Thin-Crust Pizza

Super-thin-crust pizza, topped only with tomato and cheese (either mozzarella or Parmesan/Romano), is the first type of pizza Americans knew, introduced by Neapolitan bakers in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, each new generation of bakers has taken pizza to new heights (literally), with thicker crusts, more toppings, and certainly more variety of flavors. This simple (yet delicious) pizza hearkens back to the days when tomato and cheese were the only toppings people used.

Prep
30 mins
Bake
10 to 15 mins
Total
1 hr 10 mins
Yield
16 slices
Thin-Crust Pizza (Neapolitan Pizza)

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl (or in a bread machine set on the dough/manual cycle), stir together all of the ingredients, then knead for 5 minutes, or long enough to make a fairly firm yet supple dough.

  2. Divide the dough in half. Cover each half with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest and relax for 15 minutes (or longer, for added flavor).

  3. Grease two sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper. Put a piece of dough on one piece of greased paper, then cover with the other piece of paper, greased side down. Roll the dough about 1/8" thick, making a circle (which may escape the confines of the paper), an oval, or whatever irregular shape you like. Let the dough rest in the paper for 5 minutes; this will help prevent it from shrinking. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

  4. Preheat the oven to 425°F. If you have a pizza stone, place it on a lower rack. If you don't have a pizza stone, prepare two baking sheets or large round pizza pans by lightly greasing them, or lining with parchment. (Or, if you've rolled the dough between pieces of parchment rather than waxed paper, you can simply use these to line your pans.)

  5. If you're using a pan, transfer the dough, bottom piece of parchment and all, to the pan. If you're baking on a stone, remove the top piece of parchment, but leave the bottom piece. If you've used waxed paper, peel it off and discard it; it's not oven-safe like parchment is.

  6. While the oven is heating, let the dough rest, covered, for about 30 minutes; or for up to several hours, if you like a slightly thicker crust.

  7. Uncover the dough, and place it in the oven. After 5 minutes, remove it from the oven, and top it with tomato sauce, garlic, and cheese.

  8. Return the pizza to the oven; bake for an additional 5 minutes, then rotate the pans from top to bottom and back to front. Bake 5 minutes more, if necessary, or until the crust is brown.

  9. Remove the pizzas from the oven, and transfer them to a rack. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Slice and serve.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Our Italian-style 00 flour is the best choice for super-thin-crust pizza, as its lower protein level allows you to stretch it very thin indeed, with no fighting back. If you only have all-purpose flour, be aware that to stretch it thin, you'll need to stretch it, then let it rest; stretch, then rest, until it's as thin as you like. In addition, you'll need to increase the amount of water to 1 cup.