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Pizza Crust Rising

ingredients

  • 1¾ cups warm water
  • ½ cup corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups unbleached bread flour*
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil*You can also use a blend of 2½ unbleached bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat bread flour.

directions

  • Proof the yeast in ½ cup of warm water with a pinch of sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, add the oil to the remaining warm water.
  • Blend the flour, salt and corn meal in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the water/oil mixture and the proofed yeast to the dry ingredients.
  • Blend mixture with a spatula until you have a shaggy mass.
  • Knead the dough by hand on a floured counter or in your mixer with a dough hook for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Lightly oil the interior of a bowl large enough for the dough to double in size.
  • Put the dough into the oiled bowl and turn it to oil all sides.
  • Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1-2 hours.
  • When the dough has completed the first rise, punch it down.
  • Turn onto a floured counter surface.
  • Cut the dough into 4 or 5 equal pieces and give each a quick knead by hand.
  • Shape the pieces into balls and arrange on a cookie sheet for the second rise.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel. The second rise should take about 1 hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 500̊ F and let run for about 1 hour to ensure the oven is hot.
  • When the second rise is complete, roll the pizza out on a floured surface, turning the dough frequently and dusting with flour.
  • Prepare the baking pan by greasing it and then sprinkling it with a bit of corn meal.
  • Transfer your crust to the baking sheet and you are ready for toppings.
  • Put the pizza into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and slide it onto a large cutting board. Allow the pizza to firm up for a few minutes and then slice and serve.

If you do not need all 4 or 5 crusts, they can be frozen. Take a plastic bag and oil the inside with a splash of oil. Put in a ball of dough, wiggle it around until the ball is well oiled. Store in the freezer. When you want to use it you can defrost it in the fridge overnight.