Monday, May 11, 2009

Thin-crust pizza margherita

We make pizza every Friday, sometimes more often during the summer when I don't feel like slaving over a hot oven. By my estimates, I've made more than 300 pizza crusts in the past four years. We decided to try a thin crust pizza recently and are hooked! Bonus: it can be made in about an hour.

What you'll need:
a large bowl
strong spatula or wooden spoon
2 tsp sugar or 3 tsp honey
2 1/4 tsp yeast
11/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp oil
paper towel
pizza stone or baking sheet

Pour the water into your large bowl.

Heat in the microwave to about 120 degrees, or until hot to the touch, but you can stand to keep your pinkie finger in it.

Dissolve the sugar/honey in the hot water.

Pour in the yeast.

Let stand 5 minutes or until 'fireworks' bubble to the top of the water.

Wait until the entire surface is covered with foam. Stir well to dissolve any remaining yeast granules on the bottom of your bowl.

Add half of the flour, stirring until blended. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get it all mixed in. Your dough should have a batter-like consistency.

Add another cup of flour and stir until mixed in completely.

Sprinkle salt on the dough. Using the spatula, lift the dough up from the bottom and fold it over the top to trap the salt within the dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes). Add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time as needed to keep it from sticking. When you can knead it ten times without sticking to your hands, it's probably ready.

Shape it into a ball.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with oil, turning to coat top. Cover lightly with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 15 seconds. Repeat ten minutes later, and again ten minutes later. During this time, preheat the broiler.

Cut dough in half and roll out on parchment paper. Thin, thin, thin!

Top with marinara sauce and cheese.

Broil for 7-10 minutes until browned. Snip basil over the pizza.

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