The possibilities for pizza crust are nearly endless. From thick crust to deep dish and Sicilian style, everyone has their own favorite flavor and texture. While I’ve made many thick-crust and deep dish pizzas over the course of my pizza career, one of the most popular requests was actually the opposite: thin crust pizza. Making a thin crust pizza can be just as easy as making a regular pizza, but it helps if you have the right technique and a few handy tools.
While it is possible to create a super thin crust strictly using your hands, it certainly isn’t the easiest way to do it. Using the proper tools will produce a more consistent thin crust in a considerably shorter amount of time. The first tool you’ll need is a rolling pin. When used properly, a rolling pin will consistently stretch your pizza dough much thinner than possible by hand. The second is a dough docker. A dough docker will prevent huge bubbles from appearing in the crust, so that the pizza won’t blow up like a balloon. Finally, it also helps to have a nice smooth service to stretch the dough on. A silicone rolling mat is the perfect platform to successfully stretch your crust.
Par-Baking a Thin Crust Pizza
Although you can make a relatively thin crust without this step, par baking makes it possible to achieve a super thin crust. Par baking is baking the "naked" crust for a few minutes (not all the way!), then removing it, topping it, and putting it back into the oven to complete baking. After the crust has partially cooked, the dough becomes easier to handle and less likely to tear.
If you’re cooking multiple pizzas, par baking the crusts will reduce cooking time by up to 50%. Just like with regular pizzas, you’ll also want to pre-cook any ingredients that need extra time to finish. Items like raw meat or thick-cut vegetables should be cooked until they’re nearly ready before going on your pizza.
Technique for Making Thin Crust Pizza
Once you’ve got your thin crust tools ready, making a thin crust is simple. Let’s take a look at the steps:
- Place the dough on your mat and flatten it using your fingers to prepare it for rolling.
- Using the rolling pin, begin stretching the dough out by alternating rolling horizontally and vertically.
- Stretch the dough approximately 2-3 inches larger than the desired diameter. This is done because the dough will shrink as it is baked.
- Roll the entire surface of the crust with the dough docker. This will ensure the dough doesn’t inflate like a balloon while it bakes.
- Place the dough into your hot oven and bake until half cooked (approx. 1-3 minutes).
- After your crust comes out of the oven, let it cool a bit so it's easy to handle.