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I have always been a pizza lover. For the longest time, it was my meal of choice and I would have it as often as I could. When I was looking at colleges, I would always try their pizza. You can always judge a place by its pizza, right? ;)

This dough is delicious, and very versatile. You can of course use it to make pizza, but it can be used for breadsticks, calzones, pizza rolls, or anything you can imagine with pizza dough! And this dough freezes wonderfully. By always having some on hand, you can make pizza any time the craving hits (which for me, is quite often)! Pick and choose your toppings and make a pizza that you really want, without the hassle of going out.

I would highly recommend a pizza stone for baking your pizza. I don’t have one myself, but it’s on my wish list! With pizza and any bread you bake at home, the stone will help make a nice crunchy bottom crust while keeping the inside tender and soft.Pizza Dough
Yield: enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones

½ cup warm water
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1¼ cup water, at room temperature

Measure the warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the top; let sit for about 5 minute or until the yeast dissolves and swells. Slowly stir in the olive oil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour, salt, and garlic powder, mixing briefly to blend. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water-oil mixture. Slowly add the room temperature water, reserving about ¼ cup of water. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed, adding the reserved water as needed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.

If freezing, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a Ziploc bag and freeze immediately. To use the dough, pull it to defrost the night before or that morning. Proceed with the baking instructions.

To bake the pizza, preheat the oven 500 degrees F. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats for at least 30 minutes.

Before shaping the dough, let it relax at room temperature for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes. Lightly sprinkle parchment paper or a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. For a little garlic flavor, add some granulated garlic to the cornmeal or flour. Transfer the dough to your prepared surface, and shape the dough to your desired size with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and Annie’s Eats, who adapted it from Baking Illustrated

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