Thin Crust Pizza
There’s an unrecorded rule in our family. Our Main Cooking Adviser doesn’t informally declare pizza as a meal choice. Also, it cannot fully be supposed to be eating it within one hour. Pizza is one of those words that, once I hear it, I can’t un-hear it. Once it’s mentioned, I will instantly desire it. I won’t be pleased until I have a cheesy slice sitting in front of me. I love all types of pizza – deep dish, delivery, thin crust, thick crust, coal-fired, wood-fired, domestic… you get the image. I’ve been making my favorite basic pizza dough for years now (and love it), but I’ve required to offer a thin-crust version a try.
Though my regular dough recipe isn’t horribly thick it is absolutely much thinner. The amount of sauce used is minimal, as healthy, which lets the crust and the cheese and garnishes shine. My kind of pizza, for sure. I’ve been known to throw a “light on the sauce” in there when ordering a pizza. Our favorite pizza topping is pepperoni, but you could use anything you like, or just leave it normal cheese.
I specifically like this process. As you mix together the dough in less than 10 minutes, then put it in the freezer overnight. It can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days and you can make pizza with it easily. It also can make a plan of weeknight dinners. If you’re a fan of crispy, thin-crust pizza, you’ll absolutely want to give this recipe a try. Just don’t mention pizza to me, or I’ll need to come over for dinner.
There’s an unwritten rule in our house.
FOR THE DOUGH: 3 cups bread flour (plus more for work surface) 2 teaspoons
granulated sugar ½ teaspoon
instant (rapid-rise yeast) 1⅓ cups
ice water 1 tablespoon
vegetable oil (plus more for work surface) 1½ teaspoons
FOR THE SAUCE: 28 ounces can whole peeled tomatoes, drained 1 tablespoon
Extra-virgin olive oil: 1teaspoon
Red wine vinegar: 2 garlic cloves (minced) 1 teaspoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Ried oregano: ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
FOR THE TOPPINGS: ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 8 ounces’ mozzarella cheese
(shredded (about 2 cups shredded)
- Make the Dough: In a food processor, process the flour, sugar, and yeast for 2 seconds to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the water through the feed tube and process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains about 10 seconds. After that let dough rest in the food mainframe for 10 minutes.
- Add the oil and salt to the dough and process until the dough forms a satiny, sticky ball that clears the side of the work bowl, 30 to 60 seconds Eliminate the dough from the bowl as well as knead briefly on a lightly oiled surface until smooth, about 1 minute. Form the dough into a tight ball as well as place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours (the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days).
- Make the Sauce: Process all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Bake the Pizza: One hour before baking the pizza, adjust the oven rack to the second-highest position (the rack should be 4 to 5 inches below the broiler). Fixed a pizza pebble on the rack then increase the temperature of the oven up to 500 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Shape each half into a smooth, tight ball. Place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet, making sure they are at least three inches apart. Cover them loosely with a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside for 1 hour.
- Coat one ball of dough with flour and place on a well-floured surface. Using your fingertips, gently flatten the dough into an 8-inch disk, leaving an inch or so of outer edge thicker than the center. Using your hands, gently stretch into a 12-inch round, working along the edges and giving the dough quarter turns as you stretch it. Move the dough to a well-floured pizza peel so that you can stretch it into a 13- inch round.
- Spread ½ cup of the tomato sauce in a thin layer over the dough, then sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with pepperoni slices, if desired.
- Slide the pizza sensibly onto the pebble as well as bake until the crust is well browned after that the cheese is bubbly so that beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Next rotating the pizza halfway then again the baking time. Remove the pizza from the stone and place it on a wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat steps to shape and bake the second pizza.
Nutritional values are based on one serving
CALORIES: 640KCAL FAT: 24G SATURATED FAT: 13G
CHOLESTEROL: 55MG SODIUM: 2007MG POTASSIUM: 166MG
CARBOHYDRATES: 73G FIBER: 2G SUGAR: 3G PROTEIN: 29G
VITAMIN A: 490% VITAMIN C: 0.5% CALCIUM: 450% IRON: 1.4%
Back in high school, when you stopped by the pizzeria to order takeout, you probably didn’t even bother to sneak a peek behind the counter to see whether the pies emerging from the oven were cut into thin, crunchy triangles of thick rectangular slabs. The pizza was just pizza; thick crust, thin crust, who knew? Now that you’re grown and you’ve been exposed to the ongoing competition between thin- and thick-crust pizza fans, it befits you — a baker who is responsible for satisfying many different palates — to know how to bake both hearty thick-crust pizza and the best thin-crust pizza.
