Make It At Home: Thin Crust Pizza

Though we at KCET Food have tried our darndest to abolish the myth that there's no good pizza to be found in L.A., the lie still persists. But then we realized: everyone could always, you know, make their own pizza!

This recipe comes from KCET cooking show Cook's Illustrated, so you know it is both perfectly delicious and high-maintenance. Don't despair if you are without a food processor or a pizza peel, just make do without it. The only tricky bit is that you do need to start the dough a day ahead of time.

This particular recipe is for a simple cheese pizza, but if you're adding toppings use the following Cook's Illustrated tips:

No more than six ounces of veggies per pizza, thinly sliced and sauteed.

No more than four ounces of meat per pizza, pre-cooked.

Place herbs and greens under the cheese, or add them after cooking the pizza.

Let us know if your homemade pizza is better than any SoCal restaurant!

Photo courtesy America's Test KitchenThin Crust Pizza
Makes two 13-inch pizzas
For the dough:
3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more for work surface (though if you have semolina flour for the work surface, use that instead)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

For the sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid discarded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the cheese:
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)

To prep the dough: In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add 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 a satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop 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.

For the sauce, process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to medium bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

To bake the pizza: One hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to the second highest position (rack should be about 4 to 5 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. (No pizza stone? Use an oiled, upside-down baking sheet.) Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Shape each half into a smooth, tight ball. Place 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 countertop. 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 peel and stretch into 13-inch round. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella.

Slide pizza carefully onto stone 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 step 5 to shape, top, and bake second pizza.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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