The ever fabulous pizza… Pizza dishes are so versatile and absolutely delicious. You can dress it up with all of the toppings you like or dress it down with just cheese. You can make it into a dessert with chocolate and fruit or turn it in to a delectable deep dish. The world is your oyster when it comes to creating pizza.
For me, However, My favorite pizza is simply made in a cast iron pan with an array of toppings… Well depending on which toppings I am feeling at that moment. lol. This pizza however is my go to. When I have no idea what to make I always make this and it is always a hit. We love pizza. It’s good what can I say?!
For the best pizza you have to start with the crust. If the dough is to dry you get a very chewy and tough crust. If the dough is to wet and sticky then you don’t get that pillowy texture. The trick is to get the dough just right and this recipe for my dough is perfect because you can adjust the flour so you get just the right amount. Most recipes just say add this particular amount and be done with it, but not mine. I will explain in the directions later as to why. Do not fret because it will be great. A lot of ppl do not take in to account the humidity when making the dough. This is always why the dough never turns out so soft. Also a lot of ppl do not cook their pizza at the right temperature so this will help you get it just right so you can have a perfect crust and pizza. So let’s get into it.
FOR THE CRUST:
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 pkt of dry active yeast ( I do not use rapid rise but you can if that is what you have on hand)
1/4 tsp sugar
5 c all-purpose flour ( give or take as you may not need all of the flour)
1 1/2 tsp fine ground salt
Olive oil ( for drizzling later)
- In a stand mixer ( you can absolutely do this by hand) Add the water and yeast and stir to combine and melt the yeast into the water. Add the sugar and mix well. Set aside for about 20 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. You should get a foam on the top of the mixture. If the foam does not form your yeast is bad. You will have to get new yeast and start over. ( tip* keep your yeast in an airtight container in the fridge and it will keep for almost a year this way)
- In a bowl combine the flour and salt. Whisk well to completely incorporate the salt and flour.
- In the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, turn the mixer on low and start slowly adding the flour. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to do this. This will help you keep your dough at the right consistency and will help you not add to much flour. Sometimes I use 4 cups and sometimes I use the whole 5 cups. It really depends on the humidity. Add just enough of the flour until your dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Your dough will be sticky at first but mix together between each addition of the flour to ensure that you are not adding to much flour to your dough. When the dough comes together stop adding the flour. You may or may not have flour left over. (95% of the time I have flour left over. (you can use the left over flour later)
- Now that you have added enough flour and it is mixed well, turn the mixer on level 4 (med speed) and kneed the dough for 5 to 8 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky to the touch and will be smooth to the look. After you kneed the mixture in the stand mixer turn off and place on a lightly floured surface. You can use a little of the flour left over. Kneed the dough for 3 minutes.
- Oil a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl and toss around to completely cover the dough in oil. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and place in your oven with the heat off and the oven light on. This will help it rise. Let it rise for about 1 to 3 hours or until doubled in size.
- Remove and place on a floured surface and kneed for 2 to 3 minutes. Now you are ready to roll it out. You can cut the dough in half of leave it as is. Either way it is up to you. If you like a thinner crust use 1/3 of the dough. medium crust use 1/2. Thick crust use 3/4 and for deep dish use the whole crust dough. Roll out to about 14 inches in diameter and you are ready for pizza making.
FOR THE PIZZA:
above pizza crust
pizza sauce of choice ( I use different sauces for different styles of pizza)
1 to 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
Toppings of choice ( I use thinly sliced onions and bell pepper 1/2 c each)
Pepperoni slices ( I use spicy)
1 tsp Italian Spice/herb blend
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Make sure your pizza dough is not in the oven when preheating. Place in a 12 inch cast iron pan in your oven and turn the oven all the way up to 500* to preheat both the pan and the oven. BE CAREFUL HANDLING HOT CAST IRON. ALWAYS USE OVEN MITTS AND DO NOT TOUCH THE PAN BARE HANDED! let the oven heat up about 30 minutes.
- When the oven and the pan is hot remove the cast iron pan with mitts because the pan is extremely hot! Roll out your pizza dough to about 14 inches in diameter or if you have it rolled out already just simply add a little bit of olive oil to the pan and brush to evenly coat the pan and sides. Carefully add the dough to the pan. You will hear it sizzle and that is ok. It is creating that nice crisp crust. Carefully move the dough around to evenly distribute all over the pan and slightly up the sides. DO NOT TOUCH THE PAN. IT IS VERY HOT..( just have to warn you because i’ve done this)
- Now that you have successfully placed in your dough you can now drizzle the top with olive oil and brush to evenly coat the dough.
- Add your sauce and evenly distribute across the dough. Sprinkle on the Italian seasoning, 1/2 of the onion and bell pepper. Top with all of the cheese you want. Add your pepperoni slices ( there is no limit to pepperoni) then top with the remaining onion and bell pepper slices.
- Using mitts (because the pan is still extremely hot) place the pan back into the very hot oven and cook for about 12 to 14 minutes or until the top is golden and the cheese is melted. Carefully remove and let set in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing. Use two spatulas to remove to a cutting board. Cut as desired and serve.
There are a few steps to this pizza but it really is not complicated at all. Once you get the dough down you can have this pizza on your table in less than 30 minutes. The most time is waiting on the dough to rise, but if you want really good pizza then waiting on the dough is worth it. You do not have to make this a pepperoni pizza as you can top this with what ever topping you like. This is just the basic and we switch it up every time we make it. Here are some examples of what we like.
sausage and bacon
ham and sausage
Nutella and fruit
Canadian bacon and pineapple ( if you like pineapple on pizza)
s’mores ( Nutella, marshmallow and chocolate chips)
white pizza sauce with veggies of choice
BBQ sauce with pulled pork
It really is so easy and versatile. You can mix and match and put absolutely anything on pizza dough ( well anything pizza worthy) and call it a meal…….or dessert.