Friday, September 28, 2012

How To Make Homemade Thin-Crust Pizza Dough

By Dru Chai

I've always got BBQ on my mind, but pizza has really started to creep into my cranium. Ever since I started grilling my own pizza, I've been wanting to perfect my homemade pizza dough. Even though I don't discriminate and love all types of pizza, my favorite is NY-style thin crust. I love being able to pick up a slice with one hand, make the fold, then go to town with all that hot and cheesy goodness. My philosophy is -- if it didn't burn the roof of my mouth, I didn't eat it right.

Well, after some homemade pizza dough experiment failures, I think I may have found the best thin crust pizza dough recipe. If you search online for "home made pizza dough," you'll find all sorts of variations of this recipe. But the ingredients are only half the story -- it's what you do afterwards that affects the dough. It's a simple recipe that I've tried several times with the most consistent results.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough Recipe:

1 package instant dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 cups flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Combine sugar, yeast, and water. Whisk, then wait 15-20 minutes for yeast to activate (see tiny bubbles).
2. Stir in olive oil and salt.
3. Add flour, hand mix into a ball (it's more fun, and make sure your hands are clean).
4. Knead dough several times around 10 minutes.
5. Place ball of dough in bowl, spread with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap or towel.
6. Let rise for at least 2 hours, or even better... overnight in the fridge.
7. Portion either 2 or 3 balls, smooth out the top surface. When ready, flatten out really thin. I like to use hands to slowly push out the outer edges to make a round pizza (or go abstract shaped).
8. Put toppings on (I first sprinkle cheese, then dabs of sauce -- too much makes the bottom crust soggy), brush olive oil and/or sprinkle garlic power on crust. Don't go overboard with the toppings, I say no more than 3.
9. Put pizza in oven at hottest temp (mine is 550F) for 5-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your pizza. If you want to grill the pizza, check out my top 5 tips.
10. Enjoy pizza. Burn roof of your mouth!

So soft and pillowy -- I just love making homemade pizza dough

Go easy on the toppings -- for this one, I used mushrooms and hot dogs!

If done right, the pizza should have a crispy and flavorful crust on the outside, but still a little bit of "springy" chew on the inside. Of course, it would be nice to have your own wood-burning oven in your backyard, to go along with some pizza stones or pizza pans. Next time, I'm going to use some pulled pork or chopped brisket to top my homemade pizza. Oh yeah!