Successfully making thin crust pizza at home is not an easy task. When I have tried before I end up with a crust that over cooked and cracker like, or one that is limp and under cooked. That is why I was so happy to see that Cookâ€™s Illustrated had done some testing and made some discoveries.
Their big finding was that it is better to use all-purpose flour than bread flour or other high protein flours. The bread flour retains less water than lower protein all-purpose. In a red-hot 800 degree pizza oven this doesnâ€™t matter being the crust browns and the toppings melt before the crust has a chance to dry out. However in a home oven that only heats to a measly 500 degrees, a bread flour based crust will get all dried out. I havenâ€™t had a chance to try this on normal crusts, but the thin crust pizza I tried with all-purpose flour definitely backs this up. Go for an all-purpose flour with less than 10.5% protein, I used Gold Medal All-purpose. King Arthur all-purpose flour might have too much protein.
The other great suggestion from Cookâ€™s Illustrated is rolling out the dough, and covering it with plastic wrap. When you cover it you do not have to keep adding flour to the top to keep it from sticking. They also recommend rolling out the dough right on parchment paper which you bake it on in the oven. Also, pizza stones definitely help achieve that crisp crust.
You will end up a dough that has more flavor and is easier to work with if you let it rise overnight. If you are in a hurry you can up the instant yeast to 1 1/4 tsp and let the dough rise for an hour before rolling it out.
Thin Crust PizzaIngredients:
- 10 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (about 2 cups), preferably Gold Medal, protein content no higher than 10.5 percent
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (1 1/4 tsp if you do not want to do an overnight rise)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 6.2 ounces water (about 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons), preferably filtered or spring, 100 to 105 degrees
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup tomato sauce (see recipe below)
- 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella (about 2 cups), shredded
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 large clove garlic , minced, or pressed through garlic press
- 1 tablespoon olive oil