Homemade pizza usually does not taste as good as the pie you get at a local pizzeria. Pizza made at home typically has two factors working against it. A home oven simply does not get as hot as a wood oven at a pizzeria, and the dough used by home cooks usually is not prepared properly. To get a light, crispy pizza crust, you need to make the dough correctly. Use bread flour instead of all-purpose and toss the dough instead of rolling it to see an improvement in your pizza.
Combine the yeast with the warm water and the sugar and stir. Set the yeast mixture aside for about five minutes, until it foams.
Mix the flour, olive oil and salt together. When the yeast mixture is ready, pour it into the flour and stir until a dough forms. Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands, then sprinkle flour on your countertop. Knead by folding the dough over itself, then pushing it down toward you. Continue to knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is stretchy and sticky but does not cling to your fingers. Shape the dough into a ball.
Oil another mixing bowl, set the dough inside it, and cover it with plastic wrap. You can either let the dough rise for an hour or until it is doubled. You could also set it in the refrigerator and let the dough rise overnight. If you let it rise overnight, check it every hour for the first few hours, pressing it down as it rises. Let the dough come back to room temperature before working with it.
Place the baking stone or sheet in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F at least one hour before baking the pizza.
Knead the risen dough gently in the bowl, until it loses its extra air. Divide the dough in half. Place one half back in the bowl, and set it aside.
Sprinkle more flour on your countertop. Set the other half of the dough down on it. Use the rolling pin to flatten the dough into a 6-to-8 inch circle. Pick up the circle with your right hand and toss it lightly into the air. Don’t toss it too high, as you will need to be able to catch it.
Catch the dough with the backside of your hand, not your fingertips. Gently work the edges of the dough, stretching them, then toss in the air again, putting a bit of spin on the dough. Catch it and continue to stretch and toss until you have a thin circle of dough about 12 inches in diameter. Set the dough down on a floured surface or parchment paper.
Pull the preheated baking stone or sheet out of the oven. Sprinkle it with cornmeal, then carefully slide the dough onto it. Coat with a layer of sauce, a layer of shredded cheese and any toppings you like. Slide the pizza into the oven. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted and is starting to brown. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- pizza image by serge di natale from Fotolia.com