I've tried a dozen or so different crust recipes and I've finally settled on this recipe and method as my go-to crust. It's ridiculously easy and convenient because there's no kneading step and I pre-bake the crusts so I've always got some in the freezer to thaw, top and bake. It's also incredibly good because the extra rise time allows the flavors to mingle and mellow. Most recipes say you can bake the crust after a 2-3 hour rise, but then it will end up tasting yeasty, which many folks find undesirable. This crust also bakes up extra crispy on the outside because of the high water to flour ratio.
Step 1: Prepare the dough
1 1/2 cups slightly warm water
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil (preferably EV)
3 cups all purpose flour
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl in the above order (keep in mind they'll need room to rise). Mix until they are all combined. Cover with plastic wrap and cut a few small slits with a knife to let it breath, or cover with a wet kitchen towel. Then let it sit at room temp for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours. I usually mix it the night before baking, then transfer it to the refrigerator after 12 hours and let it sit for another 12 hours in the fridge. After the rise it should look like it does in the photo.
Substitute 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour for some other flour such as whole wheat, semolina or fine corn meal. These will add flavor, color or texture. For the batch in the photos, I substituted whole wheat flour.