We are making my basic pizza dough, which is the base for my classic cheese pizza, margherita, white pie and more. When adding the water to the yeast, use a thermometer to make sure your water is the right temperature. The water will bring the yeast to life. When it comes to any type of yeast, fresh or dry, it is important to know: salt = bad. Wait to add the salt until the yeast is mixed with the flour.
Make the dough: Add 1/2 cup of the water to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the oil. Slowly add the flour and mix until the dough is elastic, about 6 minutes. Add the salt and mix until the dough forms a loose ball and completely separates from the sides of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes more. If the dough feels too dry, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is moist and springy.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, folding the dough over itself. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic and let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
Once proofed, punch down the dough on a floured surface so it releases air before kneading it and forming it into three 6-ounce portions. You want to roll the dough and shape it into smooth balls.
Place each of the 3 dough balls on a plate or baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature until soft, about 2 hours. The dough will naturally start to puff up and proof again for the last time. (At this point, you can also wrap the dough balls in plastic and freeze them for a future use.)
(Alternatively, you can put the plates in the refrigerator for 36 hours and up to 2 days. This is called a “cold ferment” and will add great depth of flavor in your dough, as that yeast has plenty of time to do its “gassy” thing! Remove the dough from fridge and let it sit out at least 2 hours to bring back to room temperature before using.)
Shape, top and enjoy!
You can freeze the extra dough balls and thaw at room temperature.
I personally prefer to use Sicilian grey salt in my pizza dough: It has a high mineral content which helps with the development and depth of flavors.