Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stuffed Pizza Crust

There are two types of people in this world: those who like a thin and crispy pizza crust and those who like a soft and chewy pizza crust. What type am I? I haven't decided quite yet. One day I will claim that thin crust is the best and the next day I have changed my mind completely and I want a thick crust that I can really sink my teeth into. Well today is a good day because this pizza crust has the best of both worlds. It combines the perfect crisp outer crust and chewy interior that makes for an amazing pizza crust. How is this possible? I will let you in on a little secret. Using bread flour rather than all-purpose flour produces a crispier exterior crust. And do you know what makes pizza even better? Stuffed crust. Yep, you heard that right--stuffed, cheesy, oozy, scrumptious crust.
 Cheese please.
How to stuff your crust:
Step 1: Cut mozzarella cheese sticks in half and lay around the edge of your rolled-out dough.
Step 2: Roll the outer edge toward the center, pinching the dough as you go.
Top the dough with your favorite toppings.
Bake, slice, and devour.
Pizza Dough
(Source: Baking Illustrated, pages 153-155)
Makes enough for 3 medium pizzas.
We find the food processor is the best tool for making pizza dough. However, only a food processor with a capacity of at least 11 cups can handle this much dough. You can also knead this dough by hand or in a standing mixer (see the variations that follow). Unbleached all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, but the resulting crust will be less crisp. If you want to make pizza dough in the morning and let it rise on the counter all day, decrease the yeast to 1/2 teaspoon and let the covered dough rise at cool room temperature (about 68 degrees) until doubled in size, about 8 hours. You can prolong the rising time even further by refrigerating the covered dough for up to 16 hours and then letting it rise on the counter until doubled in size, which will take 6 to 8 hours.

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl

1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.
3. The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by h and for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

Pizza Dough Kneaded by Hand
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

Pizza Dough Kneaded in a Standing Mixer
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

Hawaiian Pizza with Stuffed Crust

3 cups pizza sauce
6-8 mozzarella cheese sticks
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped pineapple
2 cups chopped ham (or canadian bacon)

1. Prepare the dough as directed in the Pizza Dough recipe. Place a pizza stone (or baking sheet) on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a chef’s knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
3. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, shape the dough, then transfer it to a pizza peel that has been lightly dusted with flour.
4. Cut mozzarella cheese sticks in half and lay around the edge of the rolled-out dough. Roll the edge in, pinching as you go.
5. Lightly brush the dough round with olive oil. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over the dough round. Scatter a third of the shredded cheese, a third of the pineapple, and a third of the ham on each crust you make.
6. Slide the dough onto the heated stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven, sprinkle with an additional 2 tablespoons Parmesan, cut into wedges, and serve immediately. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 with the remaining two pieces of dough and the remaining toppings.


  1. That looks really fun. I've never tried stuffed crust before, and never would've thought of the cheese stick idea. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're very welcome. The cheese sticks are also a fun way to let your kids help you make pizza.

  2. your recipe worked like magic.Thanks alot.Will try your other recipes as well.

    1. I am so glad! Thanks for visiting. :)


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