You can find a number of recipes for this pizza out there, including several right here on our site. But I’m not going to tell you a specific recipe for this popular pizza style (which might involve specialty flours or any special ingredients), rather I’ll show you some techniques on how you can change your own favorite pizza dough into this kind of pizza.
Let’s back up and look at toppings first. Once your crust is ready to roll, you don’t want to be fooling around with simmering sauce or grating cheese
The best thin-crust pizza: Start with a great sauce
There are varieties of good bottled spaghetti/pizza sauces out there, but I discovered a favorite homemade sauce recipe years ago and using it still: Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce. It’s simple yet magnificent: canned tomatoes, butter, salt, and an onion.
I do nip the recipe a bit by adding a tablespoon of sugar along with the salt, then stirring in 1/4 teaspoon baking soda at the end (to cut the sauce’s acidity). Also, rather than discard the stewed onion (as directed), I blend it right into the sauce with a stick blender; it adds extra body and flavor.
The result? A generous 3 cups of sauce, enough for many kinds of this pizzas and a batch of spaghetti as well.
Make your own cheese blend
I’ve found that if you grate the cheese yourself, it melts way better than the typical pre-grated bagged cheese you buy at the supermarket. Also, who’s to say the “Italian Blend” you buy is exactly what you like?
My favorite pizza cheese blend is equal parts sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and provolone (smoked, if available). I buy a stick of cheddar, then chunks of provolone and mozzarella from the deli; throw them in my food processor, and there you have it: freshly grated pizza cheese, just the way you like it.
Thinly slice (or finely chop) toppings
Rather than use an avalanche of chunky, heavy toppings, I like to take the minimalist approach: If vegetables or meats are the toppings for my pizza, I make them extremely thin.
My simple plastic mandoline shaves onions, tomatoes, and peppers into near-translucent pieces. If I’m adding meat, I prefer ultra-thin sliced salami or prosciutto.
Skip the dough’s first rise for the best thin-crust pizza.
Your regular pizza dough is a full complement of yeast, and there’s (almost) no way you’re going to prevent your crust from rising vigorously (and becoming thick) once it hits the oven. So for thin crust, it’s best to dial down the yeast’s activity.
You might think of reducing the yeast in your recipe. But I like to use the called-for amount of yeast but take the dough directly from kneading to shaping, with no rise in between.
You can find various recipes for this pizza out there, it is also included several right here on our site. But rather than send you to a specific recipe for this popular pizza style (which might involve specialty flours or other out-of-the-ordinary ingredients), I’ll show you some techniques for taking your own favorite pizza dough and turning it into this pizza.
Let’s back up and look at toppings first. Once your crust is ready to roll, you don’t want to be fooling around with simmering sauce or grating cheese
Add a flavor: the method I
Does it matter what a thin crust tastes like? I mean, there’s hardly anything to it. Surprisingly, I’ve read a number of reviews of thin-crust pizza recipes that complain about the crust tasting “flat” or “like cardboard.” This is because yeast dough develops flavor over time, as the yeast grows; cut back on that time, and you reduce the crust’s flavor.
One solution? A few teaspoons of one of my favorite ingredients, Pizza Dough Flavor. We discovered this product years ago in a baking trade magazine, and its combination of cheese powder, garlic, onion, and other natural flavors imparts “pizzeria pizza” flavor to any potentially bland crust.
Add a flavor: method 2
Even if you shy away from added ingredients, you can enhance your crust’s flavor by letting your dough go through its first rise, then refrigerating it: overnight, or for several days in the case of a recipe like No-Knead Crusty White Bread, which I often use to make pizza dough.
I like to refrigerate my no-knead dough for four or five days before using it for pizza crust. I take the dough from the fridge, roll it thin, and bake it right away before the yeast has a chance to warm up and get going again. About 13 ounces (a good handful) of this dough will make a nice freeform half-sheet size for this pizza.
Add a flavor: method 3
Spreading the untopped crust with garlic oil adds a hint of garlic and rich mouthfeel. The oil also acts as a barrier between crust and sauce, protecting the crust from excess moisture and helping ensure it remains optimally crispy.
Bake in a dark pan or on a steel or baking stone.
The best thin-crust pizza will be baked either in a dark pan, which transfers heat most efficiently; or on a hot baking stone or steel. Either of these will yield crust that’s brown on the bottom and crispy all the way through.
