Someone once posted a comment on this blog along the lines of "oh Kitchen Aid mixer, do your wonders ever cease"? The answer is no, they don't!
If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer already (or another mixer with a bread hook), you MUST try the pizza dough recipe below. It's beyond easy and very delicious. I took it from the cookbook that came with my mixer years ago.
1 cup of hot/warm water
1 package of instant yeast (I buy it in bulk, and 1 pkg = 2 & 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of olive oil
2.5-3.5 cups of flour (2 & 3/4 cup is perfect for my climate)
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, add other ingredients, and mix for 2-5 min on "stir" or "1" on the Kitchen Aid. After it's in a nice little dough ball, drizzle olive oil around the edges of the mixing bowl, and coat all sides of the dough with the oil. The olive oil is pretty important - when I've used cooking spray the dough never turns out as good. And cooking spray is also pretty disgusting.
Cover with a warm wet towel, and allow to rise until doubled. For thin crust, give it a 30 min rise. Cover a pizza pan with cornmeal (have had horrible luck using flour), and roll, or pat to resemble a pizza.
Bake at 450 for 15-21 minutes (check often after 15 min).
I like to put the bowl in the oven for a few minutes while it's heating up. Warm dough is much easier to work with in my experience.
You can also freeze the dough after mixing, and allow it to thaw and rise in the fridge overnight. Put it in a very large container as it expands and has been known to punch out a gallon Ziploc in the past!
This is also great for breadsticks! Roll it out on a cornmeal covered cookiesheet pretty thin, and bake for about 8 minutes. Mix minced garlic, parsley, and a little basil with a pat of melted butter and brush over the baked bread. Put back in the oven until it's reach your desired level of "doneness". When it's done, I like to sprinkle a little parm on top. Serve with a side of marinara.