A basic pizza dough is only flour, yeast and water, with a little olive oil added. So how come something so simple could be so hard to perfect? I made pizza dough several times and was never really satisfied with the final result. There are so many recipes out there and variations of it, but overall I always felt like I ended up with a pizza that was too thick, or tough, or chewy, or even worse a combination of all previously mentioned. I wanted a pizza that was light in texture, with a flavorful and thin crust.
That's the kind of pizza we like to eat here at home, and that's why we rarely order pizza, neither from home or at a restaurant here in the US. It's too much dough (almost like a bread), the tomato sauce is most of the time very disappointing and the toppings are too much. When it comes to pizza, less is better and I find the average American pizza just "too much." That is not to say there aren't good Italian restaurants making nice pizzas out there. We know a very good one a few blocks away from our home, but it costs so much that I rather just make my own at home and save the money (perhaps for a trip to Naples...) :)
Anyway, after making many different types of dough, I develop my own tricks and found out what really works for me. That is what I am sharing here today, the steps of my pizza making, with plenty of pictures to make it easy to visualize it.
The one thing that really made a difference on how my pizzas tasted was a pizza stone. I am not a gadget person and don't buy what I don't need to, but a pizza stone was well worth the 20 bucks. The pizza comes out crispy on the bottom and it cooks faster too. I leave my pizza stone in the oven at all times. The pizza peel came with the pizza stone and it helps me a lot too, although I think a rimless cookie sheet would do a good job too (I don't have one).
I use regular all-purpose flour for my everyday pizza recipe. I want to try a whole wheat dough but don't have a good one yet. The amount I use is exactly what you see in this picture. It is a 1 1/2 cups measuring pitcher filled with flour all the way, as much as possible.It is not quite 2 cups, but almost. This translates into about 400 grams of flour. I start with about 350 grams and use the rest as needed.
The other dry ingredients are 1 package of dry active yeast (7 g), 1 t teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Everything is whisked together and then 1 tablespoon of olive oil is added along with 200ml (7 oz) of warm water.
After mixing in the olive oil and warm water with a spoon or spatula, everything goes into the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hook and knead on low for about 4- 5 minutes (this can be done by hand too).
The dough should be wet and sticky. A dry dough will give you a tough pizza.
This is how it looks like when it comes out of the mixer, very soft but it holds together.
The dough then gets transferred to an oiled bowl, covered with a kitchen towel and rests for about 1 hour at a warm spot. I put it near the fire place when it's too cold.
After about 1 hour resting it's time to punch down the dough and transfer it to a well floured surface. I like to dip my hands in flour before doing that so it won't stick so much.
Flour the surface very well and keep adding more flour as needed, but don't over do it, just enough for the dough not to stick to your hands. Make one ball of dough.
Slice it in half, each part will make a 12 inch round pizza. I normally use one right away and wrap the second one for later. It keeps in the fridge for several days. I never froze it, but I suppose it can be done too.
Preparing the pizza peel makes it much easier to slice the pizzas into the oven. I like to use cornmeal between the pizza peel and the parchment paper. I don't really like having the cornmeal directly in contact with the pizza as it is a bit grainy.
The parchment paper goes over the pizza peel and I like to flour it very well. The flour will make it easy to roll the dough and it will also give a nice touch to the finished pizza.
I sometimes roll the dough directly on the parchment paper. The rolling pin is well floured too.
This is how the uncooked pizza looks like.
Into the oven it goes. Hot, hot oven, 475 degrees.
Ready to be removed, about 10 minutes later.
The final product!
A close up of the crust, just how I like it. Thin, crisp on the edges and with a nice flour coating.
Thin Crust Pizza Dough Recipe:
makes 2 pizzas, 12 inches each
You will need:
about 400grams of flour, just shy of 2 cups (see pictures above) Plus more for kneading
1 package of dry active yeast (7 grams)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
200ml (7 oz) of warm water.
Whisk all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and the warm water and bring it together with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached and knead for about 4-5 minutes on low speed. Dough will still be quite wet when done, but it will look smooth. (see pictures above).
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled clean bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it rest for about 1 hour in a dry, warm spot.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees with the pizza stone placed in the middle rack.
Punch down dough with your fist (flour your hands first). Transfer dough to a well floured surface and knead lightly, adding flour as necessary just until it comes together in a ball.
Cut dough in half, wrap excess dough if not using it right away and store in the refrigerator.
Prepare the pizza peel by sprinkling it with cornmeal and some flour.
Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough just to cover the pizza peel. Dust it with lots of flour.
Roll pizza dough on a floured surface or directly on the parchment paper into a 12 inch round.
Top pizza as desired.
Using the pizza peel, slide the parchment paper into the pizza stone. Bake it for about 10 minutes or until dough is browned and topping is cooked.
To remove the pizza from the oven, use a tong to pull the pizza back into the peel. You can bring the parchment paper with it or not, just remember to remove it from the oven.
Slice and serve!