Friday, February 3, 2012

Thin Crust Pizza

I have loved thin crust pizza from the very first bite. Who needs all that crust? Bring on the toppings! More places are offering thin crust now; Amici’s in the Bay Area is one of my favorites. The Red Grape in Sonoma tickles my palate also. I had been on a pizza making kick for a while; I have a baking stone and a pizza peel. But I didn’t know how to make a thin crust, admittedly not actually looking for a recipe, just sighing a bit.

One of my favorite cooking shows is America’s Test Kitchen, which I love for its great tidbits of information, and its sister show, Cook’s Country. Recently on Cook’s Country there was a rerun episode on St. Louis Pizza, with thin crust. Huzzah! Looked good to me, so I wrote it down and this week I tried out just the dough recipe. The rest was my own doing. So I made it the other night, but unfortunately my baking stone still has residue on it from past projects which tend to, shall we say, smoke up the house at high temperatures, which, shall we say, really ticks Paul off. There is nothing like having to open up all the doors and set up fans at night in February.

So my darling husband rather huffily scrubbed the stone and I said I was going to try it again at lunch and pre-open the doors. Whereas he hated the first try because of the smoke, miraculously he liked the second one because of less smoke. And I must agree it was delicious, great toppings with a nice thin golden crust.

What makes this dough different is the leavening; yeast has been shown the door. Baking powder is in. The addition of cornstarch makes a crisper crust.


Yields dough for 2 each 12 inch pizzas


2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water

Whisk together dry ingredients. Mix liquids together then add to dry, stir together. Knead into a dough ball and divide into 2 pieces. A little bit sticky is good. Roll into 12 inch circles on sheets of parchment. Arrange toppings, bake on parchment 475 degrees for 9-12 minutes until golden and cheese is bubbly.

If using a baking stone, preheat stone in oven for 30 minutes. A stone makes a crisper crust. Sliding your pizza laden parchment onto a peel and then slipping it onto the stone makes it easy. Use the peel to remove it also. If you don’t have a peel, use a baking sheet.

For your toppings you can purchase pizza sauce or you can make your own. I chose to use some of the tomatoes I canned last summer. I pureed a pint of tomatoes. In a small sauce pan, I sautéed some chopped red onion in a little olive oil for a few minutes along with some red pepper flakes. I added a clove of crushed garlic, and cooked until fragrant and then added the pureed tomatoes. Some oregano (I had dried), a sprig of rosemary and a bay leaf, and let it simmer for 15 minutes to concentrate. Easy and delicious. You are welcome to use canned tomatoes.

The rest of the toppings are cook’s choice. I used what I love – prosciutto, provolone, red onion and oil cured olives. Next time I’ll try something different. Maybe I’ll try the Trentino, my fave pizza at Amici’s!