Pizza. Fresh. Crispy. Chewy. Cheesy. Make pizza like a pro in your own kitchen. You don’t need a lot of ingredients, just some basics like flour, yeast, cheese, basil and tomatoes. Experience why this vegetarian pizza is a beloved classic even among the most avid carnivores.
You’re going to love this crust. It’s perfect. And you just need to follow a few steps to achieve this perfection. If you don’t have a pizza stone, now is the time to get one. Therein lies the secret to sealing in the moisture of the dough while creating a perfectly crispy outer layer.
Roll up your sleeves, pull out the rolling pin, and let’s get baking!
And while you’re preparing this Pizza Margherita, think about what other kinds of pizza you love most and share your thoughts with the rest of us!
Carefully follow the directions in this recipe and you’ll be soon be popping this beauty into the oven and pulling out a magnificent finished work of art!
- For the crust:
- 5 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
- 2¼ cups warm water (about 110 F)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 5 cups bread flour
- ¾ tablespoon salt
- Semolina flour
- For the Topping:
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (vegans: use vegan substitute such as Parma Zaan Sprinkles or Galaxy Foods Vegan Parmesan)
- 1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 2 lbs tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼ in. thick (vegans: use vegan substitute such as Mozzarella Style Shreds from Trader Joe’s or Daiya, or Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- To make the crust, pour the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and dissolve the yeast in it. Let it stand for 5 minutes until foamy. Add the sugar, oil, flour and salt. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and knead on low speed for 8-10 minutes, until soft and elastic. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add more flour (up to one cup if necessary) until the dough pulls away from the sides.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it has doubled in size, about 1½ – 2 hours.
- Place the pizza stone on a oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 F for 30 minutes before baking. It is key that the pizza stone is very hot in order to ensure a perfect crust.
- Place the risen dough on a lightly oiled work surface. Cut it in half and gently shape each half into a loose ball. Cover the balls loosely with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Lightly sprinkle one of the balls with all-purpose flour and roll it out into a 12-14 inch round. If you have a baker’s peel, use it for the following step. If not, use an inverted baking sheet: Turn a half-sheet baking pan upside down (flat surface with no ledges) and spread ¼ cup of semolina flour on it. Carefully transfer the pizza dough on top of the semolina flour on the baking pan.
- Next add the toppings: Evenly sprinkle ½ cup of the Parmesan over the pizza crust. Then sprinkle ½ cup of the basil. Evenly scatter the diced tomatoes over the surface and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place half of the mozzarella slices around the tomatoes and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the pizza.
- Carefully pull the oven rack out to expose the pizza stone and slide the pizza off the inverted baking pan onto the hot stone. Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and light brown. Using a large spatula or baker’s peel, carefully transfer the pizza to a cutting board and close the oven with the pizza stone in it while you’re preparing the second pizza. Repeat directions.
- Cut the pizza into wedges and serve hot.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma.