1/2 cup warm water (110° F)
1 envelope yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
1 1/4 cup water @ room temp
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour (I used all purpose flour, half white and half wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Proof the yeast in 1/2 cup water, should take 5 -10 minutes. Add room temp water and oil and stir to combine. Combine salt and half flour in a deep bowl. Add liquid ingredients and combine. Add the remains of the flour, stirring untill a cohesive mass forms. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 - 8 minutes. Use as little dusting flour as possible. Form dough into a ball and put into a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at least 10 minutes but no more than 30.
Pre-heat oven to 475° F. Turn the dough back out on a lightly floured surface. This particular dough makes either 2 extra large pizzas, 3 large, or 4 medium sized. Punch the dough down and cut it into even amounts. Take a section and fold it under into a tight ball and set to the side. Get pizza pan and sprinkle corn meal on it (this keeps the dough from sticking). Form a pizza shape out of one of the dough balls and place it on the pan. Add toppings and place in the oven till golden brown, approx. 6-12 minutes. Let cool before you eat, as most people don't enjoy burning their tongues on great food (it makes the taste buds not work properly when you do that)!
I find for toppings, whatever you have is great to put on pizza. You can do a variety of things including the sauce. Tomato based sauce is usually what I do, but I have been know to deviate from the norm and do a creamy garlic sauce, an Alfredo sauce, ranch sauce, pesto or just cheese and no sauce for the base of the toppings. Now this is where you can really make your pizza healthy or not so healthy :). I used mushrooms, red onions, green bell peppers, and cheddar cheese with a tomato based sauce (jar of spaghetti sauce works just fine, but making your own sauce is better) on this pizza.
It takes a few times before one gets good at making a pizza, and I'm still working at it. The hubby tells me almost every time, "This is the best one yet!" which to me means I'm getting better. The little one eats his pretty quickly, but I almost always make a pepperoni one for him and just add other stuff on it, if it's something he doesn't want to eat (mushrooms seem to be the biggest problem) I can always pull them off and eat them myself!
** I need to add a correction for those who make the 2 extra large pizzas (my mother informed me that hers took longer) cook 15-20 minutes instead of the 6-12 minutes as stated above. Watch it and make sure the crust is golden brown**