it on the stone as best you can. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Repeat with remaining dough.
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One of the best pizzas I've ever had. Crispy crust, yummy sauce, fresh mozzarella and our favorite toppings. I especially liked the mushrooms. We sauted them in a little olive oil before placing them on the pizza. I think that is a little tastier than just plopping raw ones on there. We also grilled some Italian sausage and drained some frozen spinach. Much tastier and much less greasy than delivery pizza. It takes a bit of time and effort but you will be well rewarded.
Another pizza option: pesto pizza with sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
I recommend that you use a peel when making the pizza. It is the easiest way to get the pizza on and off the pizza stone. Nothing else works quite as well.