Pizza baking question

ediej1209 AL Zn 7

I am craving pizza. So after I grated a big pile of parmesan (and with both Carpal Tunnel & Arthritis I begin to see the allure of the ubiquitous green can LOL!) I can't find the rapid-rise yeast I thought I had so I went looking for recipes using regular yeast. Martha Stewart had a couple of dough recipes that sounded good but no baking directions. Nothing else really sounded exciting but I did find one I think I will try. It calls for baking at 350°. I am going to bake in a cast-iron skillet. Should I pre-heat the pan?

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

Can you link a copy of the recipe?

Is this pizza going to be deep dish? 350 degrees is kind of low for pizza so I imagine it will have to be in the oven for a long time.

Also, about the yeast, you can substitute active yeast for rapid rise or instant. You just have to make sure that it's alive before using it by dissolving it in some of the water that you will be using in the pizza. If it's alive then you can use it.

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2ManyDiversions

Ediej, I preheat my cast iron skillet in the oven to 400 F. Then carefully toss my dough in (and when it goes all wonky I tell myself that is artisan!) and I then pop it back in, no sauce or toppings, for 2 to 3 minutes to parbake. The dough I use rises and gets bubbly and nice (artisan, again!). Then I put on a little sauce, and load it with toppings, then back into the oven until it looks good. If I don't parbake it, the dough never fully cooks and it's a soggy mess. Good luck!

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Jim Mat

Yes, preheating a cast iron pan will help cooking the dough.


Your comments about cheese and yeast make me think you are not making a pizza I am used to.

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2ManyDiversions

Yeast is in the dough I use (AnnT's artisan dough), but mozzarella is more common to use as a primary cheese, I'd think. I put grated parm on ours this week, but Mozzarella, fresh, mostly. The only cheese I'm not fond of on pizza is cheddar. Gruyere is good, as are other soft cheeses. And I agree, you can sub yeasts.

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chas045

Common pizza dough is just basic bread with a little olive oil. I use my bread machine for kneading and use right away or keep in refer for a few or more hours, roll and press into round, let rise a little and cover with sauce, then cheese and sausage etc and then some more cheese. I add SOME parm but usually mostly mozzarella or similar. I think all parm would be very strong.

I would never bake lower than 450. I use a big baking stone and a skillet will be more difficult. 2Many: I am surprised that you are having issues with doneness. I always form my dough on parchment paper and slide paper and all onto my well preheated stone. I have managed to make a couple pizzas that over shot the size of the stone, creating some slop/wonkyness. With a smaller one to fit a skillet, one could probably carry it by the edge of the parchment and drop it in.

My recipe is 2 C bread flour, 2 t yeast (any kind, but I almost always just have active dry yeast) 1 t salt, 1 T olive oil, Water to create kneadable dough as machine runs. That would make 2 skillets worth I think but a bread machine cant work with less.

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Olychick

You can also turn the skillet and use it like a stone.

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Jim Mat

Re turned skillet....I have seen it tried, never worked.

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Lars

It sounds like you are making a Chicago style pizza, in which case you would not preheat the pan, as it takes quite a while to assemble.

I generally make a fairly thin crust pizza that cooks very quickly at very high heat, to make a crisp crust, and I use a pizza peel or a screen. If I make a thick crust Sicilian style, I use a jellyroll pan and bake it at a somewhat lower temperature.

The only pizza I know of that is baked in a cast iron skillet is Chicago style, and I have never made that, but I do know that it is baked at 350°, more like the way you would bake a loaf of bread. I think I would like this style of pizza, but I've just never had it or found it.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

The recipe I am planning is from AllRecipes:

1 package Active Dry Yeast

1 cup warm (110°) water

2 cups bread flour

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Dissolve yeast in the water about 10 minutes.

Combine flour, olive oil, salt, sugar and the yeast mixture. Stir well to blend then beat well to form a stiff dough. Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Turn dough onto well-floured surface, form into a round and roll out into pizza shape. (At this point I will put it into the skillet.)

Top with your choice of sauce & toppings (I am planning on a marinara-style sauce with pepperoni, mushrooms and bell pepper - if it hasn't gone bad - and mozzarella + Parm cheeses.)

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

It's that 350° that has me a little worried and why I was wondering if I should preheat the pan. Wonder if 375° or even 400° would be better?


