Saturday, November 5, 2011

Easy Thin Crust Pizza Dough

This is a simple and versatile recipe. Use it for pizza, calzones, or even breadsticks! I love me a good pizza dough, plus it is a bit healthier by using whole wheat flour. But it doesn't taste healthy so I love it! The honey adds some great flavor without being overly sweet.

Whole recipe makes 2 Medium thin-crust pizzas or 3 personal-size calzones

1 package active dry or fresh yeast (a.k.a. 2 1/2 tsp)
1 pinch of sugar
1 - 2 tsp honey (your favorite kind)
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (finer ground than plain whole wheat flour, rises better)
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper and dry italian herbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 400+ degrees.
In a small (non-metal) bowl, dissolve the yeast, honey, and pinch of sugar in 1/4 cup warm water for a few minutes to make the yeast happy & bubbly (or activate the yeast if you want to be technical about it). 

Here you have to choose:
I throw all the ingredients into a bread maker on the dough setting. Super easy. Just roll out, decorate and bake.
If you don't have one then you can definitely make it by hand in a big bowl and mix with a spatula (sometimes I do this if I only make a half recipe). 

In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt (and herbs if you want). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, the yeast mixture, plus the remaining 3/4 cup of water.

Mix until the entire mixture clumps into a big ball. Either knead the dough by hand or just fold it over and over with the spatula for a couple minutes. The dough should be smooth and firm.

Cover the bowl of dough with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let it rise in a cool spot for about 2 hours. It'll puff up a bit so you know your yeast is fresh and doing it's thing.

Divide the dough into 2 balls (or however many you want). If you want to get crazy you could keep it as one super thick crust... but I'm impatient when I smell pizza baking so I prefer the quick, thin-crust route. 
Roll the ball out to your desired thickness (with a rolling pin or just stretch it for that rustic, homemade look). Carefully place dough on a pizza stone or pizza pan/cookie sheet sprayed with oil or dusted with cornmeal to keep from sticking.

Add your favorite sauce and toppings. (I love lots of thin-sliced veggies, roasted garlic and prosciutto on mine, yum.)

Bake at least 10 - 12 minutes, more depending on the thickness of crust. If it is still floppy/soft in the center when lifted with a utensil, keep baking until nicely browned and crisp.

Let cool, don't burn yourself now. I know it smells good, but wait a moment for it to cool, then cut, and serve! 

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