Homemade pizza dough:
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water – about 100 degrees is perfect
1 tbsp. granulated yeast
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
7 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
(this amount will provide about 3-4 medium pizzas)
In a six quart bowl, mix the warm water with the yeast and salt. Using warm water allows the dough to rise quickly and to the right height.
Next, measure and mix in the flour. Use the “scoop and sweep” method. This is done by reaching into the flour container with a cup and scooping up a full measure all at once sweeping the top of the cup level with a knife. Mix in the flour with a wooden spoon. Do not knead the dough!
Allow the Dough to Rise. Cover the dough with a light weight dish towel or piece of wax paper. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it begins to flatten on the top (approximately 2 hours, depending on the room’s temperature). Do not punch down the dough, do not play with it. With this method, you are trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible and punching it down knocks out gas. The gas allows bubbles to remain which create a light and crispy crust.
Refrigerate. After the dough has risen, refrigerate it overnight or at least 3 hours and use it over the next several days or have a pizza marathon all in one day/weekend. Remember, fully refrigerated dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature.
Preheat a Baking Stone. 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake, place your baking stone in the bottom third of the oven and preheat it to the oven’s highest temperature. If you do not have baking stone, you can use a perforated pizza pan or even a cast iron skillet.
Shape a Ball. If you don’t have a stone, prepare a pizza pan or skillet with flour, cornmeal or use a sheet of baking paper to prevent your pizza from sticking to the pan or skillet (not necessary if you use a stone). Take what you need from the refrigerated dough; for one medium pizza ...about a grapefruit size amount which you can obtain by pulling and or cutting the dough using a serrated knife. Add a little more flour to the dough to shape into a ball and thus, it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the dough pushing it around to conform to the pan or skillet.
The same can be done if using a stone, it won’t be perfectly round but that is not the point. The point is to retain dough quality in order to achieve a nearly perfect crust. Keep in mind, the less you handle the dough, the better taste and texture.
Add the Toppings...even plums!
Bake at 425F until bubbling and brown on top.