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One of my favorite pizza styles is a nice thick, chewy crust around the outside - but of course thin enough crust under the toppings to cook properly. How does one work the dough into that shape?

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Are you saying that you want something like a chicago style pie, or are you looking for a more papa johns style thick edge crust? –  sarge_smith Dec 19 '10 at 2:28
    
@sarge: Definitely not deep-dish Chicago-style, though that's delicious too. Papa Johns is pretty close. (I'm actually thinking of a specific pizza place I remember from my hometown, but that won't help anyone answer.) –  Jefromi Dec 19 '10 at 5:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Just make the base bigger than you need with the edge pulled slightly thiner than the main base, and then roll the edge inward on itself

You need to have nearly twice the extra width available than what you wish to roll up, otherwise it will unroll. Pinch it down at you go round and it should stay in place. Try not to get olive oil or other toppings on the edge before you complete it, or it may unwind during cooking

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Put the pizza tray on a turntable (cake decorating or "lazy susan") to make the task easy. It is sort of a continuous motion of rolling, folding, and pinching down

You can put a little of some contrasting taste (to main toppings) on before you roll the edge, like olives, anchovies, chillies or herbs

BTW in traditional pizza with a properly hot oven, the crust (cornicione) puffs up because it has no topping on it, but this results in a crust that is only slightly fatter than the main base, or just big bubbles that break when you hold it. By doubling up the dough you get a real substantial crust

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If you like the center of the crust a bit thicker also, you can dock the crust with a fork and give it 5 minutes without toppings, then add the toppings and put it back to finish the pizza. Bakes the thick dough more completely without the sauce on it. –  Doug Johnson-Cookloose Dec 20 '10 at 16:06
    
I don't think you should roll the dough at all. Leaving it slightly thicker while tossing will do the trick. If you cook just the dough for one minute, you will see that entire dough "rises", then put the toppings in the middle and you will see the magic of how perfect edges are made. –  Ska Dec 31 '13 at 3:07

The raised rim is really just the natural consequence of a properly thrown pizza dough. I suspect that as pizza became more common, this simple fact got obscured with such inventions as "stuffed-crust" and rapid-rise freezer pizza.

Assuming you have a well developed and elastic dough, you can just learn the basic throwing process. If you want a thicker outer crust, you can grab more dough between your fingers when you are stretching it vertically. This also has the effect of adding more bulk at the edges, making the centrifugal force stronger, and thus stretching it out faster. So watch out!

As @TFD suggests, you can also be more deliberate about it, and gather the dough afterwards by rolling it up. With this technique, you can also stuff the crust, which is more difficult with the throwing method.

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It's all in the dough. Doubling over was not necessary with the recipe I've worked with. Also rolling the interior or puncturing a ring for the crust with taps of a sharp knife should be all the reinforcement you need. Water used can annihilate the crust's ability to rise;perhaps this is why some might find it requisite to fold over the crust. –  mfg Apr 7 '11 at 2:12
    
@mfg normally a well thrown pizza base has enough cornicione to hang onto. Stretching this out and folding it back allow for a contrasting taste filling which can be really amazing (sort of a Calzone blend) –  TFD Apr 7 '11 at 10:35

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