Using bread flour is the secret for crusty pizza—one that holds up to a lot of sauce and toppings! You can make two large rounds from this dough, but making individual pizzas is more fun. Note: If you’re able to find instant yeast, you can streamline the technique even further, as it can be mixed with the other dry ingredients for a few seconds before adding the water and oil, before proceeding with the kneading as described.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, about 110-115°F, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (or one envelope) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Place the water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Turn it on for a few seconds to mix and then wait 5 minutes for the yeast to bubble up.
With the mixer on the lowest setting, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the salt, and the flour to the bowl. Once a doughy mass forms, slowly raise the speed and continue kneading until the dough ball is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If the dough feels too dry, add more water, a scant tablespoon at a time. If too wet, add more flour, a scant tablespoon at a time.
Lift the dough out of the bowl, remove the dough hook, and pour in the last tablespoon of olive oil, coating the bowl thoroughly. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise for about 60 minutes or so (depending on how warm your kitchen is) until double in size and spongy.
Preheat your oven to 450° or 500°F, depending on how high it goes. Gently transfer the dough from the bowl to a large piece of parchment paper. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into quarters. Transfer three of the pieces onto their own sheets of parchment. If the dough is sticky, first sprinkle the parchment paper with flour or some cornmeal. One piece at a time, stretch out the dough with your hands, rotating it by quarter turns until it reaches your desired thickness. The shape—round, rectangle, or oblong—is up to you, but keep a slight lip all along the perimeter. Transfer the pizzas to large baking sheets (you should be able to fit two per sheet). Use scissors to trim the parchment to within two inches of the dough.
Working in batches as needed based on your oven capacity, bake the pizzas for 8 minutes. Carefully take them out of the oven, add your desired toppings, and return to the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly.
Yields 4 individual pizzas