I really love a fresh, crispy pizza with a thin, chewy crust. The kind of pizza that comes from walk up windows on sidewalks at bar time with crust textured with bits of cornmeal; a crispy, chewy “bone” holding a long triangle slice of sauce and toppings.
I’ve been on the hunt for a delicious crust recipe that I could make to emulate my memories of a proper NY crust pizza, but at home. I read a number of articles, tips and tricks, from my favorite recipe developers – America’s Test Kitchen and Epicurious, mostly – and kneaded a number of dough batches with varying degrees of success.
What surprised me, was that the same recipe that I use for pretzels and flatbread could be used for pizza dough with a few tweaks. What appeared to make the most difference the in the quality of the pizza had to do with raising/rolling the dough and the heat of the oven. I found that placing the pizza on a preheated cookie sheet in the bottom of the oven (near the elements) worked pretty good at getting a chewy, crispy crust. A kneading of 5min, until stretchy, was also helpful.
Toppings can make or break a good pizza crust. Mushrooms, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, pizza Sauce, pepperoni, peppers, pineapples, and Parmesan cheese can be easily sourced at your local dollar store for a variety of toppings. This recipe will make four individual pizzas (about 10″) and each can be dressed-up according to taste.
In the preheated 450F oven, the pizzas should cook in less than 15 minutes, which makes them a good meal when you’re in a hurry. Make a batch of dough ahead of time and freeze in rolled out crusts for an easy dinner. Allow the kids to use the frozen crusts to dress up their own dinner to get them involved and rack up some of that precious quality time.
Definitely the best crust I’ve made. Chewy and crispy.
NY Style Pizza – At Home!
1/4 oz yeast (a packet)
1c. warm water
1-2tsp. salt (to taste)
1-2tsp. sugar (to taste)
Knead, adding flour if necessary, for about 5 minutes; until smooth and stretchy. The dough is ready when a finger poke quickly bounces back.
Let the dough rest for about an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down and divide into four portions.
Preheat oven to 450F with a cookie sheet on a lower rack, near the heat coils. It is important that the cookie sheet be preheated with the oven.
Roll the portions out on a floured surface until thin and about 10″ across. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peel and top the pizza dough with your favorite toppings. Slide the pizza off the peel, onto the preheated cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes. Dough should be stiff, and cheese should be browned when done. Check the bottoms of the pizzas to make sure they don’t burn.
If the bottoms are browning too quickly, raise the oven rack.