Thick and Fluffy Pan Pizza

pizza

My eight-year-old is proud of the fact that she gets to “make dinner” (with help, of course) every Sunday; one of her favorite things to make is pizza. Sometimes we use storebought crust, sometimes ciabatta bread, and sometimes homemade dough– this new one, from Food52.com, is my new favorite!

The dough is extremely easy to put together– it takes mere minutes to stir up the ingredients, and a little attention for the first hour to gently fold it (rather than knead) a few times, during which it miraculously transforms from a shaggy dough to a smooth, stretchy one. After that it sits in the fridge for 1-3 days before a 2-hour rise in the pizza pan, and it results in the lightest, fluffiest (yet still chewy) pizza crust ever, with great flavor and a nice crispy outside.

The pizza recipe below can of course be adapted almost infinitely, but I really enjoyed the basic pizza it produced. I will definitely be making this one again and again! I note that the recipe originally called for “low moisture mozzarella,” but I misread it originally and used fresh mozzarella in a ball– it turned out just fine, so you can use what you have!

Fluffy Pan Pizza (from Food52)

  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt (like table salt, not kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) olive oil plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (18 grams) olive oil for the pan
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 1/4 cups), OR 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cups (74 grams to 113 grams) tomato sauce or pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • Optional basil leaves, other cheese, or toppings

 

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, yeast, and water to form a sticky dough.
  • Cover with a towel and let sit for 5 minutes, then (using your hand or a dough scraper) scoop under one edge of the dough and stretch it over the top. Repeat three more times, rotating 90 degrees each time.
  • Re-cover and set aside for another 5 minutes, then repeat the process. Do this twice more until you have “folded” the dough for a total of four cycles. Here’s the dough at the very beginning, and after the last fold:

pizza-dough-fold

  • Re-cover and let dough sit for 40 minutes at room temperature.
  • Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for 12-72 hours.
  • 3 hours before you are ready to eat, prepare a 9″ round baking pan or (even better) a 9″ cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet by pouring 1 1/2 tbs. of oil into it and spreading it all over the bottom and sides.
  • Put your dough ball into the oiled pan and turn it over to coat all sides. Then stretch out the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. If it’s too springy, let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature and try again.
  • Once dough is spread out completely, cover it up again and let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature. Here it is right out of the fridge, and after spreading into the pan and rising for 2 hours:

pizza-dough-rise

  • At about 1 hour and 45 minutes in, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, putting your rack near the bottom of the oven.
  • Spread about 3/4 of your cheese over the entire surface of the dough, going all the way out to the edges.
  • Dollop tomato sauce over the cheese in small spoonfuls– don’t try to spread it or you’ll deflate your dough.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the sauce. Add any desired toppings (except for fresh basil, which you should add at the 15-minute mark of baking).
  • Bake the pizza for about 20 minutes, then use a fork to pull the crust slightly away from the side of the pan to check if it’s golden brown yet. If not, keep baking for another 2-4 minutes

pizza-bake

  • Remove pan from the oven and let the pizza cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to a cutting surface and cut into thick wedges.

 

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