Friday, September 21, 2012

Thin Crust Pizza

As I have said before I love experimenting with pizza and pizza dough. I love watching America's Test Kitchen and Cook's County on PBS, and the week I happened to miss it, Jim watched it and said they made an awesome looking pizza that I needed to try. I love that my husband loves trying different recipes too. And he's a good sport in trying some of the things I cook. It's fun being the cook of the house and cooking whatever I happen to be hungry for... my family is at the mercy of my cravings. This pizza dough was awesome!! But it does take time... the dough needs to sit in the refrigerator over night, and then you have to take it out at least an hour before you want to make your pizza, but it's well worth it so plan ahead. To make the pizza in the picture above, I used oven roasted zucchini, and onions (my garden is abundant in those items) and cherry tomatoes. I also used a jarred spaghetti sauce (love Paul Newman's Sockarooni sauce) and a fresh Belgioioso mozzarella cheese. This pizza dough recipe makes two 12-inch thin crust pizzas. YUM!!

Thin-Crust Pizza
adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Dough Ingredients:
3cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more for work surface (Semolina flour is good to coat the pizza peel)
2teaspoons sugar
1/2teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1- 1/3cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2teaspoons table salt

Pizza Toppings:
Pizza Sauce (use your favorite jarred or homemade recipe)
1/2 (about) cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 small zucchini, sliced thinly
1 medium onion,  sliced thinly
(roast your zucchini and onion on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray for about 8-10 minutes in oven while preheating your pizza stone)
1 lb package sliced Belgioioso Mozzarella Cheese (use how much you like)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Step 1--In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.

Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of work bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled counter top until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

Step 2--TO BAKE THE PIZZA: One hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to second highest position (rack should be about 4 to 5 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Shape each half into smooth, tight ball. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray; let stand for 1 hour.

Step 3--Coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on well-floured counter top. Using fingertips, gently flatten into 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. Using hands, gently stretch disk into 12-inch round, working along edges and giving disk quarter turns as you stretch. Transfer dough to well-floured pizza peel and stretch into 13-inch round. (If you don't have a pizza peel, use the back of a cookie sheet and coat well with Semolina flour and a little bit of Corn meal) Using back of spoon or ladle, spread 1/2 cup Pizza sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by the 1/2 of the rest of the pizza toppings (use what I use or your favorite). Slide pizza carefully onto stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through. Remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat the above steps to shape, top, and bake second pizza. Enjoy!!

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