Cracker Thin Crust Pizza
It was in May that I graduated, and June passed by in a whirl of traveling to the west. I promised myself there would be several posts in July, and so here it is, my first one in quite a while.
Now, this doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking up a storm here and there. Lee’s going away/birthday party was a blast to throw. It’s almost strange around here without having her hanging around in my living room yelling something like, “Oh my god, that smells SO GOOD.” I miss her. A lot.
But aside from baking some massive cakes, and learning a thing or two about white chocolate (NEVER put a white chocolate draped cake in the fridge), I have been experimenting with dough. Pizza dough to be exact.
The challenge was simple enough: bake a crust that was thin, cracker crispy on the outside, with New York-style chewy-ness. I’ve made (and photographed) enough trials to make me almost hate pizza. Every time another one came out of the oven, I’d sit at my table and weep a little inside at my failures. Some were crispy but not chewy, some chewy but not crispy, and still others, plain yeasty in flavor.
But THIS one. Oh, this one. It won. It WON. I pulled it out of the oven and basked in my triumph. Adapted from a recipe I came across on www.pizzamaking.com, it did not disappoint.
And so, I share this with a happy glow and contentment spilling from my soul.
NOTE: You’ll need the dough to rise a full 24 hours, so if you want this for a Friday dinner, make the dough on Thursday night!
3 cups bread flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl, combine warm water (110ºF), yeast and sugar. Stir until yeast has dissolved.
Add in oil and salt. Stir until well mixed.
If you have a KitchenAid, you’re in luck. You can do all of the above in the mixing bowl, attach the dough hook, and begin adding the flour by one cup and keep the machine running at medium speed until you have a stiff ball of dough.
If you don’t have a KitchenAid (like yours truly), add flour by the cup, and knead the dough until all of it is incorporated. It’s hard… you’ll have to tear the dough apart with your fingers, mesh it and keep kneading until your elbows feel about ready to die. RESIST the temptation to add more water. Just keep kneading. It will work out, I promise.
Here is the most important step, one you MUST NOT skip: Cover the dough with saran wrap and let it rise in the fridge for a FULL 24 hours. Trust me, it is worth it.
About an hour before you’re ready to roll it out the next day, preheat to oven to 170ºF and leave the bowl (without the saran wrap and covered with a cloth) to warm up for at least 40 minutes. It’s easier to roll out a warm dough rather than a cold one.
Preheat oven to 500ºF.
Lightly flour a large counter and roll out the dough as thin as you can get it. It should be bigger than the size of your pizza pan.
Use a pizza pan that is NOT perforated (i.e. don’t use a pan that has holes in it), and with a slightly raised edge. You can also use a pizza stone if you wish. I used a pan in this case.
Lay rolled out dough in pan. Run the rolling pin across the edge of the pan to cut off excess dough.
Make many holes with a fork to prevent bubbles from forming.
Pre-bake crust for about 4 minutes on the lowest rack. Remove and pop any bubbles that may have formed.
Top the pizza with your favorite sauce and toppings. I used Italian cheeses, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Bake on lowest rack for 5 minutes, and then switch to middle rack for another 5 minutes, or until edge of the crust is browned.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 3-5 minutes before serving. This step will help keep the pizza crispy on the bottom. Cooling in the pan will result in a soggier crust.
Cut and DEVOUR!