In a glass measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast over the 105° water and gently stir. Add the sugar and allow to set until the yeast is bubbly up to five minutes. For more information on yeast and making pizza dough, visit my Homemade Pizza Dough recipe.
Pour the bubbly yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the yeast in the following order: 4 cups of flour, olive oil, and salt. Don't let the salt come into contact directly with the yeast or your dough may not rise.
With the mixer on low, combine all the ingredients together and once blended, switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Knead the dough for five minutes, adding the remaining flour as needed by the tablespoon as the dough will be quite wet.
Once the dough forms a nice ball and isn't too wet, remove it from the mixing bowl to another mixing bowl that has been drizzle with olive-oil and gently wiped with a paper towel. Turn the dough over once in the bowl. Cover the whole bowl with plastic wrap and then a clean dish towel and place the whole bowl in a cold oven on the lowest rack. Allow to rise for at least 1½ hours or up to 3 hours if you have time until the dough more than doubles in size.
For the sauce
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
The second rise
Oil a half sheet pan (approx 13"x18" with a good drizzle of olive oil. Set aside
Slide the dough into the center of the oiled baking sheet pushing the dough to the edges. If it's fighting you, let it rest for a few minutes and it'll eventually give in. Create a nice rimmed crust.
Spoon about ½ of the pizza sauce over the dough leaving about ½" rim around the edges.
Cover the whole pan with plastic wrap and place back into the oven for 45 minutes for the second rise.
Assembling the pizza
Remove the pizza from the oven and preheat the oven to 450°. Place a rack in them center of the oven.
Layer on the pizza toppings in the following order: the hand-torn fresh mozzarella, the pepperoni, almost all of the remaining sauce, the grated mozzarella, and the remaining sauce spooned into pockets on the pizza. Drizzle with a little olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes until the center is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes if you can wait. Just trying to spare you from any burned tongues!
For the water: I use tap water and run it until a thermometer tells me it's 105˚. If you do it enough, you won't need the thermometer anymore.Can I use store bought pizza dough? Yes! You can use store bought dough. Just use a smaller sheet pan because odds are it’ll be too small to fit in the half sheet pan I am suggesting for the recipe.Pizza topping ideas:
Spicy soppressata, caramelized onions and the cheese trio blend used above
Italian sausage and black olives
Meat lover’s with sausage, pepperoni, pancetta, and Italian beef
Frozen chopped spinach mixed with a little ricotta, garlic and parmesan by the tablespoonful (a Lou Malanati's inspiration)
Make Ahead Notes
Let the dough rise for the first time
Refrigerate the dough right in the bowl until about an hour and 15 minutes before you plan to bake it.
Remove the dough from bowl that was in the fridge and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes.
Follow the directions for the second rise and on.
Storing, Freezing & ReheatingStore any leftovers for up to three days. Reheat on parchment lined baking sheet in a 350˚ preheated oven until bubbly.Freeze wrapped in parchment first and then foil and place the whole packet in a labeled and dated freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.To reheat from frozen, place in 425˚ oven and bake until bubbly about 15-20 minutes.