Basic Pizza Dough

Try making this dough the night before to save some time; double the recipe and freeze half to have on hand for another meal. All-purpose flour produces a light crust, and bread flour gives it a chewy texture.

Prep: 40 minutes plus rising Bake: 15 minutes
1,1⁄4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
about 4 cups all-purpose flour
or 3,1⁄2 cups bread flour
cornmeal for sprinkling
1. In large bowl, combine 1⁄4 cup warm water, yeast, and sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. With wooden spoon, stir in remaining 1 cup warm water, oil, salt, and 1,1⁄2 cups flour until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups all-purpose flour or 1,1⁄2 cups bread flour, stirring until dough leaves side of bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in enough of remaining 1⁄2 cup flour just to keep dough from sticking.
3. Shape dough into ball; place in greased large bowl, turning dough to grease top. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place (80° to 85°F) until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Punch down dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and cut in half; cover and let rest 15 minutes. Or, if not using right away, place dough in greased large bowl, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
5. Sprinkle two large cookie sheets with cornmeal. Shape each dough half into ball. On one prepared cookie sheet, with floured rolling pin, roll one ball into 14" by 10" rectangle. Fold edges in to form 1-inch rim. Repeat to make second pizza. Makes enough dough for 2 large pizzas, 4 main-dish servings each.

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