Growing up, homemade pizza was a rare thing. We lived in a small town and ordering a pizza for delivery was pretty novel. I distinctly remember when a second pizza place opened and it became a battle between family members on which restaurant would get our Friday-night order. When we did have homemade pizza, it often came in the form of French bread pizza or a prepared crust. And it’s really no wonder- pizza takes time and time is not usually something you have extra of when you’re thinking of pizza.
Since becoming a bona fide adult who actually derives pleasure from scratch baking, finding that perfect crust recipe has been a challenge. Sure, I can order pizza, but I want to make it myself. I’ve tried ‘perfect’ recipes, whole grain recipes, no-knead recipes, overnight recipes… some better than others. But after all the work to mix, knead, and raise that perfect dough, I’ll take one bite and think it would have just been better to order delivery. I’ve read articles and asked my chef friends for tips, but short of putting in my own wood-fired oven, the solution is invariably just a good recipe (and a pizza stone).
Note: If you are really interested in the best crust you can make, a pizza stone is one kitchen implement that will help you take your pizza to the next level. Truly. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. If homemade pizza is a rare indulgence, don’t bother. No one needs a huge hunk of stone laying around their kitchen that they aren’t using often.
This recipe was a game-changer at my house. Easy, reliable and, most importantly, delicious. Note that I did not say ‘quick’. Homemade pizza is rarely quick. From my experience, those recipes that are quick do not yield the same texture as one that has to rise. The upside of this? Turns out, overnight pizza dough is amazing. Overnight is not required, but it’s a great way to cut down on time. Make the dough on Sunday, let it rise, then stick it in the fridge. Monday night, your dinner is as simple as spreading the dough and popping it in the oven. Dough that rests overnight will have a slight sourdough tang to it the longer it rests and it will be a bit chewier.
At my house, we like thin, crispy pizza. If you tend toward the thicker, deep dish pizzas, this is not the recipe for you. I’m grateful to have found my go-to recipe. Now I just have to figure out how to top it.
Thin and Crispy Pizza Crust
STEP 1 Combine the water and yeast in a large bowl. Add flour and salt and mix until a shaggy dough forms.
STEP 2 Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until smooth, elastic and slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. If dough is too sticky, knead in more flour until smooth, one tablespoon at a time. Place dough in oiled bowl and turn to coat. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Dough can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 3 days.
STEP 3 Heat oven to 500ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough and form each piece into a disk. Place disks on prepared baking sheets. Working from the center of each disk, gently press and stretch dough to 1/4-inch thick.
STEP 4 Top with favorite sauce and toppings.
STEP 5 Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Makes two pizzas.