The Elusive Thin Crust Pizza

If I traveled to Italy to learn how to become a pizzaiolo, I likely could have finished this post sooner.  But since my goal was to sort through different recipes and flours, it took 6 months to figure out what worked for a thin crust pizza at home.

Wanting an option if short on time, I tried the pre-made pizza dough at Fairway and Trader Joe’s.  The dough wasn’t exactly thin enough to give me the crispness I wanted, and it took at least an hour to reach room temperature so that it could be stretched – about the time it takes to make dough.  I wasn’t loving the texture or the flavor either.  So crossed those of the list.

Armed with a Kitchen Aid dough hook, pizza stone, pizza peel and fancy cutter, I had everything but a good recipe for the thin-crust I craved.  After some research, it seemed that 00 Flour would be my savior. But shockingly, it’s not easy to find – even in NYC where I can usually find almost any ingredient.  After the NY Times magazine article on pizza-making, even the one store I expected to have it, Eataly, was out of stock.  (I missed the last bag while having drinks with friends upstairs at the Birreria!)  Not wanting to go home empty-handed, I decided to buy another type of flour from Italy – supposedly for La Pizza e Il Pane. I even discussed it with the bread and pasta counters at Eataly.  Since they couldn’t help me discern the difference between this one and the 00 type, it seemed like a good starting point.

I tried it using 3 cups of flour, a package of yeast and a little olive oil.

IMG_2229The dough didn’t rise much, but it was easy to work with and stretched well enough.

IMG_2230I decided to grill it–so I had to transfer this

IMG_2231 onto the pizza stone- and I even got the pizza off the peel without a giant mess!

IMG_2232But though it looked nice, the bottom burned because the dough didn’t cook quickly.  Or maybe I shouldn’t have used the stone.

IMG_2233I had enough for a second pie, so I tried again in the oven.
IMG_2234Much better, but I didn’t like the consistency of the dough.  Better for bread.

So I went back to Eataly months later– and I found the 00 flour!  What a difference!  I used Tyler Florence’s recipe. The dough rose nicely

IMG_3701and was thin, easily moved from peel to stone.

IMG_3703But mainly, it was crispy.

IMG_3705My “secret” to a perfect crust is to brush olive oil on it for a nice golden color.

IMG_3706I also experimented with sauce then cheese (a tomato pie) and cheese before sauce (traditional).  Both work well.

IMG_3828With the little effort it takes to make the dough (once you locate the flour), this is fun on a weeknight or weekend.  It’s great for solo diners, couples and kids too. And it’s perfect for a snow day – which we seem to have far too many of this winter.

Bon Appetito!
-Kara

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