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Jim Mat

No, Lars, cast iron has been used for other pizzas.

Pizza and variations have been cooked for centuries.

What you don’t know, you don’t know.

There may not be a right answer, but there are many different versions of “pizza”

A big pile of salt (Parmesan cheese) may not be the best topping for a tomato sauce topped baked bread dough (pizza).

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Jim Mat

Your recipe did not specify cast iron. Your recipe looks like a sheet pan recipe, cooked at 350.


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Lars

Yes, pizza has been baked in cast iron, and I have a cast iron pizza pan, but it is not a skillet. There is a big difference between cast iron and cast iron skillet.

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Jim Mat

About 2 inches?


The Chicago Pan Pizza I have eaten was not cooked in cast iron skillets.

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Olychick

"Re turned skillet....I have seen it tried, never worked."

Well, obviously, your pizza experience supersedes all other people's pizza experience, so I don't know why any of us even bother to share our own experiences. Oh, but we will, despite your superior knowledge.

I have used the bottom of a cast iron skillet to prebake the crust of pizzas when I was making them for a crowd and needed more pans. Didn't want deep dish. Prebake on a hot skillet bottom then flip it over and quickly add toppings - continue to bake in a hot oven.

Good luck, Edie


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2ManyDiversions

Regarding pizza dough, it's like preference for vegetarian over meat pizzas, or red sauce over white sauce, or pepperoni over sausage over ham... I use a high hydration dough, which makes transferring the dough to the interior of a skillet difficult. I prefer to use my grill, which is heated to around 450 F, and use a pizza stone, also preheated, with a paddle. But I still parbake my dough because of the hydration %, which is my preference for pizza. So, yep, it goes wonky if I don't use the paddle onto a flat stone : ) I have added more flour, but DH and I aren't fond of the crust.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

OK well I will do the 350° as I am looking for kind of a bread dough-like crust (something along the lines of Pizza Hut's pan pizza only better!) Thank you all, I may experiment with some of the different methods at some point. Too hungry tonight! The upside-down skillet method sounds intriguing!

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2ManyDiversions

Lars, I've thought seriously about a cast iron pizza pan for winter, when I don't want to go outside in the cold rain or weather. It takes the grill and stone a while to get to temp and the pizza gets cooled off when bringing it inside. I'm assuming you're very happy with yours? Is it a specific brand which you use?

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Jim Mat

I have eaten pizza cooked on floor tiles.

still negative on bottom of pan.

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Jim Mat

I worked and lived in Italy for ~18 months.

Want to forum about “macaroni” ? US vs Europe.

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

edie: This is just my opinion but I would not bake that in a cast iron skillet, You are using two cups of flour and the cast iron skillet will either be 10" or 12". So the crust is going to be thickish (more Sicilian like-although you might want it that way). Then you are planning to use a lot of toppings. I guess if I really wanted to use the cast iron skillet and all those topping, I would parbake the crust probably 7 or 8 minutes. Also, make sure you put some olive oil at the bottom of the skillet. That's the best part of Pizza Hut pizza - the bottom of the crust.

Here is a really good pan pizza recipe. I made it and it was excellent.


Pan Pizza

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Well it was pizza! I substituted 1/4 cup Semolina and 1/2 cup Durum flour for part of the total flour, then ended up using about 1/2 cup more bread flour than the recipe called for. After I got done blending the original amount, what I had was something between waffle batter and drop biscuit dough. I used an 8" cast iron skillet for my pizza and baked DH's on a cookie sheet. He's not much of a bread fan and really dislikes thick crust pizzas. The crust wasn't exactly what I was looking for but was pretty darn good anyway. I maybe should have used more butter/olive oil on the pan. I did pre-bake mine 10 minutes before topping it but I didn't DH's since it was very thin. I also added 4 minutes baking time to his and 5 more to mine (including the pre-bake it was a total of 35 minutes baking time.) But I will definitely be making this again!

DH's pizza

My pizza. So thick and lots of toppings, all I could eat was 1/4 of it. Sauce was tomato puree mixed with tomato paste and flavored with basil, oregano, parsley and salt.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Jerzeegirl, thanks - I saved the KAF recipe!

