Monday, April 29, 2013

Thin-Crust Crispy Pizza

I've found a new favorite way of making pizza.  I use the recipe from these delish Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks, and the method of cooking it on parchment on a pizza stone in a screamin' hot oven.  (Well.... the hottest my oven gets is 450 F, so I just went with it.... lol.)  The pizza dough is so simple; maybe you could use any dough. 

The tricks to get it nice and crisp:  Preheat your pizza stone and oven at least 30 minutes before baking.  Crank oven to at least 425-450 degrees F, or a little hotter.  Roll out dough as thin as you can get it.  Use a piece of parchment for every pizza, so you can make the pizzas on the paper on the counter and just slide each one onto your hot pizza stone when ready to bake.  Don't overload on toppings.  Use bread flour.  (Although I've made this when I've ran out of bread flour, and it is still good!  So don't let not having bread flour stop you from making this recipe.)

Lately, I've made those Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks so often (for company, etc) that I realized that a pizza made that same way would be awesome, and it is (if I don't say so myself, lol!).  I've now made pizza this way about 3-4 times in the last month.  The pizzas are so small (to fit in my tiny oven) and thin though, that I end up doubling the recipe below to feed my fam, and then we'll have a few pieces left over.  So that's 4 small-ish pizzas.  I'll make some veggie, with red onions, peppers, olives, etc, and some just cheese and pepperoni (sometimes olives) for the kids. 
Thin-Crust Crispy Pizza
adapted from here, via Lauren's Latest
makes two 14-16 inch pizzas

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour (give or take 1/2 cup…depending on humidity)

Pizza Sauce
Toppings like mozzarella & Parm cheese, red onions, red peppers, olives, pepperoni

1. In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey or sugar into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix. Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn’t stick to your hands.

2. Once you reach this stage, turn the mixer on high to knead for about a few minutes, adding bits of more flour if needed. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with. And the bowl should be clean. Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours.

3.  During the last 30 minutes or rising time, preheat your oven to 425-450 F or the hottest it will go.  Before turning on the oven, place your pizza stone inside.  (An upside down cookie sheet is supposed to work in place of a pizza stone, but I've never tried it....) 

4.  Tear off two pieces of parchment paper that fit your cookie sheet.  Divide dough in half, and roll/stretch each piece of dough thinly over each piece of parchment.  I try to go to the edges of the parchment, getting the dough as thin as I can. 

5.  Spread each raw pizza with your favorite pizza sauce, and then a layer of cheese, and then any toppings you want.  Make sure to use a lighter hand with the toppings so the pizza doesn't get weighed down and soggy under them.  What is shown in the photos above was a perfect amount. 

6.  Bake pizzas one at a time for 9-12 minutes in the hot oven.  Do this by carefully removing the hot pizza stone from the oven and setting it on hot pads.  Working quickly, slide one pizza, complete with the parchment, onto the hot stone and place the whole thing in the oven and shut the door.  When pizza is done, crust and cheese will be browned and golden. 

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