This recipe owes a great deal to Andy Anderson's "Thin & Crispy Oven Baked Pizza Crust" on this site. Andy's recipe perfects the docking and par-baking needed for a marvelous crust that stays crunchy, even in the middle. This recipe adapts Andy's recipe by using the baker's percentage formula for a 60% hydration dough and the no-knead/stretch-and-fold method of dough development.
Most of the 4-hour preparation time is spent ignoring the dough as it develops.
1Place a small bowl on a digital kitchen scale and tare to zero. Separately Mmeasure each dry ingredient (flour, sugar, salt and yeast) into the small bowl, transferring one-at-a-time to a large mixing bowl. Stir the dry ingredients until evenly mixed.
2With the scale tared to zero, measure the oil into the small bowl. Since oil is difficult to measure exactly, add enough water to come to a total of 180 grams of liquid. Use filtered water if your tap water is highly chlorinated.
3Pour the oil and water onto the dry ingredients and mix, first with a spoon, later with your hand, until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture forms a consistent ball of dough. It will not be totally smooth at this point.
4Lift the ball. At this point the bowl should be fairly clean. Lightly oil the inside of the bowl and roll the ball of dough around until it is lightly coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or an air-tight lid. Let rest 45 minutes (50 minutes if water or room are particularly cold).
5At the end of the 45 minute rest, stretch the dough into a rectangle about 10" by 12". Pinch any remaining flour lumps to incorporate the loose flour into the dough.
6Fold the rectangle of dough in third, turn 90 degrees and fold in thirds again. Place back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Rest for a second 45 minutes; stretch and fold again. Rest for a third 45 minutes; stretch and fold again. Rest for a fourth 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 475F. Use a baking stone if you have one. If not prepare the pizza on a sheet pan.
7On a piece of parchment paper, stretch the dough out to the desired pizza size. Try to handle the dough as little as possible because the more it is worked, the more it will want to shrink back into a ball. If the dough is resisting being stretched, let it relax 15 minutes and then gently finish stretching.
When it is the size you wish, dock the center all over with a fork. This will prevent the center from forming bubbles.
Trim off excess parchment paper, leaving a little for you to grab if you need help positioning the pizza in the oven.
8Par-bake the pizza crust for 6 minutes. If you are using a peel and baking stone and the parchment paper comes off at this point, discard it but make sure the pizza moves easily on the peel.
9Brush olive oil on the edge of the pizza to get a lovely golden crust. Top the pizza and return to the oven for an additional 6 minutes of baking. Let rest 2 to 5 minutes before cutting and serving.