Thin Crust Pizza

You may be wondering why I’m writing yet again, about pizza. The short answer…. because I love it. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?!  From it’s oh so humble beginnings, the savory pie is enjoyed everywhere. All over the world. Why? Because it’s good eats! There are so many ways you can have it… enjoy it…. make it. AND make it your own. From the blistered thin crust, to deep dish, to bbq sauce, to tandoori chicken, to yes…. even ham and pineapple. That was my Mom’s fave~

This enormous, colourful ad for the omnipresent za…? Spotted as I glanced down a side street, in Toruń, Poland. Approx. 200 km north east of Warsaw. Of historical significance and 20 km south of Chełmża, my Mom’s hometown.

Lately, I’m working on making the best version of thin crust that I can… at home. Armed with a pizza stone, paddle, recipe research AND my trusty rolling pin, I’ve come up with a damn tasty version and as close to authentic as I can get…. without the wood fired oven. Perhaps someday I’ll have a backyard conducive to having one. I’ll enlist the help of my fab brother Ed. Yes! the same one of the rolling pin fame, who usually restores and/or builds chimneys and house foundations… I’d bet he’d build me an awesome one!

So, what the recipe needs? I should say doesn’t need – is olive oil. I’ve taken my standard recipe, done some tweaking, taken out the oil and made it over and over… to come up with the recipe below. You must use a food processor for this! If you try to make it by hand, and I’m guessing at this because I didn’t do it – you’re basically mixing flour and water (and a bit of yeast). Think back to grade school. Flour and water made great paste!

Proofing/activating the yeast

You need the machine to do the work, and provide the kitchen alchemy to combine the ingredients into a workable dough. When rolled thinly… heavenly, crispy, thin crust! Mamma mia.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Once again, this is a great example of Italian kitchen ingenuity. With a food processor to do the ‘heavy lifting’, the hardest part is waiting for the dough to rise. Because of the absence of olive oil, it will not rise as fluffy as regular dough. Don’t worry. The texture and taste are what will count, in the end. And… be sure to go easy on the toppings – otherwise you may never get it off the paddle and into the oven. This will make one approx. 12 inch pizza.

1/4 teaspoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
approx another 1/8 cup warm water, for mixing the dough

Sprinkle the yeast into the 1/4 cup warm water, and set aside to activate as per pkg directions.
In a small food processor, add the flour and salt – pulse a few times to combine.
When the yeast is ready, add it and the 1/8 cup of water to the food processor; pulse a few times to combine.
Take the lid off and check the dough; if dry, add a little more water, if too wet, add a sprinkle of flour.
When the dough is combined, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface, for a little more kneading by hand.
You only need to knead it for a minute or so, just long enough to form it into a ball.
Put it in an ungreased measuring cup – do not use any oil. As Julia Child said “dough needs a seat to push up from.”
Cover and set aside to rise until doubled; 1 to 2 hours. (Dough can be prepared a day ahead and left to rise in the fridge).

This dough was prepared the day before and left to rise overnight in the fridge.

Your oven needs to preheat to 450° …. judge your time accordingly, so your ready pizza is not waiting for the oven.

When you’re ready to roll, lightly flour your rolling surface, the dough and the rolling pin, and roll out as thin as you can possibly get it -but make sure it will fit on your paddle, or whatever you might use to get the dough into the oven. Turn it 45 degrees occasionally – for even
thickness and to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Sprinkle the paddle with flour, and transfer the dough to it.

At this point, you can just sprinkle with olive oil and salt – you’ll have pizza bianca.
Otherwise, add the oil and salt, then a very thin layer of tomato sauce (homemade
if you can) and some bocconcini torn in halves, or a light sprinkling of grated mozzarella – use what you have! Think cucina povera~ If you have fresh basil, you have a Margherita Pizza!

Deftly, slide it from your paddle to the oven and set your timer for 10 minutes. Watch it carefully towards the end… the thin crust could burn easily. 

Remove from oven and add a finishing touch of Parmigiano Reggiano! Buon appetito~