BASIC PIZZA AND CALZONE DOUGH
(makes 2 12-inch pizzas or 2 calzones)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (2 1/4teaspoons) yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water (120º-130ºF)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In medium mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast and salt; mix well. Add warm water (120-130ºF) and oil. With spoon, mix until almost smooth. The dough will be the consistency of a pancake batter. Gradually stir in remaining flour to make a firm dough. Turn out on lightly floured board and knead 2 to 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Pizza/Calzone dough requires less kneading time than other bread dough.
Let rest 15 minutes.
Divide dough into 2 parts. The crust can be shaped right in the pan. Place one section of dough in the center of a greased 12- or 14-inch pizza pan or 9- x 12-inch baking pan. With well-floured or greased fingers, working from the center out, push the dough toward the outside edge of the pan. If the dough doesn’t stretch easily, let it rest a couple of minutes and then press it out some more. You may have to repeat this a couple of timeS. If any holes or tears appear, repair by pinching dough together. Complete with your favorite toppings. Bake at 425ºF for 25 to 30 minutes until edge is crisp and light golden brown and cheeses are melted. Serve immediately.
BAKING TIP: You can par-bake the crust to 10 minutes at 400ºF to save for toppings and further baking later. Be sure to generously prick the crust with a fork so that it doesn’t bubble too much while baking.