Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pizza from Scratch: Cracker Crust

Cracker Crust Pizza
Pizza has returned.

I took a break from it this summer. A 500-degree oven seemed a bit excessive considering outside temperatures were in the high 90s or low 100s for weeks.

Since taking Chad Clark’s pizza class at New Pi this spring, I’ve wanted to create a thin cracker crust like the one we sampled. All styles of pizza crusts are good and my goal is to master several varieties. My first few attempts with cracker crust were not at all crispy. This time I am getting closer.

What I’ve learned about making a cracker crust from scratch:

• Flour.
Use bread flour or — better yet — a even higher gluten flour such as Sir Lancelot from King Arthur, which is what Chad recommends. Higher gluten means more chew, crisp and crunch. Sir Lancelot was not in my pantry, so I used Italian Antimo Caputo 00 flour, a type designed for Neapolitan pizza making. This flour can be purchased online or at Italian markets. New Pioneer now sells it, though my first batch came from Gateway Market in Des Moines (a very cool place by the way). If you live in Youngstown, or Pittsburgh, or Chicago, or anywhere that has good Italian grocery stores, you should be able to find this. Read what Chad Clark has to say about pizza flours.

• Rolling.
Roll all the way over the dough’s edges in order to pop the air bubbles. What’s fun about rolling this dough is that you can actually hear the bubbles pop. You’ll also want to prick the crust to prevent the formation of air bubbles. Use a fork to make little holes just like the ones on saltine crackers. I forgot to do this the last time and had to deflate a few air pockets during baking.

• Baking Surface.
The type of pizza can be made in a pizza pan. I’ll make do without because the last thing I need is another baking pan. I use a heavy sheet pan. First I bake the crust for about 3 to 4 minutes until it firms up, then remove it from the oven. Dress the pizza with sauce and toppings, then slide back into the oven — either onto a heated pizza stone, or directly onto the wire rack. If you are using a pizza stone, make certain you’ve allowed the oven to remain hot for about 30 minutes before you start baking. It takes time to heat the stone to a proper temperature.

If you make cracker crust pizza, I’d love to hear about your experiences and suggestions for success. Here’s the link to Chad Clark and Blind Dog Pizza’s recipe for Cracker Crust.


  1. Thanks! These sound like very good tips...was working on pizza this weekend and used the wrong flour (because it was there) won't do that again!

  2. Thanks, Suzy! I'm beginning to understand how much flour really matters.


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