Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fast, Thin and Crispy Crust Pizza

This is the recipe my family always uses when we need a fast pizza dough, it requires virtually no rise-time and bakes up firm and very crisp.
But don't worry if you want to make it ahead, or if you have left over dough, just form into a ball (or balls) and wrap in cling film and store in the refrigerator up to one day, or freeze for longer storage. (See below for directions.)
Fast Pizza Dough
Yields 1 large, 2 medium, or 4 small pizza crusts

Preheat oven t0 500* (F), preferably with a Pizza Stone in place.
Scant 1 Tablespoon active Quick Rise* dry yeast, or 1 packet
Pinch granulated sugar
3/4 cup very warm (not hot) water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: may mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil to the dough mixture
Pizza sauce and toppings of your choice
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water, stir and set aside for 10 minutes. Mixture should begin to bubble and foam at the end of the time (indicating that the yeast is activated & alive.)
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt, set aside.
Add the liquid yeast mixture (and olive oil if using) to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
Flour a work surface and knead dough for a couple of minutes until smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into 1 large, 2 medium, or 4 small pizzas using whatever method you prefer; rolling pin, stretching or off the board between your two hands, in the air.
If you have a pizza peel, sprinkle lightly with corn meal and build your pizza. If not, lightly grease a flat cookie sheet (or inverted jelly roll pan) and build your pizza.
I brush the formed dough very lightly with olive oil (optional), then pizza sauce (not too generously), cheese then any other other ingredients. Keep toppings rather sparse if you want a really crispy crust.

Bake in hot oven until as crispy as desired. Usually 8 to 12 minutes, but this will vary depending upon pizza stone vs. pan and the toppings you have chosen.
You can also make this in a food processor ~
Mix the water, sugar and yeast as directed in a small container.
Place flour and salt in bowl of processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the liquid yeast mixture (and olive oil, if using) and pulse until blended; adding more flour until mixture just forms a ball and the dough follows the blade around the bowl. (Additional flour is needed when using food processor method, because you are not hand-kneading on a floured board). To remove from food processor bowl, flour your hands well, form dough into a ball (or balls) and shape as directed.
* I have made this with regular active, dry yeast and instant yeast with very little difference in outcome. For the past couple of years I have been purchasing SAF Instant yeast in bulk exclusively, so that is what I always use.
Notes for making dough ahead, (or for leftover dough):
If dough has been refrigerated, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface, cover lightly with a floured cloth or cling film and allow to come to room temperature before forming the dough.
If frozen, loosen cling film (but keep covered so it doesn't dry out and form a 'skin') allow to thaw in refrigerator, then bring to room temperature and form dough.

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