Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cracker-Crust Pizza

I love chewy, crispy, yeasted pizza crust (obviously). But it is really hard to accomplish at home (especially on short notice). While I work on perfecting my chewy pizza dough recipe, our go-to for homemade pizza is a St. Louis-style cracker crust

It takes about a minute to measure out the dough ingredients and stir together, and then I divide the dough and let it rest while I grate cheese and chiffonade basil.  If you don't have a batch of pizza sauce handy, it's probably easier to start that first (as a New England girl raised on delicious Greek pizza, I prefer a sweet, thick, and heavily-herbed pizza sauce, but your mileage may vary). I don't do the authentic Missourian smoky Provel toppings with my St. Louis crust--it can support pretty much any toppings in the right amounts.

While most of the recipes I've seen for this kind of crust yield two pizzas from two cups of flour, I like to get three or four (it makes it easier to roll the dough as thin as you can). And if you roll the dough out on the parchment paper you're going to bake it on, you don't have to worry about transferring paper-thin dough to a new surface. 

Sidenote: When shopping for mozzarella for caprese, I've always passed by Trader Joe's standard mozzarella  with my nose up (assuming the flavor would be better for pizza and other melted applications). I discovered with this pizza that it is actually moist and sweet, perfect for eating cold, but not flavorful enough when melted to be great on pizza. Next time I'll try one of the harder cheeses with my cracker crust. 

This pizza is quick and delicious with traditional toppings, and I've also made a Thai version with peanut sauce and a flatbread-style application with fig jam and arugula. The bottom line is crispy homemade pizza crust from empty mixing bowl to table in around 30 minutes!

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