We’ve been making this Thin Crust Pizza ever since we saw the America’s Test Kitchen episode on TV. And, let me tell you, it rivals the best pizzeria! (Yes, I’m a huge fan of ATK; I think they do an awesome job!) This pizza is full of flavor. It’s crispy, but not hard. The dough is flavorful and chewy. The sauce is rich and tomato-y. And that ooey gooey cheese that’s browned all over, well, it’s everything you want in a pizza.
I decided not to use the ATK pizza sauce, and instead created my own pizza sauce using tomato paste as the base. The husband and I wanted a thicker more flavorful sauce than ATK had for this recipe. In fact, it was the husband who suggested that tomato paste might be the answer to the perfect sauce. And, he was right!
As for the toppings, I like a simple cheese pizza. The husband likes pepperoni on his half. In the future, I may try adding some lightly sautéed, thinly sliced red onion to my half of the pizza.
Dan and I have fun when we make this at home. We go into the kitchen together and work as a team to create this wonderful experience. Go Team Pizza! It smells awesome in the house as it bakes! I like making it myself because I know what goes into it. I know there’s no trans-fats, no fillers, and no preservatives. Also, it’s way cheaper.
A medium Pepperoni Pizza from Round Table (a 12-inch pizza) goes for $14.50 right now (I price checked this, there may be deals, coupons, and location differences, but this is my local place’s current regular price).
And, the homemade version? All regular prices, again, sales, store brands, and coupons may come into play, but these are my store’s regular prices:
- Bread Flour: 3 cups = .75 cents. I buy King Arthur Flour, 5 lb bag at $4.69. That’s 19 cups. That’s .25 cents per cup.
- Yeast: ½ teaspoon = .10 cents. I buy a small jar at $6.99 each. It has 35.5 teaspoons in it. That’s about .20 cents per teaspoon.
- Sugar, tap water, oil, and salt are all negligible, at most, they would total $1.00.
- 1 can tomato paste = .99 cents
- Spices and water, again negligible, so I’ll round to $1.00
- Cheese: $3.50. Precious Mozzarella (pricier than the store brand) = $6.99 for 16 ounces.
- Pepperoni: $1.30 for 2 pizzas. $2.59 per package that we buy, covers 4 pizzas for us (remember I don’t eat the pepperoni).
So for 2 pizzas, dough costs, at most $1.85
Pizza sauce = $1.99
Cheese = $3.50
Pepperoni = $1.30
Homemade Total for 2 pizzas= $8.64
vs. Delivery = $29 + tip
That’s a savings of 20 bucks!
Food Processor: To mix the dough. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this in a stand mixer with the dough attachment. I’ve also done it by hand a couple of times and it’s pretty easy this way too.
Pizza Stone: If you don’t have a pizza baking stone, bake the pizzas on an overturned and preheated rimmed baking sheet. But, I highly recommend a pizza stone; they rock! And, you can bake all kinds of stuff on it like cookies or loaves of bread.
Pizza Peel: not necessary, but makes it so much easier to get the pizzas in and out of the oven. We just got ours after having made these pizzas many times!
Pizza Cutting Wheel: One of those cool round pizza cutters, not only do you look cool using them, they help to cut faster and more evenly. But, don’t fret if you don’t have one, just use a sharp knife.
Homemade Thin Crust Pizza
Makes 2 13-inch pizzas, enough for 4 hungry adults
3 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface*
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water**
1 tablespoon light tasting oil, like grapeseed or olive oil, plus more for work surface
1 ½ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
Cornmeal for dusting
*Cook’s notes: I like to use a mixture of cornmeal and flour on the pizza peel. Cornmeal has a nice crunchy texture and a pleasing taste in the final baked pizza.
**It’s important to use ice water in the dough to prevent overheating the dough while in the food processor.
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/3 cup water
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon red chile flakes, optional
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, and refrigerate at least one hour before using.
8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
Pepperoni: no more than 4 ounces per pizza
Vegetables: Aim for a maximum of 6 ounces per pizza, spread out in a single layer. Vegetables such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms should be thinly sliced and lightly sautéed before using.
Delicate Veggies & Herbs: Leafy greens and herbs like spinach and basil are best placed beneath the cheese to protect them or added raw to the fully cooked pizza.
FOR THE DOUGH: In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add ice water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.
Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of work bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled counter until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
Proofing in the fridge leads to less rise, a more flexible dough that holds its shape, and a thinner (and more flavorful) crust.
TO BAKE THE PIZZA: 30 minutes (if you have a good oven) to one hour (if your oven is a little slow) before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to second highest position (rack should be about 5 to 6 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 ° F. Baking the pizza on the top rack (rather than the usual approach of placing it near the bottom of a home oven) means the heat will hit the top of the pizza, browning the toppings before the crust overcooks.
Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Shape each half into smooth, tight ball. Place dough balls on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray; let stand for 1 hour.
Coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on well-floured counter. Using fingertips, gently flatten into 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. Using hands, gently stretch disk into 12-inch round, working along edges and giving disk quarter turns as you stretch. Transfer dough to well-floured or a well-cornmealed peel and stretch into 13-inch round.
Using back of spoon or ladle, spread ½ cup sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving ¼-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Place any additional toppings on top of cheese (but remember, an overloaded pizza will bake up soggy).
Slide pizza carefully onto pizza stone using the peel, and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through. Remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Repeat for shaping, topping, and baking second pizza.