An easy recipe for making a perfect thin crust pizza.
Recipe from: The Kitchen at Gourmet Food World
Time: 15 minutes of work, 4 hours total with rising time Level: Easy
Makes 4 pizza dough balls
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING THE DOUGH:
- 3 cups bread flour (4 if you are doing this the first time)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup Warm water (105 – 115 degrees F / 40 – 46 degrees C). Bring out the cooking thermometer, as the temperature has to be in that range.
- 1 teaspoon sea salt. We use Fine Grey Sea Salt from Guerande.
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. We use Herdade do Esporao Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Venta del Baron Extra Virgin Olive Oil
INGREDIENTS FOR PREPPING THE FINISHED DOUGH FOR THE PIZZA:
- Additional flour as needed when rolling out the dough
- Corn meal for dusting the pizza tray
DOUGH MAKING DIRECTIONS:
- Set aside in advance the 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of oil.
- Clean a flat work surface. A marble/granite counter top is preferred. Then make a mound with the 3 cups of flour (use 4 cups of flour if this is your first time), and then make a well in the center (the yeast and water will go in that well next, so make sure the well is big enough to hold 1 cup of water). 3 cups of flour is all you need, but if this is your first time I would suggest 4 cups so your well has extra “structural support” so it doesn’t break and flood out – no worries, you’re only going to incorporate only the flour you need, not all of it.
- Take 1/3 cup of the warm water and dissolve the yeast into it. It’s really important that the water is between 105 – 115 degrees F, otherwise the yeast may not activate if the temperature is too low, or your may kill it if it’s too hot. Then poor the dissolved yeast mixture into the flour well along with the remaining 2/3 cup of warm water.
- Using one hand, gradually and slowly swirl your hand in a circular motion incorporating flour from the sides of the well. When you get a rough, sticky mass, add the 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Continue incorporating the flour gradually until you have a soft, but not sticky mass. Shape your dough into a ball.
- Clean your work surface and then flour the surface generously. Begin kneading the dough, kneading, folding, flipping and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will take about 7-10 minutes. While kneading, if the dough sticks to your hands, sprinkle some more flour on top. When you flip the dough, gently sprinkle some flour on the surface as needed. If the dough feels to dry, sprinkle with some water.
- Lightly wipe a cookie sheet with some olive oil. Place the dough onto the sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Then divide the dough into 4 pieces, cover withe a damp towel, and let rise for about 3 1/2 hours. The dough should approximately double in size.
PIZZA MAKING DIRECTIONS:
- Place a pizza stone in the oven (we also use the flat side of a solid cast iron cook top grill) and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F / 260 degrees C. The oven must be preheated before placing the pizza inside, or it will not cook properly.
- Gently sprinkle yellow corn meal to lightly cover a flat cookie sheet (one without the lips on the edge). If you only have the one with the lips, turn it upside down and sprinkle the bottom side of the cookie sheet.
- Lightly flour your work surface, and keep a small mound of flour on the side to use as needed. Drop one of the dough balls on the surface and with your fingers press down to form a flat disk (or a rectangle if you want to make a flat bread shaped rectangular pizza). Flip the dough and sprinkle with some flour. With a rolling pin roll out the dough to your preferred shape. You’ll need to flip the dough, sprinkle with flour, and roll again approximately 3-4 times. If you are making the traditional circular pizza shape you’ll need to stretch it with your hands at the end. Just make sure you don’t roll out a piece that is larger than your pizza stone.
- Place the rolled out pizza dough onto the cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Then top with your favorite sauce and ingredients. Remember though, it’s a thin crust pizza so don’t sauce to heavily or overload it with toppings. Open the oven (but don’t get too close, there’s going to be a lot of heat coming out when you open it) – slide your pizza onto the pizza stone in your oven, and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes – you’ll see the crust brown and the cheese is completely melted. Remove from oven, cut and serve!