This post might be a little controversial here in Chicago. You see, I like my pizza thin, cut into normal triangle slices. None of this deep dish business. Or deep dish places making thin crust pizza (which just is never that good) and slicing them up into little squares. Deep dish has its place and it can be very delicious but it truthfully is more like pizza casserole.
Since it can be difficult to get my version of good pizza on a regular basis (Piece doesn’t deliver far enough east unfortunately), I just make my own. And I start with homemade dough. Pizza dough is a great introduction to yeast bread because it really is simple. You take some all-purpose flour (or a mix of AP and White Wheat) and mix it with salt and instant yeast. I make little wells in the flour so that I don’t lose count of the cups.
Then dribble in some chilled water and olive oil and knead with your mixer until the dough doesn’t stick to the sides but still sticks a bit on the bottom. Then divide the big ball into 6 equal portions, roll in some olive oil and stick in the fridge for at least 24 hours (or into the freezer for extended storage).
If I am taking dough from the freezer, I move it to the fridge the day before I want to make it. Then take the dough out of the fridge 2 hours before you want to make your pizza so that it can rise. Shaping the dough took a little practice but I have figured out my technique. I carefully take the dough out of the bag and then hold it by the edges of the disk. Let gravity pull the dough downward and then turn the disk by grabbing the edges like a wheel. Once it gets thin, place it down on a piece of parchment and stretch it more as necessary. If a hole does tear, just ball it up and try again but be warned that it won’t be as puffed out feeling this time around.
Top the pizza with your favorite sauce and toppings (banana peppers are delicious). Sprinkle a little sea salt and herbs on the crust and pop into a pre-heated 500-550 degree oven, hopefully on a pizza stone, and cook for 6-7 minutes.
My pizza dough recipe is found here.