My sister Stephanie introduced me to this recipe for pizza dough and I will love her forever for it. This is by far the best pizza dough recipe that I have ever tried for a traditional pizza. This pizza dough really is the best ever!
4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, chilled
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting
Combine all the ingredients. Mix by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead for 5-7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough with be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and mist it with cooking spray. Divide the dough into four to six equal parts. Using a little flour if the dough is very sticky, gently shape each piece into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Mist the dough with oil or cooking spray and then cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least one day or up to three days.
Remove the dough 2 hours before you plan on baking. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough ball on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap. Now let rest for two hours.
At least 45 minutes before baking the pizza, place a baking stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible (500-550 degrees in most ovens). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.
With your hand or a rolling pin, shape one of the portioned dough pieces to the desired size and thickness. Place on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet. Top with desired toppings (less is more) and slide the pizza onto the baking stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Bake until crust is lightly golden and cheese is melted and bubbly.
*After my dough has rested at room temperature, it is too soft to shape with my hands. To shape my pizza dough, I carefully (or as careful as I can be) move a piece of dough to the back of a flour/cornmeal dusted baking sheet and stretch and shape the dough with my fingers while it is on the baking sheet. I do use a baking stone and I very quickly slide my pizza from my make shift pizza peel (an upside down baking sheet) to the pizza stone.
Slightly shortened from 101 Cookbooks