Sunday, August 28, 2016

Thin and Crispy Pizza Crust

Family pizza night.  An all-American tradition.  Growing up, we would order pizza on Fridays, often from Angelo's, the amazing little family-owned place down the road.  With extra garlic please.  And then while they were making our order we would go across the street to the video rental place to pick out a VHS tape to watch.

Then when I moved halfway across the world as a single missionary, I often crashed Family Night with another missionary family and chatted with my friend, Neva, as she made the crust from scratch (no pizza delivery available back then!) and then we all sat in their living room, the kids on the floor, eating pizza and watching a movie.  I can't tell you how comforting and American and home-like that always felt.

Now I have my own kids.  They are pretty picky eaters, but they all like pizza.  So pizza on Family Movie Nights has also become a tradition here at our house in the village.  Although Domino's now delivers in Kyiv, we live too far away.  So from scratch it is.

I have always struggled to find a good recipe that resulted in a crispy thin crust.  No matter what I did it always turned out kind of, well, limp.  Tasty, yes. But not crispy.

But then, joy of joys, I found this method and recipe which not only turned out a really good crispy crust, but also took a fraction of the time as compared to a yeast crust.  Halleluia! Thank you Pinterest!

So now I share with you.  Here's wishing you and your family many wonderful Friday nights filled with Disney movies and crispy-crusted pizzas.

The Step-by-Step

First turn on the oven to 450F (that's 230C).  Put your empty pizza pans in the oven now. They are gonna get nice and hot.  This recipe makes two large pizzas, so you'll need at least two pans.

Now start mixing your dough.  First the dry ingredients:

Now add the oil, corn syrup and water:

Now mix it all up.  It will look sticky.

Now take a sheet of parchment paper (at least as large as your pizza pan) and put it on the counter.  I dampen the counter first so the paper kind of sticks to the counter and doesn't slide as I roll out the dough.  Sometimes I even weigh down the corners with salt shakers and things. This is seriously the trickiest part of the whole process.

Then divide the dough in half and place half the dough onto the parchment paper.  Add some flour if needed so it's not too sticky.  Roll it out very thinly.  You are going to roll it a bit thinner than pie crust.  It's thin enough that if you tried to pick it up and move it, it would probably rip.  Thus the parchment.  Keep in mind the shape and size of your pan.  I don't worry about exactly perfect.  Just so it doesn't hang off the pan too much.

Now take one of the hot pans out of the oven (carefully!) and bring it to the edge of the counter near the rolled out dough.  Slide the parchment off of the counter onto the pan.  Voila!  Your crust is now on your pan.

Good job.  

*Optional:  If you want extra crispy crust, at this point you can pop the dough in the oven by itself for 5-10 minutes on the bottom rack before adding anything on top.   I like to do this, it makes it just a bit crispier.
Now add your sauce and mozzarella.  Other toppings if you like.  (Keep in mind that piling on the cheese and toppings can make the crust more soggy, so do a meat-lover's double combo at your own risk).

Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes on the bottom rack.

While your first pizza is baking, roll out and top the second crust.  Then when you pull out the first crust, the second will be ready to go on the bottom rack.

Enjoy that crispy crunch along with your family movie this Friday!

The Recipe 


2 1/2 cups flour (plus extra for rolling out)
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
4 t oil
1 T corn syrup
1 c water
Pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, desired toppings

Preheat oven 450F (230C) with two large pizza pans in the oven. (That's REALLY hot! Be careful handling the pans later!)

Mix the ingredients together.

Using water to dampen the counter-top, lay a piece of parchment paper onto the counter and as best you can, try to "stick" it to the counter.  If it's not working, use heavy objects to hold down the corners.

Now divide the dough in two pieces. Roll out half the dough on the parchment until it is a thin sheet about the size of one of the pizza pans.

Remove one pan from the oven.  Slide the parchment together with the crust onto the hot pan.  Top with sauce and cheese and desired toppings.

Return to oven, bottom rack.  Bake pizza for 12-15 minutes.  The cheese should begin bubbling and brown in spots. 

Repeat with the rest of the dough for second pizza.