Learn To Make This Outstanding Homemade Thin Crust Pizza!
My favorite pizza in the world is Ledo’s pizza- and I’m talking about the original Ledo’s in Adelphi, Maryland. I graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park in 1977. One of the absolute highlights of my college experience was eating Ledo’s pizza from Ledo’s Pizza in Adelphi, Maryland. The first time I ate Ledo’s pizza it was definitely love at first sight and first bite. When a plain large pie, which consisted of 2 cafeteria trays filled with mouth-watering cheesy pizza was delivered to the table, I was in gastronomic ecstasy! I went crazy for the crust, which was more like a flaky pie crust than a traditional pizza crust. I loved the sweet sauce, and of course the cheese was great too. Luckily, my brother Kenny Fried lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his family, so from time to time when we visit him, we make it a point to make a stop at Ledo’s in Adelphi on our way back to New Jersey to pick up one large pie for the ride. My 3 kids love Ledo’s pizza as much as I do, too. Ledo’s is a franchise now, so I keep hoping that someone will open up a Ledo’s in New Jersey. Still, I’ve eaten at some of the franchises, and none compare to the original Ledo’s in Adelphi.
I developed my own pizza recipe, because I just wasn’t crazy about any of the pizza we can get near our house. This homemade pizza is yummy. It has a thin crust, and my children and friends claim my pizza is very similar to the pizza at our favorite local pizzeria, Federici’s, in Freehold. Last summer, I made this pizza for my son-in-law’s father, Mike Greenhouse and his wife Leah, and they loved it. Leah said it was the best pizza she had ever eaten. What a compliment!
You will be surprised how easy it is to make a fantastic homemade pizza. Give it a try!
for the crust: (This recipe makes 2 rectangular pies- thin crust- each about 16 by 10 inches but you can make 2 round pizzas as well)
- 1 3/4 cup unbleached flour, plus extra for when you knead the dough
- 3/4 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees
- 1 package of Fleischmann’s active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of light olive oil (you may substitute any oil)
- cornmeal (optional) for baking the pizza
for the marinara sauce (This recipe makes about 4 quarts of sauce, and you will need about 1 cup of sauce for each pie you make, so you can stick the rest in containers in the freezer):
- about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of light or extra virgin olive oil
- 4- 28 oz. cans of plum tomatoes in thick puree, or 4- 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
- 1- 6 oz. can of good tomato paste, such as Contadina
- about 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
- 1 medium-large onion, chopped very finely in processor or by hand (if you like your sauce smooth, then pulse the onion in the processor until it is the consistency of applesauce)
- red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
for the topping:
- dried oregano -optional
- red pepper flakes- optional
- 8 oz grated mozzarella cheese for each pie (16 oz. for 2 pies)
- about 8 oz of marinara sauce
to make the dough:
Measure 1 3/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
Measure 3/4 cup of hot water in a Pyrex measuring cup. Put a thermometer in, and when the temperature goes down to between 105 degrees and 115 degrees, sprinkle the package of dry yeast in. Add the 1 teaspoon sugar, and the 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir with a fork just to mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy on the surface of the water.
Pour the water, yeast, oil, and sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour and salt. Gently fold the liquid into the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula. When it is fully incorporated, dump the dough onto a floured board, counter, or table. Knead for about 7-10 minutes, adding a little flour to the board if the dough starts to stick or if your dough is too wet. You will know you can stop kneading when you push your finger into the dough lightly and the indentation disappears. Another indication you have kneaded the dough enough is when you notice that the dough has become harder to knead because it is becoming too springy. Place the dough in a large, clean mixing bowl that you have lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put it in a warm spot in your kitchen. Let it double in size- which it does in about an hour to an hour and a half. If your kitchen isn’t warm enough, it may take about 2 hours for the dough to double in size.
Then dump the dough onto a floured board. Turn it once on the floured board, and then pat it down to deflate it. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, and place in a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate the dough until you are ready to make your pizza. You can use the dough up to one day after you make it.
to make the marinara sauce:
Pour about 1/4 cup of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes in the oil. Saute for 1 minute. Add the finely chopped onion. Saute until translucent. Then add the crushed garlic. Saute for one minute more. If you are using whole canned tomatoes, put them in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade (reserving the juice or puree in the can), and pulse the tomatoes until they are almost pureed, but still have a little consistency to them. Add the tomatoes and reserved juice or puree in the cans to the pot. If you are using cans of crushed tomatoes, add all the the pot. Add the 1 can of tomato paste. Add kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Stir well. Simmer covered over a low flame for about 1 hour. Add about 1 teaspoon of sugar and a light sprinkling of herbes de provence or Italian seasoning. Simmer covered another 1/2 hour to hour, tasting and stirring every 15 minutes or so. Adjust seasonings -salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to your liking.
to assemble the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put a large piece of parchment paper on a sturdy cookie sheet or half sheet pan. Sprinkle the parchment paper lightly with some yellow cornmeal. Take one of your pizza doughs out of the refrigerator. Sprinkle some flour on a board or your counter. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out so that it is a rectangle, about 13 to 16 inches by 9 to 12 inches. Then spoon about 1 cup or so of sauce so that it covers the whole surface, going as close to the edges as possible. Then sprinkle dried oregano (optional) over the sauce. If you like your pizza a little hotter, sprinkle a few red pepper flakes over the sauce. Then, sprinkle about 8 oz. of grated mozzarella cheese over the sauce, going as close to the edges as possible. Place on low rack in the preheated oven. Bake about 15 minutes. If you like your pizza a little more well done, cook it a few minutes more. Use a pizza cutter to slice the pizza into squares or rectangles and serve immediately.
Note 1: If I don’t have enough time to make my own sauce, or I don’t have any on hand in my freezer, I use a smooth jarred marinara sauce. Shop Rite marinara sauce is inexpensive and it works great! I also like Ragu Organic Marinara Sauce.
Note 2: You can add your own toppings such as caramelized onions or sauteed mushrooms.
Note 3: If you like your crust a little thicker, then roll it out thicker to your liking.