August 2, 2013

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Pizza is like the entire food pyramid! ~Madeline Oles

Have I told you that my hubby loves Italian food. Not just "love-love" but rather "head over heels" in love with Italian food! He requested to have pizza day last week (Saturday and Sunday). And because he likes thin crust, I googled the best thin crust pizza dough. I have to say that this pizza crust is by far the best.  It is so easy to make, crispy, and taste wonderful. Try it and you'll be amazed!

Makes two 10-inch pizzas, adapted from The Kitchn 
(I just tweaked the recipe a bit)

  3/4 cup (6oz) luke warm water
1 tsp active-dry or instant yeast
2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T white sugar (optional)
*favorite sauce and toppings 

*Toppings and sauce for my pizza:
anchovies, mashed toasted garlic, baby arugula, alfalfa sprouts, salsa, tomato, mushroom, white onion, parsley, homemade ricotta cheese, blue cheese, quick melt cheese, olive oil

bacon, luncheon meat, pineapple, basil, tomato, white onion, parsley, homemade tomato sauce, quick melt cheese

1. Set the oven to 500°F or 260°C or as hot as it will go and let it heat for at least a half an hour before making the pizza. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the lower-middle part of the oven now.
2. Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl, and stir to dissolve the yeast. The mixture should look like thin miso soup. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix until you've formed a shaggy dough. 
3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface along with any loose flour still in the bowl. Knead until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it's sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it is smooth.
4. If you have time at this point, you can let the dough rise until you need it or until doubled in bulk (about an hour and a half). After rising, you can use the dough or refrigerate it for up to three days.
5. Cover the dough with the upside-down mixing bowl or a clean kitchen towel while you prepare the pizza toppings.
6. When ready to make the pizza, tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Divide the dough in two with a bench scraper. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk with your hands and lay it on the parchment paper.
7. Work from the middle of the dough outwards, using the heel of your hand to gently press and stretch the dough until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. For an extra-thin crust, roll it with a rolling pin. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for five minutes and then continue rolling.
8. The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out, and the pizza is baked while still on the parchment. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out midway through cooking.
9. Thoroughly prick the middle part of the dough using a fork. This is to help control blistering and bubble formation during baking.
10. Pre-cook the pizza dough for approximately 5 minutes before adding the toppings and sauce. If you see any large pockets, pop it with a fork. Let the crust cool before adding the toppings.
10. Spoon a few tablespoon of your favorite sauce and add toppings in your pizza dough. Bake for 8-13 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese looks toasty. 

1. If you do not have parchment paper, just grease generously the baking pan before putting the pizza dough.
2. If you prepare the dough in advance and plan to store it in the refrigerator, you have to punch down the dough (do this after step#4) to release some air and then form it into ball. Note that the dough will still rise during refrigeration, this is what you call cold rise. Don't worry, they say that cold fermentation can make your dough more flavorful.
3. You may also use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour.
4. Put some fresh herbs like parsley in your dough for added flavor.
5. If you're using fresh herbs like basil or veggies like alfalfa and arugula, I suggest to put it after baking or before serving.

Happy day always,


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