Using this method for thin crust pizzas, you can have a piping hot pizza sitting on the table in as little as 20 minutes including the baking. (We teach a pizza class at our store and so we bake a lot of pizzas. Debbie, one of our instructors, can have a pizza out of the oven in 16 minutes.) Here’s how:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you are going to bake your pizza on a baking stone, place the stone in the oven to preheat. If you are going to bake your pizza on a pan, you will need a 14 or 15-inch dark-colored pan. Do not use light colored pans; they will reflect the heat.
- Mix the dough. Mix the dough according to your recipe or the directions with the mix. (See “What you’ll need.”) If you are using a stand-type mixer, you will need to knead the dough for three minutes with the dough hook. While the dough is kneading gather your toppings.
- Form the crust. Once the dough is kneaded, place the dough on your baking pan if you are going to use a pan or on the counter if you are using a stone. Form the crust using a pizza roller, rolling the dough uniformly to the edges of the pan.
- Spread the sauce. Spread either a white sauce or a marinara sauce on the dough. Spaghetti sauce will do.
- Add the fillings. Place the filling material on in layers. Meats should be precooked. Spinach or meat should go on the bottom. Diced onions, peppers, or olives go in the next layer. Cover with grated cheese. At least some of the cheese should be mozzarella.
- Bake. Bake for 9 to 17 minutes or until the edges of the crust are browned and the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Baking times will vary depending on the pan, the thickness of the crust, and the toppings. (See “What you’ll need.”)
- Serve. Remove the pizza from the oven. Slide the pizza to a cutting board and cut with a pizza roller, butcher knife, or kitchen shears. Serve immediately.
Note that there is no rise time for a thin crust pizza. The pizza dough will rise some as you place the sauce and toppings on the pizza. It will also rise in the oven. This will create a medium thick crust.
- For a thicker crust, let the pizza rise for 20 minutes before placing it in the oven.
- For a very thin crust, roll the pizza crust to a thickness of about 1/8 to 1/4 inches. If you are making a very thin crust, you will only use half of the dough.
- For an extra crispy crust, transfer the pizza to a wire rack half way through baking. The heat from the bottom will make the crust extra crispy.
Baker’s tip: If you are not going to serve your pizza immediately, place the pizza on a wire rack. A hot pizza left on the pan or cutting board will sweat and make the crust soggy.
What you’ll need:
- Dough Relaxer. Dough relaxer relaxes the gluten structure that makes dough tough and difficult to work with. It virtually eliminates springback. It is nearly impossible to make a thin crust pizza without dough relaxer. Quality pizza mixes, like those from The Prepared Pantry, contain dough relaxer or you can buy dough relaxer directly for about a ten cents per pizza.
- Pizza roller. Unless you can twirl and toss, a small pizza and pastry roller is the way to go. It has a rolling surface of three to four inches and is inexpensive and easy to use.
- Pizza pans and stones. By the time the cheese is bubbly, the crust should be thoroughly baked, even to a crisp. That takes a hot pizza stone or a dark pan, preferably a perforated pan.
- Pizza peel. If you are using a stone, you will need a pizza peel, a large thin wooden paddle to transfer your pizza from the counter to the hot stone in the oven and from the oven to the cutting board. If you are using a pan, you won’t need a peel.
- Pizza mixes. Because you don’t have to assemble and measure ingredients, mixes will take about ten minutes out of your prep time—a necessity if you are going to make a pizza in 20 minutes.
If you are going to make your own, what flour should you use?
Pizza doughs should be made with a moderately high protein flour, somewhere between high protein bread flour and all-purpose flour. You can purchase a specialty flour designed for pizzas or mix your own blend. Mix one cup white rye flour or dark rye flour to four cups full strength bread flour. Rye flour adds a nice, almost sourdough like taste. If you don’t have rye flour, you can substitute pastry flour or use all-purpose flour.