Neapolitan Thin Crust Pizza
- prep time 30 min
- total time 105 min
- serves 16
2 cups warm water (100 degrees Farenheit)
½ teaspoon active dry yeast
5 cups all purpose, unbleached, unsifted flour
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar (turbinado)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Equipment: Rectangular ceramic pizza baking stone Heavy duty whisk (thick wire) Rubber spatula Measuring spoons Medium sized mixing bowl Wooden peel Metal peel Pizza cutter Metal dough scraper or dough cutter Thermometer 2” pastry brush Rolling pin (barrel pin with no handles works best)
2. Remove the top rack from the oven (to allow for more space). Place the pizza stone (if you’re using one) on the lower rack. A cookie sheet can be used if you do not have a pizza stone but you do not have to preheat it.
3. Preheat oven to 500-550 degrees Farenheit. Heat up the pizza stone for at least 30 minutes. Choose an open workspace; counter or large cutting board.
4. Pour the warm water into the mixing bowl. Add the yeast and turbinado sugar and mix together with the whisk. Continue mixing and slowly add four cups of flour. Mix completely. The dough should be very thick and lump free. Remove the whisk and set aside.
5. Place one cup of flour on the countertop. With your hand, form a circular depression in the middle of the flour, leaving some flour on the bottom. With a rubber spatula, transfer the dough to the flour.
6. Using the heels of your hands, slowly knead the flour and dough together. Scrape under the dough (with the dough scraper) and add more flour underneath as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. Add more flour as needed. Work the dough by hand so that it’s not too loose or sticky. Knead in the sea salt.
7. Continue kneading the dough for three minutes. Cut the dough in half with the dough scraper and examine the interior; if the dough is too soft, the “wall” will slump down. In this case, continue kneading and slowly add more flour. The dough is ready when the interior wall remains upright and vertical. If too much flour is added, the dough becomes unworkable.
8. Cut the dough in four equal portions and shape each into a ball. With the pastry brush and olive oil, coat a tray or plate with a light coating of olive oil. Place the dough balls on it and paint each dough ball with a light layer of olive oil. Allow the dough to rest (proof) at room temperature for approximately 20-30 minutes.
9. To form the pizza, roll out the dough ball on a floured surface with the rolling pin. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the ball to keep it from sticking. To make a round pizza, continuously flip the pizza “skin” over and over as you roll it. The crust will get thinner and thinner as you go. Add a little flour to both sides if needed to avoid any sticking. Fix any holes by pinching the dough back together.
10. When the pizza is about 14 inches wide, rub a micro layer of flour across the top of the skin, then flip it over and onto the wooden peel. If you do not have a peel, use a cookie sheet. Shake the peel to make sure the skin slides easily. If not, add additional flour and repeat.
11. Decorate the pizza with a thin layer (1/8th inch) of quality sauce. Leave a one-inch border (the cornicione, or crust) at the outer edge. Distribute a light layer of your favorite cheeses, including mozzarella on top. Add additional toppings (precooked meats or raw vegetables) on top of the cheese. Garnish the pizza with a pinch of freshly chopped parsley and dried Italian herbs. Overall, the fewer the toppings the better: less is more.
12. Carefully pat down all of the toppings so they won’t slide around and test-shake the pizza to make sure it will slide off the peel. Shake the peel again a bit as you slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Cook for 8-15 minutes or until the cornicione is golden brown. Remove the pizza with the metal peel and let it cool for a minute or two before cutting and serving.
13. If you are using a cookie sheet, it is not necessary to preheat it. Paint a light layer of olive oil on top of the sheet, and place the skin on it. Then add sauce, cheese and toppings.