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colleenoz

Um, you didn't have to use all the dough for one pizza. I'd have halved it and made two pizzas.Or even three, depending on how much dough and how thin I wanted it.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Colleenoz, I did make 2. A thin one for my hubby and a nicely thick one for me (think bread with stuff on top!) I could have made another thin one and still had a relatively thick crust but we wouldn't have eaten it.

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colleenoz

Leftover pizza for lunch the next day is the bomb :-D

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

looking at those pizzas makes me so hungry.

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bragu_DSM 5

grats edie

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lindac92

Your dough recipe is quite high hydration....will be soft and a bit hard to handle.....but if you make it the mornign or the night before it will get easier. For a wet dough like that you don't want to roll it out but rather sort of push it with your fingers....onto a piece of parchment on a peel or a cookie sheet with no sides......then put on your toppings and slide it into a blazing hot oven....475 to 500....preheated for at least 20 minutes.....30 is better for about 8 minutes. lots of corn meal on the peel so it slides easily.


For a thicker more bready crust you need to add a little more flour....and still push it out rather than roll it. I think it will be more like a pizza rather than foccocia if you bake it on a sheet or the bottom of the cast iron pan.
But I would try preheating your pan....in a 450 oven for at least 30 minutes. Then have your crust formed and all your toppings set and take that blazing hot pan out of the oven, slap the crust in the pan ( corn meal on the bottom) quick add the toppings and back into the oven for maybe 12 minutes. Your crust will puff up and get crisp on the bottom and be more than yummy!
Ever watch them make a pizza at a pizzeria? No parbaking the crust.....and always a blazing hot oven. My son was the "dough boy" at a pizzeria for about 5 months when he was a teen so I know all the tricks...wink wink!!
Good luck....keep trying until you get exactly what you want.....and enjoy eating those that are not quite perfect.

And Lou Malnatti's the best and maybe the original Chicago pan pizza is cooked in a black deep pan....and in a HOT oven!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKbMd3_dQDE
And then there is the Chicago stuffed crust deep dish pizza......all good!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tgYYEYz4O4

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laceyvail 6A, WV

I posted a recipe for deep dish pizza in a cast iron pan/skillet not too long ago. It was easy and spectacularly good. You might try looking for it.

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2ManyDiversions

Well done, ediej! So glad you decided to give homemade pizza go! As you can read, there are a multitude of ways to make pizza, from dough to baking to toppings and sauces. The best way is the way you prefer it, and your method(s) : ) I hope you continue to make pizzas : )

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Sherry

Eddiej, I have started buying this brand of cheese and I love it. No fillers and it is shelf stable, so I can have backup in the pantry. It is 4C, the grated cheese ones.

https://www.4c.com/#products

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sushipup1

Never ever go to the green can for grated parm! You can get better quality pre-grated/shredded in the dairy case, like Sargento. Or put a chunk of real parm into the food processor to grate.

And your pizza looks delicious!

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Tigereye I will definitely look into that. As much as I love my freshly grated cheeses there are days the pain just gets to me. I appreciate it!

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

If you are a costco shopper, you can get fresh grated parmesan in the refrigerated cheese aisle. It's kind of pricey but well worth it.

The parm in the green can is good for 1 thing though: Popcorn.

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Sherry

Jerzeegirl, just use the 4C grated for popcorn, it is much better. (No wood, all cheese)

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Lars

2MD, I have a Camp Chef pizza pan, but you may prefer to buy a Lodge one. Mine arrived with a rough surface, but I sanded it lightly and then it became smooth.

Here's a thread I started at the Pizza making forum on the topic of cast iron pans.

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2ManyDiversions

Great thread Lars! Thank you. Last lodge I purchased wasn't terribly smooth, but for pizza and such, I'd think it just fine. Lodge factory here, so may go that route. I've often thought of sanding my CI, but never find the time.

For what it's worth, I like a 2 to 1 mix of fresh mozzarella and drier mozzarella, if that makes sense. I tend to get the fresh mozzarella stringing from my mouth to my lap!

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

We have a Lodge factory not too far away and every year they have a "sidewalk sale." I have 2 regular skillets (8" & 9") plus a grill pan so I've never gone to the sale. Think I will this year and get me a pizza pan!

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Oh and had another 1/4 of the pizza for lunch. Wrapped in foil and heated in the toaster oven at 350° just long enough to get warm. Too hungry to wait any longer than that LOL. It reheated really well. Another plus!

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