I love my recipe for herbed thin crust pizza. It wasn’t that I had a wandering eye. I happened to see that there was this recipe that could sit in the refrigerator for a few days before you needed it. A recipe that you could freeze. A recipe that looked, well, easier than my already-easy recipe.
Dear reader, as much as I love my herbed pizza crust recipe, this is the best homemade pizza crust I’ve ever tasted. It’s my new favorite.
Light, chewy, not-too-thick, and easy as can be–what’s more to want? Well, I do like the flavor of herbs in the crust, so I might just try adding some oregano and garlic next time. But really, this was delicious.
I think the key is the use of the bread flour, which has a higher gluten content, making for a chewier crust. This dough was really easy to work with, and can sit in the refrigerator up to 3 days before being used (I made mine on day 3). We also froze the second half, and it was perfect when we used it later.
Brushing the crust with a light layer of olive oil and pre-baking it gives it a delicious texture and assures you won’t have soggy pizza. This wasn’t crunchy by any means, just perfectly cooked through and golden.
As for the pizza combination you see pictured, it’s one of my favorites. We just used about 1/2c of store-bought basil pesto (I’ve used Giada DiLaurentiis’s brand and Classico brand with good results), 2 thinly sliced roma tomatoes, mozzarella, and about 1/4c good-quality parmesan cheese. Easy-peasy.
To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a mixer. Pulse just to combine. With the machine running, add the cold water and process just until the dough is combined and all dry ingredients are incorporated, about 10 seconds. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
Add the oil to the dough. Process until the dough forms a smooth, tacky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, about 30-60 seconds. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead briefly on a lightly floured work surface, about 1 minute. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. (After refrigerating, the dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, placed in a zip-top bag and frozen for later use.)
The dough will not have risen much. Don’t worry, this is normal!
One hour before baking the pizza, preheat the oven to 500˚ F. Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator and divide in half. Form each half into a ball, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. (If you plan to freeze a portion of the dough, this is the time to wrap in plastic, place in a freezer bag and freeze for later use.)
To assemble the pizza, flatten dough into an 8-inch disk on the baking sheet, then gently stretch the dough to a roughly 12-inch circle (using a rolling pin if necessary).
Lightly brush the dough with olive oil. Bake 5-8 minutes. Top with sauce and desired toppings and return to oven. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned, another 8-10 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Makes 2 small pizzas
*Dough will keep in the freezer about 2 months.
*To use frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or about 8 hours before using.