This is the best homemade pizza ever. I'm posting it on Monday so you'll have time to get all the supplies gathered by Friday (pizza night!). I know it's a little bit "pinch of this/pinch of that" but it's quite forgiving overall, and definitely open to experimentation. And it looks long and involved, but so worth it. You can make the dough without a bread machine, but you really have to have a pizza stone (or two). The dough makes enough for two medium/large pizzas.
Put a little warm-to-hot water in the pan of a breadmaker (2-3 T.). Sprinkle 2 tsp. yeast over the water. (I use a lot of yeast, so have it on hand in a jar. A packet is 2-1/4 tsp., and that would work just fine.) Pour in a little olive oil (1-2 T.). Add about a teaspoon of salt. Add a little over 1 cup of cold water. Add 3 cups flour. (I use 1/2 to 1 cup whole wheat, and the rest white. The more whole wheat you use, the chewier the crust will be. You may need to use a little more water if you're using more whole wheat. More white flour will give you a crispier/cracker-like crust.) Add about 2 T. cornmeal. Set the breadmaker to the dough cycle to complete the dough. (Mine takes 1-1/2 hours.) As I am measuring the flour & cornmeal, I set aside a little extra to use later. (Leave a tablespoon or two of flour in the cup, and a teaspoon or so of cornmeal in the spoon.)
The key to really exceptional homemade pizza is parchment paper. Cut a piece of parchment the same size (more or less) as your pizza stone. I have one circle stone (on the very bottom rack of the oven, pushed to one side) and one rectangular stone (on the middle rack, pushed to the other side).
When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Mine takes a good 10 minutes to reach that temperature, so I prepare the pizza toppings while the oven is preheating.) Make sure the stones are in the oven so they get preheated too.
Sprinkle the reserved cornmeal on the parchment. Put half the dough on each piece and sprinkle it with flour. It is perfectly okay if your dough is "wet" -- you will just need a bit more flour.
Push the dough out to match the shape of your parchment, adding flour as needed.
Now you can add your toppings as desired.
Slide the parchment + pizza onto the preheated stones. This is where the parchment is essential: it allows you to prepare the crust easily, create your pizza, and slide it right into the oven without ruining everything. It also conducts the heat from your stone right to the crust.
Typically, the bottom pizza will cook faster. I usually slide the top pizza onto its stone, wait a few minutes, then slide the bottom pizza onto its stone.
Bake until brown + bubbly. The finished pizza will slide right off the parchment as you remove it from the oven. (Discard the used parchment.)
What are your favorite pizza toppings? I'll share two of our favorites on the next two Fridays. I would love to try something new!