Thin Crust Pizza Dough

After visiting southern Italy, we were hard pressed to find a pizza crust that we enjoyed anywhere near as much. Solution: make our own, damn it. After combining a couple different techniques out of our favorite Italian cookbooks, here it what we’ve come up with. These keep nicely in the freezer, so make a batch or two, wrap them up well with plastic wrap & pull out whenever you get a pizza craving or need a quick gathering munchie. If you have problems with the texture, most of the time it is due to the kneading. It will usually take a few mediocre attempts before you start to fully understand the dough and learn how to make adjustments.

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Thin Crust Pizza Dough Recipe
1 package active dry yeast
almost 1 c hot water (115º 130ºF – important not to be too hot (yeast gets cooked) or too cold (yeast won’t activate))
pinch of sugar
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 T olive oil

1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the hot water.

2. Make the flour into a mound on your work surface, then make a well in the center of the mound. Add the salt & olive oil in the mound, then using a fork, mix with a little of the flour. Pour the dissolved yeast into the well and slowly incorporate the flour from the inside of the well with the liquid. When the mixture starts to become solid, use a dough scraper and your hands to work in the rest of the flour. Dust the dough occasionally with flour to keep it from excessively sticking to your hands as you knead. Knead just until everything is incorporated, the dough ball will still look a little rough.

2.**Update: We’ve changed how we form the dough ball to be even easier in making and clean up.  This method is based on the internet cult favorite, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Pour the water/yeast mix in a large bowl or resealable container.  Add flour, olive oil and salt, then mix with a large wooden spoon just until flour is incorporated.

3. Place dough ball into a bowl, dust with a tablespoon of flour, and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest until it has doubled in size (about an hour in a warm room away from drafts. Note: temperature & humidity significantly affect this step.)

4. When dough starts getting close to doubling, preheat the oven to 450º.

5. Line a sheet pan with a sheet of heavy aluminum foil. Oil with a tablespoon of olive oil. Using your fingers (it helps to have olive oiled your hands) spread the dough until it nearly fills the sheet pan. Try to work the dough as little as possible or else it will toughen your crust. If dough springs back repeatedly as you are stretching it out, allow it rest a couple minutes then continue spreading dough. (We’ll often cut this in two to create two crusts in the same sheet pan, making for easier storage and more personal size pizzas)

6. Slide pizza and foil directly into middle of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough starts show a slight golden color. Remove from oven, add toppings, then continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden. Alternate ending: After the first par-bake of the crust, remove and allow to cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in freezer until needed.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Cheryl

    When you say “Slide pizza and foil directly into middle of the oven”, do you mean just the foil without the sheet pan?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Cheryl,
      Correct. If you have a baking stone, we also wrote up this Bacon-Tomato pizza recipe for a baking stone method.

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