This has been my favorite pizza crust for about a year, and I’ve totally been holding out on you guys. I’m so sorry! I love thin crust pizza, so of course the thin, crispy crust is a winner in that regard. What I also love about it is that it requires 24 hours of refrigeration before using, and no active rise time on the counter or anything. So, it works out well if you want to make the dough on a Saturday or Sunday and make the actual pizza early in the week. The dough comes together in no time at all.
When you make this crust (and yes, I said “when” and not “if”), you’ll want to keep the toppings pretty simple, so you don’t just overload it or make it too heavy. One of my favorite pizzas ever is margherita, and the toppings work pretty perfectly here, especially because tomatoes are so wonderful right now. I’ve often had margherita pizza with slices of fresh tomatoes and no real “sauce” and while I still adore those versions, I like that in this version the tomatoes are quickly run through the food processor. This way you have something more of a sauce, but it’s still fresh, uncooked, and all about the tomatoes.
One thing I can promise you is that no matter how long I have this blog and no matter how many pizzas I cook, I will never be able to get a round pizza. This was the closest I’d ever gotten. I rolled it into a near perfect circle – my geometry teacher would have been so proud. I don’t have a pizza peel, and I thought I’d devised a great new method for transferring the tough (super thin baking sheet with cornmeal, and a piece of parchment over less than half of it so I could yank it out once the dough made it to the stone. Yeah…no. It didn’t work. A quarter of my dough ended up hanging off the edge of the stone as I frantically tried to maneuver the whole thing over a few inches – always fun to do with a stone that has been sitting in a 500 degree oven for a while. Good times. I managed to get it all back on the stone, but certainly not in a perfectly shaped circle.
Thankfully, it doesn’t matter what shape your dough turns out—this pizza will always taste great.
Thin Crust Pizza Margherita
Method for “sauce” from The Kitchn
1/2 recipe thin crust pizza dough (recipe follows)
2/3 lb. ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 large handful fresh basil, whole or sliced
5-6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Adjust the oven rack to the second-highest position and place the stone on it. Heat the oven to 500 (if possible, keep the oven on for some additional time before baking the pizza – the longer the stone is in there, the better). Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set on a lightly oiled surface, loosely covered in plastic wrap, to reach room temperature.
Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into wedges, and cut away the stem. Gently squeeze the wedges over a bowl to remove the excess seeds and juice. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, and 2-3 basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until the tomatoes break down into a sauce. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface (or roll right onto parchment paper). Flatten the dough ball into an 8″ disc, leaving a slightly thicker edge around the rim. Using your hands (and a rolling pin, if necessary), stretch the dough to a 13″ circle. Transfer to a pizza peel or thin rimless baking sheet, if using to transfer to stone.
Lightly brush the edge of the dough with olive oil. Spread the tomato sauce over the pizza round and top with the mozzarella, leaving space between each piece of mozzarella.
Transfer the pizza to the hot stone and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is nicely browned. Sprinkle with the basil and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Thin Crust Pizza Dough
Yields two 13″ pizzas
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1-1/3 cup ice water
1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1.5 tsp. salt
Combine the flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse just to combine. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and process until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, about 10 seconds. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Add the oil and salt to the dough; process until the dough forms a smooth, tacky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, about 30 seconds. Remove the dough and knead briefly on a lightly oiled work surface (about 1 minute). Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. (After the period of refrigeration, the dough can be wrapped and frozen for later use.)