Homemade Thin-Crust Pizza

This pizza is so good.  And not as difficult as home-made pizza seems.  It’s definitely the most delicious and fool-proof pizza dough recipe I have tried and I will continue to use this recipe.  I even botched the steps a bit and used different yeast but it still turned out great.  If a recipe is stamped with the approval of Cook’s Illustrated/ America’s Test Kitchen, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be good.  That being said, they have a lot more practice than you so yours might not turn out as pretty as theirs….

What it’s supposed to look like:



Ummm yeah….not quite.

But I promise!  It’s still delicious, no matter how deformed.
I let the dough sit for an hour, like it said, but it was still quite cold.  Once I started working with it, it quickly warmed up and was not very cooperative.  Then I made the mistake of thinking I could simply lift the pizza off the cutting board onto the baking sheet in the oven…yeah, not going to happen.  So after a lot of struggling I jammed some parchment paper under the pizza until most of it was on there so I could slide it onto the baking sheet.  Hence, the hideous appearance.  With the next pie I was smart enough to start on parchment paper for easy transport.  I also left that dough thicker, so you don’t have to keep it thin like the name suggests.  The recipe for sauce is also super easy and delicious, and it makes extra so you can save it for your next pizza adventure or use it on pasta.  Use any toppings you like, but their combination of mozzarella and parmesan was delicious.  Try it soon! You wont be disappointed.

Here is the recipe, from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine:

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour , plus more for work surface (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast (I used 3/4 tsp of regular yeast)
  • 1 1/3 cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces) (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil , plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

Sauce

  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes , drained and liquid discarded
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cheese

  • 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella , shredded (about 2 cups)

Instructions:

1. FOR THE DOUGH: In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.

2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

3. FOR THE SAUCE: Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to medium bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. TO BAKE THE PIZZA: One hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to second highest position (rack should be about 4 to 5 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Shape each half into smooth, tight ball. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray; let stand for 1 hour.

5. Coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on well-floured countertop. Using fingertips, gently flatten into 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. Using hands, gently stretch disk into 12-inch round, working along edges and giving disk quarter turns as you stretch. Transfer dough to well-floured peel and stretch into 13-inch round. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella. Slide pizza carefully onto stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through. Remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat step 5 to shape, top, and bake second pizza.

My note: I have neither a pizza peel or pizza stone, so I used parchment paper to take the dough from counter to oven, and a pre-heated upside-down baking sheet as a stone.  It worked just fine, you just have to be careful because 500 degrees is a little hot for parchment paper and it can burn and get very brittle.

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