This recipe, from The Tightwad Gazette II by Amy Dacyczyn, is one of those that should have "Don't Panic" written on it in large, friendly letters. You think, "ack, all that rising, it takes too long" or "I can't make pizza dough, it's too hard," but trust me, it isn't. Even with the kids "helping," you can have it in the oven in about 20 minutes. This version is especially handy because even if you mess up a few steps, it still turns out delicious -- the first time I made it, I forgot the sugar, and the telephone rang so often that afternoon that the dough had a much longer rise than called for, but it still had a wonderful crunchy-chewy texture with that unmistakeable freshly-made bread flavor.
I use a small-bowl processor instead of a full-sized one and this recipe works fine, although I have to be especially careful not to spill when putting in the flour. Do be sure to rinse out the bowl and blade as soon as possible, as the bits left in it can dry quite hard very quickly.
For our favorite topping -- so far! -- we use fresh broccoli florets finely chopped and mixed with a ready-made spaghetti sauce, with an Italian cheese blend and pepperoni on top. We are still, I confess, a bit dubious about the so-called joys of broccoli, so mixing it in with the tomato sauce gets us all of those green nutrients and anti-oxidants without the dreariness.
Quick Pizza Crust
1/2 to 3/4 cups warm water (105 to 115° F.)
1 tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast, at room temperature
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine 1/4 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast, and let it stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
Place the flour, oil, and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and process for about 5 seconds. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, and process about 10 seconds, or until blended.
With the processor running, drizzle just enough of the remaining warm water through the feed tube so that the dough forms itself into a ball (it will clean off the sides of the bowl as it spins). Process about 25 seconds.
Place the dough on a greased 14-inch pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Cover with an upturned bowl, and let stand 10 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Pat out the dough so that it covers the pan and is of a fairly even thickness, leaving a ridge on the edges. Spread with your pizza sauce of choice, and add cheese and toppings.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
Makes 1 pizza. Total preparation time, about 45 minutes.