New York Style Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
In a large bowl, mix water with sugar and salt until dissolved. Add oil and flour. Stir with heavy spoon for 1 minute. Turn out to a floured board and press into a circle (it will be quite dry). Sprinkle yeast evenly over dough and knead for twelve minutes. Divide dough into portions: 6 oz. for Calzones, 10 oz. for 9″, 18 oz. for 12″, 25 oz. for 15″. Shape each portion by sliding your palms across the top portion of dough while curving your fingers inward toward each other and “tucking” the dough into the center. You want a dough ball without visible seams except the bottom.
Set formed dough balls on plate, cover with plastic, and allow to rise for 1-2 hours at room temperature to use the same day, or store in refrigerator to use the next day. To stretch dough, place dough ball on lightly floured surface, and lightly flour the top. Use fingertips to evenly flatten out the dough ball. Work from the edges to the center. Place both hands within the shell edge and stretch with fingertips and palms maintaining an even pressure. Or, use a lightly floured rolling pin to stretch to desired shape.
Cooking pizzas with this dough should be done on a baking stone. Using a pan will produce a very soft “doughy” crust. The stone in the oven should be preheated to 500ºF for an hour prior to baking, and should be placed in the middle of the oven. After stretching the dough, liberally sprinkle cornmeal or semolina on pizza peel (a wooden paddle with a handle to slide the pizza in the oven) or a cutting board. The cornmeal allows the pizza to slide onto the stone easily.
After topping the pizza, when you are ready to cook it, pick up an edge of the dough and lightly blow air underneath. This will loosen any sticky areas under the dough and redistribute the cornmeal. Shake the peel or cutting board to make sure none of the dough is sticking. Carefully slide the pizza into the oven. NOTES : This recipe makes about 34 oz.. Adjust ingredient amounts for your purposes.