July 14, 2011

Chicago Style Thin Crust Pizza

I've been searching for the perfect pizza crust recipe for years now. I should say the perfect two pizza crusts-'deep dish and thin crust'. I've tried a dozen or so recipes; most of them have been okay, but they're kind of 'bready'. A friend gave me a copy of the book American Pie and I'm excited to experiment with some of the recipes. After trying this one I found in a magazine, I think I can say this is the winner in the thin crust category. It was excellent-the closest thing to a Giordano's or Edwardo's that I've ever made! I'm sure it helped that I had my baking stone preheated.

3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 to 2-1/8 cups flour
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil for top of dough

Pour water into a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes or until yeast is dissolved. Add 1 cup of the flour, 2 teaspoons oil and salt. Slowly stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead the dough on lightly floured surface 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and clean towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size. Meanwhile, place baking stone on bottom rack; heat oven to 475 for at least 45 minutes. Gently punch down dough to deflate; place on lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 pieces, rolling into 7-inch rounds, or into 2 pieces, rolling into 14-inch rounds. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza peel; place dough on peel. Spread dough rounds evenly with the 2 teaspoons olive oil. Assemble pizza with desired toppings and slide pizzas, in batches if necessary, onto hot baking stone. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown on bottom and edges. Makes 4 individual or 2 small pizzas.

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