17 January 2014

Pan Pizza

As we've previously established, I love pizza. I love pizza so very much. Notice how much better they look over time, too! All the pizzas I've made in the past have been of the so-called New York-style, or I suppose you could call them Neapolitan-style. Thin crust, fairly sparse toppings, lots of blistering in the dough. On the other side of the spectrum, I suppose you would find Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, which I think is more like a casserole than pizza, but hey - to each his own. Even Anthony Bourdain admits that deep-dish pizza is more than edible; it can actually be good.

In between New York and Chicago lies the magical land of Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, and whatever else have you: the pan pizza. I'm obviously joking when I call any of these chain "restaurants" magical, but pan pizza can be good. I especially like ordering Pizza Hut on a lazy Sunday afternoon when the Saturday night is a haze and I don't have the stamina to boil an egg. Pan pizza has a fairly thick crust, is not blistered like a thin crust should be, and generally has more toppings and more stringy cheese than a New York-style pizza. So, how hard is it to make one at home? As it turns out, not very.

This recipe makes two 10-inch pizza pies. The dough can be kept in the fridge for three to four days or frozen for up to six months. If you have leftovers, the baked pizza can be kept in the fridge for three or so days.

Pan Pizza

14 oz (about 2.5 cups) bread flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
9.5 oz (1 cup + 3 tbsp) water at room temperature
2 tsp good quality olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese (not fresh; dry or "low moisture" works best)
whatever toppings you want!

1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil together in a large bowl. You do not need to knead this; just ensure all the flour is wet. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for eight hours.

2. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Sprinkle some flour on top and then cut the dough in half with a sharp knife.

3. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and roll it on the work surface to make a tight "skin." If you're not making two pizzas right now, transfer one piece of dough to a Ziploc back that you've greased with a little bit of oil. Place in the freezer for long-term storage or in the fridge if using within a few days. Once you're ready to use the stored dough, just continue with the next step.

4. Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with about 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Place the dough in the middle of the pan and press it down lightly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let stand for two hours.

5. After about an hour, turn your oven to the highest temperature it will go (generally 525 - 550 degrees F).

6. An hour later, remove the plastic wrap from the pan and lightly press the pizza dough until it covers the pan, the whole pan, and nothing but the pan. If the dough seems to have air trapped underneath, gently lift it (one quarter at a time) to ensure even baking.

7. Top the dough with sauce, then cheese (grated), and then your toppings. The pizza pictured above was topped with mushrooms, red onion, red peppers, and sausage (which I had pre-cooked in a frying pan) on one side.

8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

9. Loosen the pizza with a spatula and check underneath - if it's not golden brown, you can finish on the stove top over high heat for 1-2 minutes.

10. Transfer the pizza from the pan to a pizza peel or cutting board, cut into slices, and try to not eat so fast that you pass out from pure delight.

1 comment:

  1. This was super good and especially impressive since it was your first go at it. :)