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Making great thin crust pizza

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Home Cooking

Making great thin crust pizza

Puffin3 | Jan 15, 2012 03:13 PM

Why do so many (cough) pizza joints come and go? I mean it's not that hard to make a great thin crust pizza. I used to get authentic pizzas in Sanremo. This fantasy that pizza MUST be made using a screaming hot oven is just that. The joke is that the cost of heating an 'authentic' pizza oven was/is economically prohibitive anywhere in S. Italy. or even in Kits. Always has been. Remember that hundreds of years ago the Italians had basically cut down every tree surrounding the Med.
You want the best pizza you've ever tasted? Cover your middle oven rack with refractory oven tiles (and leave them there forever like Julia Child did). Make your basic pizza dough. Shape into 1/4-3/8 inch thick rounds or whatever. Preheat for an hour the oven to 375 F. Initially you'll have to sprinkle some cornmeal on the new tiles to prevent sticking but after a year or so the tiles will be glazed enough from the olive oil from the dough you won't need to. I made a stiff cardboard circle the same size as the pizza round so I can slide the pizza round onto the cardboard then slide the dough onto the hot tiles. I remove the cooked crust using the cardboard round with the aid of kitchen tongs. So slide the round onto the tiles and close the oven. Keep a close eye on it. In a couple of minutes the round will develop HUGE! bubbles. At this point carefully slide the HOT! half baked dough out of the oven onto the cardboard and poke the bubbles with a knife. This is where you can get a hell of a steam burn if you are not careful. Take an oven mitt and CAREFULLY push down the bubbles. Then turn the round over and put it back in the oven. In another minute or so the top of the round will start showing a bit of browning around the edges. Remove the baked round and put it on the counter. Repeat this until you have basically a bunch of baked rounds. I always double the recipe from the Joy of Cooking which gives me about five or six 12-14" rounds. Now the secret to incredible pizza: pour a good quality olive oil on the baked round and with your hand slather it all over the the top of the round. Then sprinkle on a fine covering of the best mozza. cheese you can afford. Then add whatever toppings you want. Some of my favorites are caramelized sweet onions then roasted red peppers then all beef salami then finally a layer of very thin sliced provolone. My all time favorite is just raw cremini thin sliced mushrooms and sliced black olives. Note nowhere is found that ghastly bitter tomato 'pizza sauce'. If you want tomatoes on your pizza slice some fresh ones and remove the seeds and pulp. I always put fresh chopped basil down after the first topping so it doesn't get burned and turn brown. And ALWAYS the final topping of any pizza must be another drizzle of olive oil to stop the cheese from over cooking. Then slide the 'built' pizza onto the tiles/stone and bake at 375F until you can see all the ingredients happily bubbling away. This ought to take about five-eight minutes. Then carefully slide the pizza onto the cardboard and serve to your 'pizza party' guests while the next built pizza is baking. You would be hard pressed to find better scorching hot ready to eat home made crispy thin crust pizza than these. Remember after the slathering of olive oil then a sprinkle of mozza you can build any combinations you want. BTW by following this system you will NEVER have to endure the embarrassment of watching someone eat a slice of soggy bitter (from the canned pizza sauce) pizza which sags and then the pizza toppings fall on the table. LOL I just had a large 'pizza party' about twenty, with family and friends and everyone said the pizzas where the best they had ever had. Everyone got to 'build' their own pizza. It was a great time.

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