Over the past year, I have been on a search for a thin crunchy pizza crust similar to the pizzas that we had in Italy or that you get at restaurants with a wood fired oven. Everything I tried turned out too thick, yeasty, or doughy. Earlier this summer, my friend Sally posted photos of the pizza that she made with her daughters that looked amazing. She kindly shared her recipe with me and I made it last night. BINGO! Perfectly thin and crunchy, exactly what I was looking for. My search is over.
Here is her recipe, along with the adaptations I made to do the kneading and rising of the dough in my bread maker. (I never knead dough by hand if I can do it in my bread machine!)
Sally's Pizza Crust
1 package of yeast (I used pizza yeast, not sure if that is necessary)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup cold water (Use warm if using a bread machine.)
3 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water with a little white sugar. Let proof 10 minutes until frothy.
Meanwhile, combine the salt, honey, olive oil, and cool water in a small bowl. (I used warm water which I think works better for the bread machine.) Mix well.
If mixing by hand: Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the honey-water mixture and yeast into the well. Slowly incorporate flour/salt into the wet ingredients, working outward from the center. When dough is formed, transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth. Place in a buttered bowl and let rest, covered, for 30 mins.
If using a bread machine: Measure the flour and salt into your bread machine. Add the liquid and the yeast mixtures and knead using the dough cycle, following directions for your machine. After 15 minutes, check the dough. If it seems dry, add a bit warm water a teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together. I left the dough to rise in my machine for the 1.5 hour cycle.
Divide dough into 4 parts. Roll into tight balls. Place on a flat dish and cover with dish towel. Put in fridge at least 2 hours. Take out 1 hour before baking.
Lightly flour work suface, and roll out each pizza dough ball into a thin crust.
Place on a wooden pizza paddle that has been dusted with cornmeal. Add the toppings that you desire.
Bake them in the oven at 500 degrees on a pizza stone for 10 -12 minutes. (Watch carefully, it took less time in my oven.) You also could put your pizza stone on the grill and cook the pizzas outside (Sally's suggestion).
Makes 4 pizzas, about 12 inches wide.