Direct Thin Crust Pizza/Modernist Pizza


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

This is my new favorite pizza crust recipe from the Modernist Pizza cookbook; it’s easy to make, has a fantastic texture, with deep flavors. If you need a simple and easy tomato sauce for your pizza, try my recipe. Read all about the book and my interview with Chef Francisco Migoya, responsible for this encyclopedic guide and cookbook to pizza making in my newsletter.

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Direct Thin Crust Pizza/Modernist Pizza

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  • Yield: Makes Five 13 in/33 cm pizzas


1 3/4 cups/415 ml water, 70F/21C

1 3/4 tsp instant dry yeast

4 1/4 cups + 2 1/2 Tbsp/595 g bread flour, 11.5%–12% protein

1/2 cup/55 g fine-ground cornmeal

2 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt


1. Combine the water and yeast in the stand mixer’s bowl, and whisk to dissolve the yeast.

2. Add the flour and cornmeal, and mix using the dough blade on low speed to a shaggy mass, about 2 minutes.

3. Mix on medium speed to low gluten development, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the salt, and mix on medium speed until the dough reaches full gluten development, about 5 minutes.

5. Perform the windowpane test to assess gluten development. Take a portion of dough in your hands and stretch it: the more the dough can stretch without tearing, the more the gluten has developed. The dough will hold the window for at least 8–10 seconds and it can be stretched to the point that it is nearly see-through when it has reached full gluten development.

6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured worktable. Cover well with plastic wrap.

7. Bench rest for 20 minutes.

8. Divide the dough into five even-sized pieces.

9. Place a square of dough in your dominant hand.

10. Form a ring with the index finger and your thumb on the same hand.

11. With your fingers from the opposite hand, push the dough through the ring. This should result in a smooth, tight ball. Make sure to pinch the seams shut well. Otherwise, the dough will tear when you shape it for baking, or it might cause a weak spot that will allow sauce and toppings to break through while baking.

12. Repeat steps 9–11 with the four remaining pieces of dough.

13. Place on a sheet pan. Spray a very light mist of water over the dough.

14. Cover the dough well with plastic wrap.

15. Proof the dough, covered, for 1 1/2 hours at 70F/21C.

16. Test for proof using the fingertip test. Gently press the exposed surface of the dough for 2 seconds; the pressure should leave a small dent in the dough; it will slowly spring back, but the indentation should remain clearly visible after 1–2 seconds.

17. Shape, assemble, and bake the pizza according to the instructions in the recipe.


  • We recommend using Ceresota/Heckers Unbleached All-Purpose Flour for this dough. Note that they call their flour all-purpose, but the protein content places it in the bread flour category.
  • We typically use a dough hook to mix all our thin-crust pizza doughs. If the ingredient quantities aren’t large enough for the dough hook to mix them well in a stand mixer, use a paddle attachment initially to mix the ingredients uniformly. Once you have a homogeneous mass (the dough is sticky and wet, and there are no visible clumps or unincorporated water), switch to a hook attachment.
  • Final mix time at higher speeds may vary from machine to machine. Whatever the model and yield, the goal is to achieve a good mix and full gluten development. Consider our suggested times as guidelines only. Use the windowpane test to help determine the dough’s stage of gluten development.
  • After proofing at room temperature, you can roll the dough out and make the pizza. We recommend cold-proofing the dough for 1 day, however, because it produces a crispier thin-crust pizza. If you cold-proof the dough, remove it from refrigeration 1 1/2–2 hours before shaping so it warms up and is easier to stretch out.

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