Pan Pizza

After years of trying and failing, I have achieved optimum pan pizza. Let’s bake.

For the Dough:

Enough for 3 skillet pizzas or one sheet pan

1 1/3 cup (315 mL)110F water
2 tspHoney preferably, could sub sugar or molasses
0.25 oz (1/2 tbsp)active dry or instant yeast
3 ½ cupAll Purpose flour
¼ cupEVOO
2 tspSalt
  1. Proof yeast. Mix the honey in water and add yeast. Let bloom for 5-10 min.
  2. Knead dough. Slowly incorporate flour, salt, and EVOO into the liquid. Knead for 5 min. Add more flour if too sticky. Should come cleanly off the sides.
  3. Let rise. Oil the bowl and top of the dough and let rise for 1 hr or until doubled. Keep the bowl covered.
  4. Cut and shape. If using a skillet, transfer to a floured work surface and cut into 3 equal pieces. Shape into tight balls by rolling and building surface tension. If using sheet pan, transfer dough to sheet pan, flatten, and then fold over once, stretching the dough out in a rough rectangle.
  5. Let rise. Place the dough balls on a plate or tray, cover with plastic film, and do the second rise in the fridge for 1-15hrs, depending on when you’re planning to bake. 10-12 hrs is sweet spot for flavor.  
  6. Dough is ready to bake.
Roasted pumpkin, spinach, roasted garlic

For the sauce:

This is way too much sauce, reuse for pasta or more pizzas. Or use your house marinara recipe

1 large canCrushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, depending on sauce chunkiness preference
1Medium onion
To heart’s contentGarlic
2 tspDried oregano
1 tspFennel seeds
1 tspRed chili flakes
A bunchBasil
To tasteSalt
  1. Add oregano, fennel, red chili flakes in olive oil to a hot pan.
  2. Add and sauté onions and garlic until brown.
  3. Add basil and salt.
  4. Blend with the canned tomato sauce/crushed tomatoes until combined. The tomatoes are not cooked here, they’ll cook with the pizza.
Caramelized onions, grilled shiitake mushrooms, roasted garlic, and fresh basil

Assembly:

Toppings will vary based on your taste. Only tip is to grate a block of mozzarella yourself instead of the pre-shredded packs. The pre-shredded packs have an anti-caking coating that makes the cheese melt very sad.

  1. Preheat oven to 500F for at least 1 hr with a pizza stone or steel in the lowest rack.
  2. Grease cast iron skillet with EVOO.
  3. Transfer one dough ball into skillet. Using oiled fingers spread the dough till it reaches the edges. Lift and rotate like the cliched pizza chefs do to extend the dough. Just make sure the dough touches the edges, don’t worry about the height.
  4. Add sauce. If you’re like me, don’t overdo it. Less is often better but you’ll know what your sweet spot is after a few tries. Two ladleful usually does it for me.
  5. Add cheese. Cheese the whole pizza up to the rim. The cheese caramelizes spectacularly when it’s brushing against the iron. Leave the middle light if you wish but definitely cheese the edges.
  6. Add toppings. Make it pretty!
  7. Place skillet on top of preheated pizza stone and bake for 14-17 min depending on how hot your oven actually gets. You’re looking for an even melting of the cheese and those perfect leopard brown spots of caramelized cheese. A good tell for when your pizza is ready is to look at the cheese edges, when those are crisped up nice, then the pizza is usually done.
  8. Use a knife to free the pizza from the skillet edges. Then use a flat spatula to ease the pizza out onto a cutting board.
Cheesed all the way to the edges, cheese curds and dollops of lemon curd in the middle over a bed of boiled potatoes in alfredo sauce

Topping Ideas:

A few topping suggestions arranged by type

Vegetables that can be added raw (use a variety of colors)Green: Spinach, green bell peppers, zucchini, jalapeno, arugula
Red: tomato slices, red bell peppers, sliced radishes, red onions
Yellow: banana peppers, onions,
Black: olives, mushrooms
Fresh herbsBasil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, dill
Vegetables that need pre-cookingRoasted: squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, garlic, potatoesGrilled: mushrooms, eggplants,  
SaucesPesto, ranch, balsamic glaze, alfredo
Flavor bombsLemon curd, pickled peppers, roasted garlic, sesame-chili oil,
Alternative CheesesCheddar, ricotta, goat, cheese curds, butterkase,

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