Easy Basic Thin Crust Pizza Dough and a Few Yeast Bread Facts

I wanted to share this great basic thin crust pizza dough recipe with you. It is a great basic cooking skill to have in your repertoire because it is so versatile. It is a simple yeast dough and it is easy to make because it does not involve the rising and proofing that most other yeast breads require.

Just mix it up and roll it out and bake. It is lovely and light but also very satisfying. It can also be frozen successfully so you can make a batch or two ahead and then just thaw over night in the fridge when you need it.

I prefer a thin crust pizza like the recipe below because it is less filling and the tasty toppings can take center stage.

This makes two very thin 12 inch pizza bases or one thicker 12 inch base. I like the very thin option and will freeze half the dough for later.

The Ingredients

1 pack active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup hot (not boiling) water
2- 2 1/2 cups strong white (bread) flour
1 generous pinch course sea salt

The Tools

Nothing out of the ordinary. You hands and a rolling pin are quite important. If you have a proper pizza pan or stone then YAY! But a regular baking sheet will do.

The Method

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; allow to rest for about 10 minutes. It should be frothy.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups of the flour and salt
  3. If you are going to be making up the pizza right away now it the time to turn on your oven to its highest setting to pre-heat
  4. Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well
  5. Add flour until it becomes easy to handle and turn out on to a floured work surface
  6. Knead for about 2 minutes (set your timer!) Adding enough flour as you go so that the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  7. For the two base version divide the dough in half and roll into balls
  8. Let the dough rest for a couple minutes but no more that or or it will start to rise which you do not really want
  9. Take one ball and flour your work surface again and roll out into a circle
  10. The dough is quite resilient so it will take some stretching to get it to 11-12 inches and stay there. It will be about half a centimetre thick (sorry I just can not think in inches when that is about 1/8 inch?)
  11. Place the base on your ungreased sheet and slather with what ever toppings you choose
  12. Bake in a very hot oven until the toppings are bubbling and the edges are golden brown
  13. Remove, slice, and eat immediately!

Recommendations

This pizza base recipe is great because it is strong enough to really load up but tasty enough to almost stand on its own.

You can go for the traditional tomato sauce and mozzarella or if you want to try something a bit different go naked. That is forgo the tomato sauce and brush with pesto and top that with a little bit of basil or rocket, Gorgonzola and prosciutto.

Other interesting toppings to try are caramelized onion, olive oil and zathar, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes, cooked baby shrimp, roast garlic, and just about any cheese you can name.

You are not limited to the 12 inch crust here either. Roll out smaller portions for delicious little cocktail pizzas.

There is also the option of baking the crust, letting it cool and topping it with cold toppings. For your mini cocktail pizzas picture cream cheese and caviar or smoked salmon!

This dough freezes very well. Wrap it up in a freezer bag allowing a little room for expansion and the dough will rise a bit before it freezes. When you need it let it thaw in the fridge and give it a bit of a knead before rolling out.

The Science

For the geekier among my readers I thought I would include some domestic science facts about yeast spreads that may encourage you to experiment with coming up with your own yeast dough. There are a few things, if you know them, that will help you make better decisions in formulating your yeast recipes.

Yeast spreads use carbon dioxide to rise and this carbon dioxide is produced by the yeast. Yeast is a living thing and like all living things it needs to warmth, food, and water into order to survive. If it does not have enough to eat or if it gets too cold or too hot it will die.

All bread dough recipes will have some sort of sugar in them. Even if it is just a pinch. It could be regular white sugar or brown or even honey. In the end it is all sugar of some kind. The yeast consumes the sugar and water and excretes carbon dioxide.

To put it bluntly: yeast farts make your bread rise.

If the yeast is dead your dough will not rise. This is why it is important to mix the yeast and sugar before adding the flour. If the sugar / water mix goes frothy then you know the yeast is working.

Flour contains a protein called gluten and the more it is worked the stretchier it becomes. The stretchier your gluten the easier it is for the gas made by the yeast to push the dough up. You make your gluten stretchy by kneading it. Kneading also takes the gas out of your bread dough. Yes this is confusing until you look at the process of making different kinds of spreads.

Dough is allowed to rise twice in most cases. You mix the dough and knead it to start activating the gluten and then let it rest to rise. After rising you knead it again, shape it, and then let it rise a second time before baking.

In the context of the thin crust pizza it makes sense. You only knead for about two minutes so the gluten does not get worked much and that makes it more difficult for the dough to rise. This is what keeps keep it thin. You also bake it immediately after mixing and kneading. It does not get a chance to rise much before you kill off the gas producing yeast in a very hot oven.



Source by Clarissa Hancock