i grew up in chicago, the land of the deep dish pizza, but my taste has always leaned towards the crispy, charred, thin crust pizza that comes out of a wood burning oven. my fellow chicagoans will probably have me hunted down and “disappeared”, but it is what it is. that is what i crave when i crave pizza. unfortunately, this style of pizza is a little difficult to recreate in the home kitchen. most cooks who attempt it usually use a pizza stone and peel (that big wooden paddle you use to get the pie off the stone), and even then, it never tastes quite the same. i myself do not own a pizza stone or peel, nor do i plan to purchase them. my kitchen is small enough without stuffing the cabinets full of pricey equipment that you only use once in a while. aside from a food processor and a stand mixer, i have pretty basic kitchen tools. i wanted to try to make a thin, crispy pizza without buying any new equipment, so i developed a technique for making the crust that works pretty well. this pizza dough recipe is easy as pie (get it? i couldn’t resist) and can be used for all kinds of different pizzas. for the thin crust pie that i’m craving, it’s all about the rising of the dough.
makes enough for one large sheet pan
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water (this is added slowly at the end. you may not need the whole cup)
in a small bowl or measuring cup, mix 1/2 cup warm water with the sugar. sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir gently. let the yeast mixture stand for 5 minutes until it starts to bubble slightly. in a food processor, blend the flour and salt. add the olive oil and yeast mixture and mix until coarsely blended. with the food processor running, add the warm water slowly just until the dough forms a ball. (the dough will be very sticky) dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. form the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size. this will take 1 to 2 hours.
at this point, you have a wonderful pizza dough recipe that you can use any way you like,(you’re welcome) but if you want the crispy thin crust that i’ve been going on and on about, there are a few more steps and little waiting involved. once the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch the dough down and release all the air. leave it in the oiled bowl and refrigerate it over night. the cold of the fridge will keep the dough from rising too much more resulting in a denser dough. the next day (remember that patience is a virtue) punch the dough down again and, with your fingers, push the dough out into a 1/4 of an inch crust onto a well oiled sheet pan. (really oil the pan well. you want to be able to get your pizza off the pan!)
you can top your pie any way you like. this one has olive oil, salt and pepper, caramelized onions, prosciutto, sliced assiago fresco, and grated parmesan. bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the edges are deep golden brown.
this crust bakes up crispy and light and has a wonderful chewy texture. the olive oil in the dough and on the pan really gives this pie a savory, but surprisingly not oily, taste. the only draw back to becoming a pizza making master… ordering delivery is a thing of the past. every time i try, my husband reminds me of how much he loves and would rather have my pizza, that i can’t bring myself to disappoint him. i mean, let’s face it, the man’s got great taste!