I don’t know of anyone who just doesn’t love a good pizza. Whether it’s a thick crust or a thin one, pizza is a treat you should enjoy at least once a week. I’m the kind of person that likes both types of crusts and sometimes even a deep dish. I enjoy, and in fact crave, both thick and deep dish crusts in the winter when I want something comforting. I love to pile on an assortment of different toppings that have been sautéed ahead of time. Whatever you do, never add raw vegetables to your pizza—this is something that most pizza places do which is why I only will only order a cheese pizza if we order out. Whatever veggies go on the pizza should be pre-cooked, and if you want something raw, add it to your salad!
In the summer I prefer a thinner crust. I find that this crust recipe is just perfect and doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable and too full- and if you want a larger slice, you can indulge without regretting it.
This is one of those recipes that you should file away in your recipe box, because it’s that good. It’s easy to make, and if you make it for the family on a weekly basis you will get used to how the crust should look and feel. Remember that dough is influenced by the weather, so if it’s a rainy day, you may use a little less water than when it’s hot and dry. The most important thing to remember about this dough is that it must rest in the refrigerator for at least a 4 hours or overnight (which is best) to give you a perfectly thin crust. It is much easier to press out thinly into your sheet pan if it has been chilled and has rested.
I have had good luck making this in an aluminum pan, and the crust becomes a nice golden brown color around the edges and underneath. If you plan to cook this on a pizza stone, don’t use the oil in the bowl- just add a thin layer of pan spray on the inside of the bowl so that you can still remove the dough once it has risen. I also make my own pizza sauce in a large batch and then portion it out into smaller containers and keep it frozen. This way, I always have some on hand and don’t have to rely on that terrible stuff in a jar. If you prefer to make a white pizza with an assortment of cheese or just cheese and toppings as more of a flatbread, this crust is great for both of those applications too.
Thin Crust Dough
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
1 to 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons oil (for dough)
2 tablespoon oil for bowl
about 1/2 to 1 cup of Homemade pizza sauce
Toppings**whole milk mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, sautéed vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash or caramelized onions work great
When using dry yeast, remember that the yeast must be awakened and fed, so you must always use some sugar in the dough. I do not like to add the sugar or the salt directly into the yeast because if you are not quick enough you can kill the yeast. Instead, make sure to use the procedure I have outlined here. Add the yeast to the bowl of your stand mixer, combine with 1 cup of the warm water and whisk it together until the yeast has dissolved. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil and whisk again. Next, add the 4 cups of flour and on top of this add the sugar and the salt. Put this to begin mixing with a paddle until everything comes together, and if you prefer, you can then switch to a dough hook. Allow this to start coming together, and add a little extra water at a time until you have a nice smooth dough. Sometimes it takes all of the 1 1/2 cups of water, and other times it takes slightly less. When working with dough you have to remember that environmental factors will play in to how much water you will use. Beat this for about 10 minutes and if you find your dough rising up the stem of the paddle/dough hook, make sure to stop the mixer and pull it back down into the bowl. Once it is ready, add the other 2 tablespoons of oil into a large bowl and use your hand to coat the inside of the bowl. Pour the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic and tea towels and allow it to rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours depending on how warm the environment is.
When the dough is ready, pour it out onto your baking dish and use your fingers to work it out to the edges.
Add 8-12 tablespoons of sauce, gently spreading all over pizza. Don’t add too much or the dough will have a hard time cooking all the way through. Use the back of a large spoon to spread sauce all over the dough. If you prefer no sauce then make a white pizza with an assortment of your favorite cheese.
Preheat your oven to 500°F, and place your pizza tray on the lowest rack. This will help the crust cook fairly quickly before the top takes on too much color. Keep an eye on it because in about 10-15 minutes, you’ve got dinner! This one was a quick and simple cheese pizza, just perfect for a warm summer night.