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I love making pizza from scratch. The smell of freshly baked dough always make me salivate in anticipation of the finished product, and I always end up eating the first slice too fast and burn the top of my mouth.

I’ve tried many different types of pizza dough: “no knead”ones that rises over two days in room temperature, ones that you leave overnight in the fridge, ones you use a “starter” dough with… Since I have not made these doughs back to back, I can’t say that I remember them being all that different. I have to say that the dough recipe I used here, from the Gourmet Today cookbook, was straight forward, uncomplicated, and yielded a crispy and delicious crust.

The dough is composed of 5 ingredients: yeast, flour, water, salt, and olive oil. First, 1 package of active dry yeast is stirred together with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1/4 cup of warm water. After about 5 minutes, the mixture should foam up.

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Stir together 11/4 cups of flour and 1.5 teaspoon of salt in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 1.5 teaspoon of olive oil, 1/2 cup of warm water, and the yeast mixture.

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Turn on the mixer and add up to 1/2 cup more flour gradually until the dough comes together and comes away from the side of the bowl.

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Turn the dough out from the mixing bowl onto a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth, about 10 minutes.

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Form the dough into a ball and place in a large, well oiled bowl, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. I like to put the unrisen dough into the oven with the oven light on, which will lend enough warmth for the dough to rise peacefully.

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While the dough rises, heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over low heat until hot, and add a few pieces of garlic.

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Cook the garlic pieces until golden, about 5 minutes, on low to moderate heat. Remove the garlic pieces and reserve the garlic oil. Once the dough rises, carefully remove the dough from the bowl without punching it down. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and if you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while its preheating.

Shape the dough by holding on one edge and letting the rest hang, allowing the weight of the dough to naturally pull down. Move your hands around the edge of the dough until it stretches to about 10 inches in diameter. This way your dough will retain more air and stay chewy. Lay the dough round on a floured, rimless, pizza or cookie sheet and brush with the reserved garlic oil.

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Sprinkle small pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese all over the oiled dough, leaving a 1 inch border.

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Season the pizza with salt and pepper, bake on the sheet, or slide on to the hot pizza stone if using, for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly and browned in spots.

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Sprinkle fresh baby arugula on top, cut into slices, and serve.

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