July 29, 2012

Thin Crust Pizza

For this month's Baking Club, we decided to go the savory route with pizza!  In my opinion, pizza is actually a health food.  Hey, hey, keep reading.  Studies show that we should have protein, dairy, carbs, fruits, and veggies daily, right?  Well, pizza gives us carbs (dough), protein (any meat toppings), dairy (cheese), fruits (tomato, pineapple), and veggies (any veggie toppings).  I rest my case, pizza--in moderation--is health food.  ;-)

So, this now raises the question, is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?  Botanically, the tomato is a fruit.  However, here's some foodie law for you: Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 405 (1893) was a Supreme Court decision that affirmed the lower curt ruling that the tomato should be classified under customs regulations as a vegetable rather than a fruit.  The Court was unanimous in their opinion that that the Tariff Act of 1883 used the ordinary meaning of the words "fruit" and "vegetable," under which a tomato is classified as a vegetable, instead of the botanical meaning.  

When I read about this pizza on Annie's Eats, it seemed unlike most pizza dough recipes.  The dough is mixed using ice water, and then it is refrigerated for a few days.  The idea behind the cold water and refrigeration is to keep the dough from over-rising so that the crust stays thin.  I've made this recipe a few times, and the dough tastes most flavorful after being in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

The sauce is so basic, and the simplicity is what makes it so good.  There will be enough sauce for 3-4 pizzas, so you can freeze the extra sauce.  I picked up some great whole-milk mozzarella from Whole Foods and used some imported Parmesan, and good cheese makes a pizza even better.  You can add toppings, but since the crust is thin, it might weigh down the crust.

Please visit the Deep DishDinner or Dessert, the Orgasmic ChefFrom My Sweet Heart, and the Grad School Chef to see their creative takes on pizza.  I look forward to sharing next month's creation!  (And, if you are a blogger interested in joining our baking group, let me know!)

Thin Crust Pizza
Yields 2 13-inch pizzas

16 1/2 oz. bread flour (or 3 cups)
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1/2 cup (1 oz.) finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded whole-milk mozzarella

Lightly oil a medium sized bowl and set aside.

To make the dough, add the flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowls of a food processor fitted with the metal place.  Pulse just to combine.  As the machine runs, add ice water through the feed tube and process until the dough is combined and all dry ingredients are incorporated, about 10 seconds.  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Add the oil and salt to the dough.  Process the dough until it forms a smooth, tacky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, about 30 to 60 seconds.  Remove the dough from the bowl, knead briefly on a lightly oiled work surface, for about 1 minute.  Transfer the dough to the lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours (up to 3 days).  After the refrigerations is completed, the dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for later use.

To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients into the food processor.  Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

One hour before baking, adjust an oven rack to the second highest position and place a baking stone on the rack to preheat.  Preheat the oven to 500ºF.  Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half.  (Note: If you plan to freeze a portion of the dough, this is the time to wrap it in plastic, put it in a freezer bag, and freeze for later use.)  Form each half of the dough into a ball, and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Spray lightly with a a cooking spray, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for an hour.

To assemble the pizza, transfer the dough ball to a well floured work surface.  (Alternatively, you can use semolina flour on parchment paper like I did.)  Flatten the dough into an 8 inch disk, leaving a slightly thicker edge around the rim for the crust.  Using your hands, gently stretch the dough to a 12 inch circle.  (You may need to use a rolling pin.)  Transfer the dough to a well flour pizza peel, and continue to stretch until the dough reaches a 13 inch circle.  Lightly brush the thicker edge of the dough with olive oil.  Spread 1/2 cup of the pizza sauce over the dough.  Sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheese.  Carefully transfer the pizza to the preheated baking stone.  Baking until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: This dough can be made in a stand mixer or by hand.  However, the idea is to avoid warming the dough, so a food processor is ideal.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, which was originally from Cook's Illustrated (January/February 2011)


  1. Oooooh! I love thin crust pizza! You know I'm a yeast newbie so I wouldn't have known about using the cold water. Simple and delicious uber-yum pizza! Great month for baking bluc :)

  2. Claire...this looks like the pizza of my childhood! Over the years, I've realized I love a thin crust over thick. And this looks just fabulous. Love that ooey gooey cheese!
    : )

  3. That pizza makes me so hungry!! I agree with Anne, that's how pizzas looked when I was growing up in Maine. :)

  4. I so think that the simpler the meal, the tastier it is. This pizza must be good, plus I totally agree that it's healthy :)

  5. You make me smile! Talk about putting the law in simply sweet justice :)

  6. There's nothing saying that pizzas can't be healthy! It all depends on what you put on it. :) Your pizza looks so delicious! I'm getting very hungry...

  7. Pizza is always healthy, everything depends on what you put on it and how much you eat ;) Usually I eat too much, hahaha.


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