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The Best Pizza Dough

After traveling to Italy back in 2009 and having *REAL* Italian pizza, we were ruined forever.  Our pizza standards were immediately raised, and once home, we knew we had to try and recreate the pure pizza perfection we experienced in Italy.

At almost every restaurant we went to, Pizza Quattro Stagioni (or Four Seasons Pizza), was on the menu.  This type of pizza has 4 distinct quadrants - traditionally prosciutto, artichoke hearts, olives and mushrooms.  Each section symbolizes the four seasons of the year.  We tried it once and fell in love, so we kept ordering it every chance we got.  

Ever since, that has been our favorite to make at home (and a good ole' Pepperoni Pizza has now been added to our pizza nights for the little one).  Instead of separating the ingredients into sections, I cheat a little and spread each of the four ingredients over the entire pizza.  I love the flavor combinations and having them all in each bite is just so scrumptious.

However, a pizza is only as good as it's crust, so a delicious pizza dough is vital!  This recipe is my absolute favorite, and I wouldn't make it any other way.  The honey is the secret ingredient here, so don't leave that out.  It's super subtle, so you won't end up with an overly sweet crust.

The Best Pizza Dough

1 1/4 cups warm water (100 - 110 degrees F)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting

Pour the warm water into a small bowl.  Stir in the honey and yeast.  Set aside to proof for about 10 minutes, or until nice and foamy on top.

Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low for a few seconds to combine. 

With the mixer on low speed, add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the bowl.  Continue to mix until the dough forms a mass on the paddle and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.  If the dough is still too wet after 4 minutes, slowly add up to 1/2 cup additional flour, as needed.

Remove the dough to a floured surface and dust the top of the dough with a sprinkling of flour.  Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes and form into a smooth ball.  Cut the dough into two equal portions (or 3 equal portions, if you'd rather smaller, personal size pizzas).

Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel (flour sack towels are great for this!).  Let rise for 30 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (or if you're feeling sassy, toss the dough in the air to get it ready).  Transfer it to a pizza pan or a large baking sheet that's been sprinkled with coarse cornmeal.  

Add your favorite sauce and toppings.  Brush the outer crust of your pizza with olive oil.

Transfer the pan to the oven (or slide your pizza onto a hot pizza stone).  Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.  Enjoy! 

**Note - If adding ingredients like artichoke hearts and canned/sliced olives, be sure and squeeze out all of the extra liquid and juices before adding to the pizza.  If you don't, you'll end up with a soggy pizza, and no one likes soggy pizza!

Nice and foamy yeast after a quick 10 minute proof

Little hands kneading dough are the sweetest

She's my favorite

After rising

She was so proud of her pizza that she made all by herself!

Always put the prosciutto on gets crispy as the pizza bakes and OH SO GOOD!


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