Here are my top choices for the easiest doughs for a beginning pizza maker to make, together with the reasons for my selections:
1) Buzz’s basic deep-dish dough recipe
2) Randy’s American style dough recipe
3) Pftaylor’s Raquel dough recipe
I like Buzz’s basic deep-dish dough recipe for several reasons: 1) It uses all-purpose flour, which is available just about everywhere; 2) the dough can be mixed and kneaded entirely by hand, within a total of no more than 2 minutes; 3) the dough can be used the same day, typically after an 8-hour room temperature fermentation--although it will tolerate refrigeration if desired; and 4) only a standard deep-dish or cake pan is required to bake the pizza, without a need for a pizza stone, tiles, etc.—only a standard preheated home oven. Buzz’s recipe can be found at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1712.0.html
. I made a pizza based on this recipe recently, and described my results and posted photos at Reply # 31 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1585.20.html
. I still haven’t gotten the baker’s percents right yet, but the dough is a very forgiving one and difficult to harm. The crust and pizza will be first rate.
If you would prefer an alternative deep-dish recipe, one including cornmeal, I highly recommend DKM’s recipe at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dkm_chicago.php
. This recipe also uses all-purpose flour. However, you will need a stand mixer for best results—which are excellent. The dough and pizza are easy to make. If you need help with ingredient quantities for either Buzz’s or DKM’s recipe for a particular pan size (diameter) and pan depth, send me a private message and I should be able to help you.
I chose Randy’s American style dough because it is also a very easy one to make and because it produces a high quality dough and pizza. For best results, it is best to use a high-gluten flour, although a bread flour will also work (some members have even made it with all-purpose flour). Ordinary sugar can be substituted for the raw sugar called for in the recipe (it is used mainly for better flavor). The dough making procedures are straightforward and easy to follow, although you will need a mixer for best results. Randy’s basic recipe will produce one very thick 16-inch pizza or two thick 12-inch pizzas. One variation of Randy’s recipe, using bread flour, can be found at Reply # 19 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1698.0.html
. I have described his basic recipe in a thread I started to develop thinner versions of Randy’s dough. If that interests you, you may want to go to http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1707.0.html
. If you dress the pizza as I describe in the first post in that thread, including using the pineapple, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Another plus for Randy's recipe is that the dough can be baked entirely on a pizza screen in a preheated oven. This is a benefit during the warm months since it means not having to preheat a pizza stone or tiles (which can also be used) for an hour or more at very high oven temperatures. Tim Eggers apparently agrees with the Randy recipe choice since his recent pizzas are based on Randy’s recipe.
My third choice is pftaylor’s Raquel dough recipe. I have selected this one since it produces one of the finest handling doughs that I have ever made and is instructive to the beginning pizza maker on what a really good dough should look and feel like. However, I will warn you that you should follow the Raquel recipe exactly and not freelance by substituting ingredients or do things to save time or for any other reason. The Raquel dough does especially well when leavened by a starter (preferment). However, there is a version that uses only instant dry yeast (IDY). You will need high-gluten flour for this recipe, and you will need a stand mixer. The basic recipe and instructions can be found at Reply # 24 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1258.20.html
. The Raquel recipe is exemplary of the NY "elite" style, as popularized by Patsy's in Harlem and other like pizza establishments in and around NYC. If you prefer the NY street style, I can lead you to some recipes for that style.
I think I have given you enough links to recipes and recipe-paths to keep you off of the streets for a while. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get perfect results the first time out of the blocks. It takes time and practice, just like anything else in life that is worth doing. I would like to suggest, however, that you get a good digital scale if you do not already have one, to weigh the flour and water called for in the recipes. This will spare you a lot of trial and error and help you achieve consistent, reproducible results.