I used to not like thin crust pizza.
I was all about deep dish pizzas. Original/regular crust was okay too, but if I had a choice, deep dish was the way I always went. Something about all that lovely, soft yet chewy, delicious bread just made my day.
Not that I don’t still like deep dish pizza. Oh, I do. I’ve just learned to appreciate thin crust pizza.
When living in Japan, I realized that pretty much all the pizza there is thin crust. At first, this greatly bummed me out (when I actually did eat pizza that is, which wasn’t very often). Eventually, however, I came to appreciate thin crust pizza.
There’s something wonderful about the perfect balance between bread, sauce, and toppings. Too thick of a crust, and it’s like eating, well, nothing but bread. Too little crust, and it turns into something like a cracker. Too much cheese and…wait. What am I saying? You can never have too much cheese on a pizza (or anything for that matter! It’s the American way! ).
The point is, thin crust pizza can be just as wonderful as a well executed deep dish pizza. Plus I think it’s more authentic, really, if you’re going for real Italian style pizza.
Unless it’s really crispy. Like a cracker. That’s just not cool. If I want a cracker-like pizza then I’ll put some sauce and cheese on a Saltine and bake it (disclaimer: I know some people love crispy cracker-like crust for their pizzas. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just don’t like it. Power to you).
The pizza dough for this recipe is quite versatile. You can use it to make 4 small thin crust pizzas, 2 large thin crust pizzas, or 1 large deep dish pizza. You can also use it to make my egg, sausage, cheese bread, stromboli, calzones, etc. It also freezes well, so whatever you don’t use, wrap with plastic wrap, put it in a storage bag, and pop it in the freezer until you need it.
(makes 4 small thin-crust pizzas, 2 large thin-crust pizzas, or 1 large deep dish pizza)
- 2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. warm water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 1/2 c. bread flour (approximately)
- pizza sauce
- Mozzarella cheese (fresh or shredded)
- desired toppings (onion, green pepper, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoni, ham, sausage, etc.)
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Let set for 10 minutes.
- Add salt and oil, then mix in 2 1/2 c. flour.
- Continue adding flour until a ball forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough, adding flour as needed, until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray, add dough to bowl, cover, and place in a warm spot to rise until double in size, 1 – 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 425° F (220° C).
- Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out into the desired number and size of pizzas.
- Place rolled out pizza crusts in an oiled pan/pans.
For deep dish pizza: Allow crust to rise for 10 – 20 minutes. Bake crust for 10 minutes on the oven’s middle rack, remove from oven, add pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings, then return to oven to bake for an additional 15 – 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve immediately.
For thin crust pizza: Spread pizza sauce evenly over top of pizza crust. Cover with mozzarella cheese and any desired toppings. Brush crust edges with olive oil (optional). Bake on the oven’s middle rack for about 20 minutes, or until crust edges and golden brown. Cut into slices and serve immediately.