Putting the baking stone near the top of the oven helps our classic pizza develop good browning.
MAKES two 13-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6 VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Our ideal pizza recipe is inspired by classic Italian versions of this famed flatbread: a thin, crisp, and spottily charred crust with a tender yet chewy interior, topped with a handful of simple but flavor-packed ingredients. High-protein bread flour resulted in a chewy, nicely tanned pizza crust, and the right proportions of flour, water, and yeast gave us dough that would stretch and would retain moisture as it baked. We kneaded the dough quickly in a food processor, then let it proof in the refrigerator for at least a day to develop its flavors. After we shaped and topped the pizza (either with our simple homemade tomato sauce and cheese or one of our other flavorful toppings), it went onto a blazing-hot baking stone to cook. Placing the stone near the top of the oven allowed the top as well as the bottom of the pizza to brown. Some baking stones can crack under the intense heat of the broiler; be sure to check the manufacturer’s website. It is important to use ice water in the dough to prevent it from overheating in the food processor. We recommend King Arthur brand bread flour. Shape the second dough ball while the first pizza bakes, but don’t top the pizza until right before you bake it. If you add more toppings, keep them light or they may weigh down the thin crust. The sauce will yield more than is needed in the recipe; extra sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.
3 cups (16½ ounces) bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1⅓ cups ice water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons salt
SAUCE AND TOPPINGS
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated fine (½ cup)
8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1. FOR THE DOUGH Pulse flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. With processor running, slowly add ice water and process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly oiled counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
3. FOR THE SAUCE AND TOPPINGS Process tomatoes, oil, garlic, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper in clean, dry workbowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to 2-cup liquid measuring cup and add reserved tomato juice until sauce measures 2 cups. Reserve 1 cup sauce; set aside remaining sauce for another use.
4. One hour before baking, adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element, set baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to clean counter, divide in half, and cover loosely with greased plastic. Pat 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece covered) into 4-inch round. Working around circumference of dough, fold edges toward center until ball forms.
5. Flip ball seam side down and, using your cupped hands, drag in small circles on counter until dough feels taut and round and all seams are secured on underside. (If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust top of dough with flour.) Repeat with remaining piece of dough. Space dough balls 3 inches apart, cover loosely with greased plastic, and let rest for 1 hour.
6. Heat broiler for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat 1 dough ball generously with flour and place on well-floured counter. Using your fingertips, gently flatten into 8-inch round, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. Using your hands, gently stretch dough into 12-inch round, working along edge and giving disk quarter turns.
7. Transfer dough to well-floured pizza peel and stretch into 13-inch round. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread ½ cup tomato sauce in even layer on surface of dough, leaving ¼-inch border around edge. Sprinkle ¼ cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella.
8. Slide pizza carefully onto baking stone and return oven to 500 degrees. Bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and partially browned, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through baking. Transfer pizza to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Heat broiler for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough, sauce, and toppings, returning oven to 500 degrees when pizza is placed on stone.
Making Thin-Crust Pizza
1.MAKE DOUGH Process flour, sugar, and yeast, then slowly add ice water. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Add oil and salt and process until dough forms sticky ball.
2.PREPARE SAUCE Process drained tomatoes with oil, garlic, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper until smooth. Transfer to liquid measuring cup and add reserved juice until sauce measures 2 cups.
3.SHAPE PIZZA Coat 1 dough ball with flour. Gently flatten to 8-inch round, leaving outer edge slightly thicker than center. Using your hands, gently stretch dough into 12-inch round.
4.TOP PIZZA Transfer dough to well-floured pizza peel and stretch into 13-inch round. Spread sauce evenly on dough. Sprinkle ¼ cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella over sauce.
TOPPINGS FOR THIN-CRUST PIZZA
MUSHROOM AND FENNEL PIZZA TOPPING VEG
If desired, mince the fennel fronds and sprinkle them over the pizza before serving.
Toss 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin, and ½ fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin, with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper. Microwave until vegetables are softened and release liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain vegetables, then toss with 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme. Sprinkle evenly over pizza before baking. Drizzle white truffle oil, if desired, lightly over pizza before serving. (Makes enough topping for 1 pizza.)
OLIVE, CAPER, AND SPICY GARLIC PIZZA TOPPING VEG
Be sure to rinse the capers and anchovies, if using, or the pizza will be very salty.
Combine ⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved, 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and patted dry, 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse (optional), 1 small minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, and ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes in bowl. Sprinkle evenly over pizza before baking. Sprinkle ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves over pizza before serving. (Makes enough topping for 1 pizza.)
PROSCIUTTO AND ARUGULA PIZZA TOPPING
This topping is added to the fully baked pizza before serving. Don’t dress the arugula too far in advance or it will turn soggy.
Toss 1 cup baby arugula with 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1-inch strips, and dressed arugula over pizza before serving. Makes enough topping for 1 pizza.)