After many pizza tries, we found this recipe and love it! It’s for a thin Margherita pizza. We’ve tried it grilled and in the oven (on a pizza stone), but we prefer it in the oven! It even tasted great on a metal baking sheet. We invested in a pizza stone (Inexpensive at T.J.Maxx $15.00?) and a 14″ stainless steel pizza peel.
I use a thermometer to get my water to around 110°, otherwise it won’t activate the yeast. I buy my yeast in a little tub at Target. I’m sure there’s places that sell larger amounts but I want to make sure mine is fresh. I mix the yeast mixture in my Kitchenaid mixer. Then once the yeast proofs (gets foamy and proves it’s working), I put the dough hook on so I avoid all the labor-intensive work. You always want to make sure the yeast proofs because otherwise, imagine your dissapointment when you add all your flour in and it ends up going in the garbage! Last important note: if after proofing, the dough is too sticky you can always add more flour. If it’s too dense, I add a tiny bit of warm water. This will depend upon the humidity in the air, if you have the air conditioning on, etc.
Only fresh mozzarella and fresh basil are recommend for optimal flavor. You will be glad you sought them out because the flavor is worth it! The olive oil is a must! Once you bite into it, you will be amazed at all the flavors.
Make sure to preheat the oven WITH the pizza stone in it; you want the pizza to hit that hot stone and start cooking instantly. I cover my pizza peel in cornmeal so the pizza slides right off of it onto your stone, hopefully quickly. It can take some practice to get this right. Sometimes the pizza will flip onto itself; remember you’re learning!
—-This recipe makes 4 medium sized pizzas. I used one fresh mozzarella ball for all 4 pizzas. Estimate how much mozzarella and basil you want for each — you don’t have to put exactly 4 basil leaves on each pizza, of course!
I suggest doing this recipe on the weekend, especially the first time you make it. It will make a lot of dirty dishes, etc, especially when you’ve never made it before. I reserve it for the weekend, even though I know how to make a minimal mess now.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 pinch white sugar
1/4 cup flour for dusting
2 cups pizza sauce
20 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
20 leaves fresh basil
sea salt to taste
- Stir flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Mix water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Let stand until yeast begins to form a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.
- Stir half the flour mixture into yeast mixture until no dry spots remain. Stir in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When dough pulls together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, then place dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (80 to 95 degrees F (27 to 35 degrees C)) until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch dough down, divide into 4 equal pieces, and form each into a ball.
- Preheat oven with a pizza stone to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
- Stretch out and pat 1 dough ball to form a circle 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Place dough on a lightly floured pizza peel. Top with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and spread to cover within an inch of the edge of the dough. Arrange 5 slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the tomato sauce, then place 5 basil leaves on top. Drizzle pizza with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Repeat for 3 remaining dough balls.
- Slide each pizza onto the pizza stone in the preheated oven. Bake until cheese is bubbly and the underside of the crust is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.