Monday, April 18, 2011

Thin Pizza Crust

It's been a while since I posted to any of my blogs. Life seems to always get in the way :) Over the weekend, while working on replacing flooring in our playroom/den that abuts the kitchen, I made this recipe for thin pizza crust. It was a big hit. I made one pizza with leftover fajita-seasoned chicken breast (shredded), black beans (smashed) as the "sauce" and co-jack cheese and the other was a traditional "cheese" (with tomato sauce and mozzarella) for my daughter who prefers "plain" pizza. We enjoyed it so much I thought I'd share the recipe with you all! So first are my notes which are followed by the recipe.  Enjoy!

This recipe is based on one from King Arthur Flour. I adapted it to use semolina flour like my chef friends do (you can pick this up at HEB from Bob's Red Mill or online from King Arthur Flour).

 I followed the directions for resting in the refrigerator overnight by placing the dough ball in a large ziptop bag.  Make sure you leave it open a tiny bit for the gasses to escape or your bag may explode! 

After refrigerating overnight, I divide the dough into two balls and rolled/hand-stretched to the desired size/shape. Make sure you stretch the dough using your knuckles instead of fingertips to keep from tearing.

 I did not use a greased pan or parchment paper but instead sprinkled a flat cookie sheet (no edges) with some extra semolina (or could use cornmeal) and then put the crust on that to rest for 30 minutes while the oven preheated. The semolina/cornmeal allows you to just slide the pizza off the cookie sheet and onto your pizza stone. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can just bake it on the cookie sheet as is, but the stone definitely is worth the investment if you bake much pizza or bread for that matter!

 The first pizza I baked straight from it's raw state with toppings on (because I neglected to read the directions!) for 12-14 minutes and it was very good, but the second pizza I par-baked following the directions to bake then top and bake again and it was definitely much crispier. Make sure to allow the pizza to rest on a cooling rack for at least 5-10 minutes or your toppings may just slide right off :)

This crust was perfect! Crispy on the bottom but not tough from overworking, stretched perfectly by hand and had nice flaky layers to it. YUM!

Thin Pizza Crust (or Crackerbread)

3 cups bread flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
seeds, herbs and salt
pizza seasoning; tomato sauce, cooked meats, vegetables, and cheeses of your choice

Dough: Place ingredients in your bread machine in order suggested by manufacturer. Process on "dough" cycle. 

Bake as directed below. Or refrigerate dough for up to 2 days; this step will develop the crust's flavor.

Divide the dough in half (or in thirds, for cracker-thin crust).

Shape each piece into a 10" to 14" circle or rectangle (thicker or thinner crust), and place each on a piece of parchment paper or greased pan.

Allow to rise for 30 minutes or so, covered, while preheating the oven to 475°F.

To make cracker bread, spray the dough with Quick Shine or brush it with garlic oil; and sprinkle with assorted seeds. Or top any way you choose. Bake for 12 minutes, till brown and crisp. For the crispiest pizza, bake the crust for 8 minutes, until set, before topping with sauce and cheese; then bake for an additional 4 minutes.

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