Thin Crust Pizza

makes 1 large or 2 medium crusts

1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons grated or shredded parmesan (optional)
1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs (optional)
pinch garlic powder (optional)
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine yeast, water, and sugar in a liquid measuring cup. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until foamy.

Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt (and optional ingredients, if using) in a medium-sized bowl. With a spoon, make a well in the middle of the bowl and add the olive oil. Pour the yeast mixture into the well. With a spoon, stir the flour and water. When it gets difficult to combine the flour and water (usually after five or six strokes), use your hand to mix. If the dough seems a bit dry, add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. When the dough comes together in a ball (the texture will still be rough), knead the dough on a floured board until smooth, about 10 times.

Coat the same bowl with olive oil. Toss the dough in the bowl so it’s evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes. Punch down dough. Recover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450*F. If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven.

If making 2 pizzas, divide the dough in half at this point and recover the dough not being worked.

Transfer dough to floured parchment, for easy transfer to a pan. With fingertips, spread dough out into desired shape. Don't be shy about using the tips of your fingers all over the dough, as this will help release bubbles in the dough. If desired, leave a bit of a raised edge around the crust to help contain the toppings. (Use a rolling pin to help get an even thinner crust.) Dock the dough all over with a fork; again, you want lots of holes to prevent the dough from puffing up.

If baking the pizza on a pan, transfer the crust to a pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake the crust for 3 minutes on baking sheet. Remove from oven and top with desired sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Return pizza to oven and bake until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Let rest for 3-5 minutes, then cut and enjoy.