Lesson No. 1 of making pizza at home: It's not hard to make pizza dough.
Lesson No. 2 of making pizza at home: The hard part is finding your perfect dough recipe.
And after years of experimenting with different ratios and methods — including pizza dough in the bread machine, which I now think silly — I have found my dough with Smitten Kitchen's Lazy Pizza Dough! It's excellent if making traditional-crust pizza, meaning made with white flour, but it holds up well when you mix in some wheat flour for heft and health. Note: With these measurements, DO NOT PACK YOUR FLOUR. These are "fluff and level" cups, which should weigh about 125 grams if you have a kitchen scale.
The "lazy" part of the recipe comes from its flexibility. There are three yeast options depending on when you plan to eat your pizza. For the overnight option, start the dough after dinner to serve the next night for dinner (about 22 hours.) For the all-day option, start in the morning before the planned pizza dinner (about 12 hours.) For the part-day option, start your dough at noon for dinner that night (about 6 hours.) Whichever way works for you, the recipe yields enough for two thinner-crust pizzas, perfect for two 9-by-11-inch cookie sheets.
Oh, but I almost forgot. Lesson No. 3 of making pizza at home: Use a quality flour. You pay attention to the quality of your sauce, cheese and other toppings; pay as much attention to your flour's quality by using a top-notch product like Bob's Red Mill.
Lazy (Wheat) Pizza Dough
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Jim Lahey's "My Pizza"
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, such as Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1 cup wheat flour, such as Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
Either 1/8 teaspoon (for overnight option), 1/4 teaspoon (for all-day option) or 1/2 teaspoon (for part-day option) active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
For the pizza:
Sauce, cheese and your choice of toppings
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl using a spoon. The dough will be very rough and craggy usually, but add a spoonful of water if it seems too much so. Cover your still-craggy dough with plastic wrap and keep at room temp for the 22/12/6 hours of your dough schedule. See above.
Thirty minutes before the dough is ready, grease your pizza pans. Preheat your oven to HOT (450°F or even 500°F if you live dangerously.)
Scrape the dough out onto a floured counter top. It should now be loose, soft and stretchy. Divide the dough in half and form into two balls. One by one, stretch the ball by letting it fall from your hands a few times before placing it on the prepared baking sheet. Only then use your floured fingers to stretch it further to fit.
Note: If the dough is getting unmanageable, walk away for 10 minutes. The gluten in the dough will rest and become more pliable again.
Add your sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway through if cooking both at once. The top should be blistered and the crust golden.
Allow the pizza to rest for about three minutes, then slice and enjoy!