December 29, 2020

The Fool-Proof Pan Pizza

The Fool-Proof Pan Pizza

If you want a homemade pizza pie without dirtying up half of the cookware in your kitchen, then let Serious Eats’ foolproof pan pizza recipe be the answer you’ve been desperately looking for.

This recipe is designed for those loving a thick, crispy crust that is golden on the bottom, but still soft and puffy beneath the layers of mozzarella and salt that are, of course, topped to your specific liking. Your tastebuds might recall the nostalgic texture of a personal Pizza Hut pan pizza when biting into a slice of this pie, and it’s due to the following, tried-and-true method of preparation.

Pan Pizza Ingredients:

14 oz. Bread flour (about 2 ½ cups), plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 ⅓ cups water

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ cups pizza sauce

12 oz. grated full-fat, low-moisture (dry) mozzarella cheese

Your selection of desired toppings

(optional) Small, handful of torn, fresh basil leaves

(optional) 2 oz. grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano

Pan Pizza Recipe:

  1. Begin by combining your flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a large bowl, and mix it together with your hands or a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains. When finished, your bowl should be at least 4 to 6 times the volume of the dough to account for rising.
  2. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring that the edges are well-sealed, and then let it rest at room temperature (no warmer than 75°F) for at least 8 hours and up to 24. Your dough should rise dramatically and fill the bowl, though if left in a hot kitchen, the dough might be overproof near the end of that range.
  3. Sprinkle the top of your dough with flour, then transfer it to a well-floured work surface, dividing it into two pieces and form each into a ball by holding it with well-floured hands and tucking the dough underneath itself, rotating it until it forms a tight ball.
  4. Pour about 1 to 2 tablespoons oil into the bottom of two, separate, 10-in cast iron skillets (alternatively round cake pans), and place 1 ball of dough in each pan, turning each to coat them evenly with oil. Using your flat palm, press the dough around the pan, flattening it slightly and spreading your oil around the pan’s entire bottom and edges. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, allowing the dough to sit at room temperature for 2 hours. After your rising time is halfway through, adjust an oven rack to its middle position and preheat the oven to 550°F. (Note: if the room temperature is above 75°F, the dough might require less time to rise, and at temperatures below 65°F, it may require more time.)
  5. After your two hours, the dough should be mostly filling the pan up to the edges, and you should use your fingertips to press it around until it’s filling every corner, popping any large bubbles that appear. Lift up one edge of the dough to let any air bubbles underneath escape, then repeat, moving the dough around until there are no bubbles left underneath and the dough is spread evenly around the pan.
  6. Then, top each round of dough with ¾ cups of sauce, spreading it to the very edge with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle it evenly with mozzarella cheese, completely to the edges, and season it with salt. Add your desired toppings, and drizzle with olive oil, scattering a few basil leaves over the top, if you desired that herbal aroma.
  7. Transfer the pan to your oven and bake until the top is golden brown and bubbly and the bottom is but only golden brown and crisp when lifted with a thin spatula (about 12 to 15 minutes). Immediately sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. Use a thin spatula to peek underneath, determining if the bottom is as crispy as you desire. If not, place the pan over a burner and cook on medium heat, moving the entire pan around, thus allowing it to cook evenly until it’s crisp (usually 1-3 minutes). Remove the pizzas, transfer to a cutting board, and slice, serve, and enjoy immediately.

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