Because I’m just that nice, let me let you all in on a pizza-dough-making secret I seem to have just figured out, despite having made my own pizza dough for going on two years now. Scratch that — before last week, I thought I was making pizza dough, but it turns out I was making something that was related to pizza dough only via two marriages and three step-cousins. What did I learn? That when nearly every recipe tells you to slowly add your yeast/water mix to your flour, they’re all smoking crack — the key appears to be the exact opposite, slowly adding the flour to the water. Making that one change has led to two of the best pizza crusts I’ve ever made.

So, my standard (honey wheat) pizza dough recipe now stands as:

I start off by putting the honey in the bottom of a bowl that’s big enough to eventually hold all the ingredients, and then I add the water and stir it around a little bit to dissolve all the honey. I then slowly sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquid, stirring it in a little bit with a fork as I sprinkle. I set this aside and set a timer for 10 minutes, glancing over every now and then to make sure that a frothy layer is forming atop the liquid (showing that the yeast is doing its thing). While that’s going on, I measure my flour out into a smaller bowl and mix it up a bit so that the wheat and white is distributed throughout. (Remember to measure your flour correctly!)

Once the 10 minutes is up, I add my salt to the yeast/honey/water mixture, and then start slowly adding in flour. I begin by adding just a little bit and stirring the mixture around with the fork; after the flour is stirred in, I add a bit more, stir a bit more, and continue that process until the mixture approximates the consistency of pancake batter. (At this point, I’ve used around 2/3 of the flour.) I keep adding the flour slowly, but at this point it takes a little bit of care to make sure that each time I add any flour it gets mixed in as well as possible, a process ends up taking another minute or two before I’m done. At the end of it all, I’m left with the result that eluded me these past two years, a dough ball that’s soft and stretchy throughout, easily kneadable, and soft as the proverbial baby’s bottom.

Finally, I hand-knead the ball of dough for 15 minutes, put it into an olive oil-coated bowl, and cover it with a damp cloth to rise for an hour or so. (If I have time, I punch it down and let it rise another 30-45 minutes, although I’m not convinced that this changes things a lot.) At the end, I cut the dough ball in half, freeze one part of it, and make pizza with the other! (Just to complete the recipe, I make all my pizzas with fresh mozzarella, and I swear by Rebecca’s no-cook pizza sauce.)

As I said, I’ve been extremely happy with this recipe, so much so that I wonder if some trick was being played with me for the past two years’ worth of subpar pizza dough. From start of ingredient prep to the end of kneading, it takes me just around 30 minutes; I’m hopeful that now that I have it perfected, I’ll continue to put the time in even after the baby comes in March!