Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Thin Crust Pizza #recipe

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: For years, I’ve wanted a good pizza crust recipe. I’ve tried several and never been satisfied. The need became less urgent when a restaurant called When in Rome opened in our town, serving fabulous pasta and pizza. The original owners even won a contest in Las Vegas, rechristening our favorite as “World’s Best Pizza.” And they did takeout. On occasion, Mr. Right would agree to change our order to another variety, but “World’s Best” remained our go-to.

Then When in Rome closed its local spot early this year. Happily, King Arthur saved the day with this thin crust recipe that has proven virtually fool-proof. And it’s fast – from “let’s have pizza” to first bite in less than an hour. We’ve since tried other King Arthur pizza doughs, because variety is the spice and all that, and they are all good and reliable; this remains our favorite, probably because it’s as close as we’ve come to the pizza we loved at When in Rome. 

The recipe makes two rounds; we refrigerate one and use it within a week, but the dough can also be frozen. Let the chilled round warm up on your kitchen counter for an hour or so before working it; frozen rounds thaw quickly. 

A hot oven is critical. Whether you’re using a stone or baking sheet, allow it to heat up in the oven. Roll the dough out on parchment paper, then use the paper to transfer the pizza to the stone or baking sheet.  

I’ve given you our two favorite toppings, but you can use any combo you like. Be careful about the weight of your toppings, though, as this truly is a thin-crust pizza. If you use a jarred spaghetti sauce, choose one with herbs or garlic, or bits of mushrooms if you like them, or season a plain sauce yourself.

Thin Crust Pizza

(crust recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking Company website)

For the crust: 

2/3 cup lukewarm water

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or a mix of all-purpose and bread (aka strong) flour

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt (depending on your preference and the saltiness of your toppings)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons olive oil

Pepperoni Pizza

For one pizza: 

1/4 cup tomato sauce; jarred spaghetti sauce is perfect

1 cup shredded dry mozzarella (not the fresh, wet stuff)

3 ounces pepperoni

optional additions: mushrooms, thinly sliced and lightly sauteed; green bell pepper, diced; black olives, thinly sliced

World’s Best Pizza, inspired by When in Rome, Bigfork and Kalispell, Montana

For one pizza: 
3/4 cup gorgonzola, crumbled

3 ounces pepperoni

2 thin slices red onion, separated

* The cheese will make its own sauce and serve as the base layer for the pepperoni and onion. It may not look like enough cheese to you; avoid the temptation to increase it. We did, and learned. 

Place a pizza stone or baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven and heat to 450°F. 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the lukewarm water and yeast until the yeast dissolves.

Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and olive oil to the yeasty water, and stir with a firm hand to pull the dough together. It will be a bit shaggy, but should be easy to work with. If it’s too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour. 

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disk and place on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 

If you’re making one pizza, wrap the second disk in plastic wrap and place in a zippered bag; chill or freeze. 

Drizzle a little olive oil on to the parchment and place the disk in the center. Top with another piece of parchment. (If you’re using a previously chilled or frozen round, top with the plastic wrap.) Press flat with your hands, then roll into a 12" circle, about 1/8" thick. It may not be perfectly round; don't worry about it. 

Top the crust. Transfer pizza, still on the parchment, to your stone or baking sheet. Bake 10-14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the toppings are heated through. Remove from the oven. Allow to rest briefly, then cut and serve.

Makes 8 slices.

From the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, Spice Shop Mystery #5, out now in paperback, e-book and audio (Seventh St. Books and Tantor Audio) : 

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves. 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface ... 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow. 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Leslie, is the topping recipe for one pizza, or two?

    Sounds fabulous. Thank you!

  2. Gorgonzola and red onion. I have died and gone to heaven.
    Also, really like your instructions on rolling out the dough between two sheets of parchment!
    Finally, I've been very happy with the "tomato sauce" recommended by the New York Times cooking section for homemade pizza, in which you just chop up and thoroughly drain a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes and simply spread on the dough. Easy peasy and lovely and light when cooked.

    1. What about using crushed tomatoes? I haven't tried that yet, but they are like a very thick sauce. They'd still need seasoning, though. For this crust, just a few ounces will suffice.

    2. I make a similar tomato sauce for pasta or lasagna. A chopped onion and some garlic sauteed in a bit of olive oil, add whole San Marzano tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes break down a bit--using the side of a wooden spoon to break them up. Always good! As a (half) Italian I have an ingrained bias against jarred sauce lol.

  3. I usually make flatbread pizzas from Costco naan because I'm too lazy to bother making it from scratch, but I've been craving a good thin crust lately. Might have to try this!

    1. Mia, aren't Costco's baby naans a great find? We love them.

  4. Pizza is good stuff. I invested in tiles for the oven. They fit side by side and cover the rack. With their thickness they are great for heat retention.
    The gorgonzola/onion topping sounds like a winner!

    1. Libby, I've heard that plain, unglazed tiles from the bldg supply store will work as well as a commercial stone. Is that what you're using?

    2. They are from www.fallsculinary.com and are their Dough-boy Baking Stone-- Five 6" X 9' X 3/4" tiles = 15" X 18" when put together. When I was looking into a pizza stone, most of them were thinner and the people I read said thicker was better for heat retention. These fit two across lengthwise and three across end wise on my oven rack.

  5. I think I am going to make this pizza on Friday rather than getting take-out! We love super thin crust pizzas.

  6. I hope to make this soon, Leslie. I love thin crust pizza, but the family tradition is the thick crust. Onward and upward. I have a stone for the barbeque. Think I'll try it in the oven. Thanks for this! Hugs. MJ