In order to take advantage of stone or steel’s heat-holding qualities, be sure to preheat your oven thoroughly. I heat mine to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, and 45 to 60 minutes is even better.
Placing your stone or steel on a center oven rack yields the best of both worlds: a perfectly browned crust, both top, and bottom.
If you use a pan, should you grease it? No, not unless you’re going for that distinctive “fried dough” quality some crusts have. If so, drizzle the pan with olive oil. But be aware that dough in an oiled pan is likely to shrink and produce a somewhat thicker crust than dough in an ungreased pan (or on a stone).
Roll the crust ultra-thin
If you’re a pizza dough pro, you can hand-shape thin-crust pizza simply by twirling it over your knuckles (with the occasional toss into the air). But for most of us, thin-crust means lots of patting or, much easier, rolling dough between two sheets of greased parchment.
Take your kneaded dough and pat/pull it into a rough oval or circle. Place it on a piece of well-greased parchment; the parchment needs to be greased since you’re going to roll the dough about 1/8” (or even less), and you don’t want it to stick to the paper.
Wait about 10 minutes for the gluten in the dough to relax, then roll it into a 1/8”-thick circle or oval. Note: If you’re using dough that’s been refrigerated (e.g., no-knead dough), you can skip this 10-minute rest.
How much dough translates to what size crust? I’ve found that 255g (9 ounces) of dough makes a 12” crust, and 369g (13 ounces) makes a crust about 12” x 15”.
Add toppings sparingly
Now it’s time to carefully peel off the top layer of parchment and add your toppings. Use a minimum of sauce on your pizza; too much sauce will drown the crust beneath, turning it soggy.
I find about 1/4 cup sauce is perfect for a 12” round pie, while a scant 1/2 cup works well for a freeform sheet-pan pizza (about 12” x 15”). A pastry brush is the perfect tool for giving the crust a complete (yet thin) coating of sauce.
Again, you don’t want to overwhelm your thin-crust pizza with cheese (or any topping, for that matter). I find about 1 cup (4 ounces, 113g) grated cheese is plenty for a 12” pizza; while 1 1/2 cups are enough for the larger freeform pizza.
This pizza on its parchment atop a baking sheet is ready for the oven — minus its cheese. I sometimes bake my pizza about halfway before adding the cheese, which results in melted (but not over-browned) cheese.
Transfer pizza to the oven
If your pizza isn’t in a pan, it’s going to be floppy and hard to move around. The solution? Place it (still on its parchment) on the back of a half-sheet pan or large cookie sheet, which is your homemade version of the traditional baker’s peel. Position the pan level with the stone, and gently slide it off the pan onto the stone.
Bake until bubbling and brown
For the crispiest crust, bake your pizza until it’s thoroughly browned. To take it off the stone and out of the oven, carefully grab a corner of the parchment and slide the pizza back onto the backside of the baking sheet. Slip it off the parchment and onto a rack to cool.
Bonus: the best thin-crust pizza (with a thick edge)
For pizza that’s thin in the center and thick around the edge, try this.
Roll your crust and place it in a 12″ pan. Top with a 9″ parchment round.
Place a cast-iron frying pan in the center of the pizza, one that’s large enough to cover most of the bottom. The parchment is there to keep the pan from sticking to the dough.
Roll the edges of the crust to the edge of the pan. (The picture above was taken before I rolled the edges.)
Bake the pizza for 5 minutes. Remove it from the oven, remove the frying pan, add sauce and cheese, and return it to the oven (without the frying pan) until baked through.
Voilà! Thin-crust pizza with a thick “handle” around the edge.
What if you simply roll the edges of the dough and leave off the frying pan? The difference between edges and center won’t be as pronounced; the frying pan ensures the center of the pizza — which tends to rise highest in the oven — stays relatively flat.
Bonus: Slice with scissors
You can use a knife or pizza wheel to cut pizza, but I always use a clean pair of scissors. I’m usually putting on a counter or some other surface I don’t want to nick or scratch; unlike a knife or wheel, scissors leave no mark.
The best thin-crust pizza?
If you choose your pizza a little bit thicker as well as chewier (1/2″) and cracker-thin (1/4″ or less), the greatest this type of pizza is totally up to you. Forget the takeout this weekend — go forth and bake!
If you’re appreciated this type of pizza, surely you have some tips of your own to share. Comment below to connect with us and your fellow readers, plus skipping the rise saves time. And I don’t have to think about changing my recipe (which in the case of these tests is our basic Pizza Crust.)