Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thin Crust Time!

We may have been going through a bit of a pizza phase. I like it, Sean likes it, you can make it how you want it. Instant win. The problem with pizza (just kidding there isn't one... but sort of...) is all that crust. So I figured this time around we could do a thin crust. Cooked true to form on a hot pizza stone, it was great. We might do thin crust forever now. Unless of course I had a bad day and want to medicate with carbs in food form instead of beer form.

Fresh off making another batch of our home made mozza and ricotta, which we obviously needed pizza for, I googled "Thin Crust Recipe", as soon as a Williams Sonoma version came up I figured I couldn't go wrong! And I didn't. After being split into two, 10-12" sort of rounds , it cooked in 10 minutes on a pizza stone that had been preheated with the oven to 425ºF. I don't have a "real" pizza stone. I have a cooking stone (like this one) from Pampered Chef. I always forget I have it truthfully. I usually cook my pizza on one of these. Which by the way, is great on the bottom rack for some thick crust pizza.

But in any case, I remembered today that I had this stone. What I don't have is one of those fancy pizza peels. I might have to get one now... but, if you don't have one and want to start cooking your pizza this way, here is how I did it. Since the stone is already super hot in your oven, you can't very well build the pizza on it and slide it in. I flipped over one of my cookie/baking sheet pans and sprinkled cornmeal (flour will work too) liberally over it. This is where I built my pizza. On an upside down baking sheet. When you're ready to put the pizza in the oven, quickly sprinkle some more of that cornmeal on the stone and gently shake the uncooked pizza off the baking sheet and onto the stone. If you put the cornmeal on too early, it will burn and it will smoke and its horrible.Unlike with a pizza peel, you cant use this same tool to pick the pizza up off the stone after it's done cooking, I used two large spatulas. Worked great, since the crust was firm and crispy.  I don't remember where I saw this tip, but I really wish I did because it worked really well. I like cornmeal for this over flour solely due to the flavour it adds to the finished pizza.

*Update September 17

I now have a pizza peel! Its pretty great, I'd highly recommend it. I even use it to get bread loaves (french) out of the oven. Also, you can definitely make this crust by hand if you don't have a mixer or a food processor. *

Back to the pizza dough, here's the recipe below. The only thing I would probably do different is change the sugar to honey or brown sugar. Just because I tend to like the taste better. That doesn't mean it will work though. Worth a try. I also didn't make the dough in a food processor, I used my kitchen aid mixer (with the dough hook) because it never leaves my counter. This is the pizza we made, in case you were curious.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
From Here


1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup warm water (about 105°F)
1 cup cake flour
1 cup plus 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar and warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour and salt and pulse 3 or 4 times.

Whisk 1 Tbs. of the olive oil into the yeast mixture. With the motor running, slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Pulse the machine 10 to 15 times to knead the dough. The dough should clean the insides of the bowl but will be slightly sticky.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Dust your hands with flour and remove the dough from the food processor. Form the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough in half and roll out as directed in the pizza recipe. Makes two 10-inch thin-crust pizzas.

** Update, April 14

Made this dough again with whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose and honey instead of the sugar and it turned out great. It did take a little longer to cook and I think it puffed up all over a little more instead of just random bubbles. We just had the one pizza and a salad and were stuffed, overall a good choice. This time we made Grilled South Western Pizza. Except on the pizza stone at 450º, not on a grill. There is still waaay too much snow for that!

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