We wanted a nice crisp pizza crust, one that would almost melt in our mouths—crisp almost like a nice cracker. We knew that would take a thin crust and high heat with very little rising of the dough once the crust was formed. We would have liked to have loaded the crust with toppings before baking; to bake the crust and cook the toppings together. We couldn’t. We found that baking the crust with the toppings always compromised the crust; it was never as crispy as we liked.
So we pre-baked the crust and cooked the toppings separately. We added the toppings to the crust and returned the pizza to the oven for only five minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese. Then we had a pizza with a nice crispy crust. To form a uniform, thin pizza crust, the dough must be soft and pliable with minimal spring back. Commercial pizzas are made with a dough relaxer to reduce spring back but to make a thin crust in your kitchen, you can make do with a relatively low protein flour—it’s the protein that forms the gluten which creates elasticity.
This recipe starts with all-purpose flour and tempers it with rye flour. The rye flour dilutes the gluten.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup dark or white rye flour
- 2/3 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
- 1 packet instant dry yeast (7 grams)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Place the wheat and rye flour in the bowl of your stand-type mixer. Add the yeast. Add the water and one tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix with the dough hook for about 30 seconds to distribute and hydrate the yeast.
- Sprinkle the salt into the bowl and continue kneading with the dough hook for about four minutes or until the gluten is developed. Turn the dough out into a large, greased bowl. Turn the dough once to oil both sides.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- To form the pizza crust, place the dough in the center of an oiled 15-inch pizza pan. With your fist or fingers work the dough toward the outer edges of the pan, distributing it evenly. Let the dough relax for five minutes and then finish forming the crust. A pizza roller greatly simplifies the rolling of the dough.
- Brush the crust with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bake for ten to fifteen minutes or until it barely begins to brown. Add any toppings and return to the pizza to the oven for another five minutes or until the cheese melts.