My fool-proof recipe for a pan pizza with a deeply caramelized rim.Thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this video! Go to Squarespace.com for a free trial, and when you’re ready to launch, go to http://squarespace.com/ragusea
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Mother Bear's Pizza in Bloomington, Indiana: https://motherbearspizza.com/
My friend David Ragsdale's vintage cast iron restoration business in Athens, Georgia: https://www.instagram.com/whatsuphomerskillet/
Webpage showing the history of my new cast iron pan: http://www.modemac.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl/Birmingham_Stove_and_Range
10-inch Cast Iron Pan Pizza
Serves two — if you want to feed more people, you need more pans
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1-1.5 cups flour (bread or all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canned pureed tomatoes (I like Pastene "Kitchen Ready" ground tomatoes)
4 ounces whole milk, low moisture mozzarella, grated and kept cold
1 jalapeño pepper (optional), thinly sliced
Mix the yeast, sugar and warm water together in a bowl and let sit for 5 minuets. If the yeast float to the top and start to go foamy, that means they're alive and you're good to proceed. Put in one cup of flour and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, mix until it comes together, flour your hands and start kneading. Keep adding flour as needed to keep the dough from being untenably sticky, but don't add too much; it should be pretty wet and sticky at the end. Knead until you can stretch it out thin without it tearing. Form the dough into a smooth ball, coat it and the inside of the bowl with olive oil, cover, and let rise — either for at least 24 hours in the fridge, or 1-2 hours at room temperature — until doubled in size.
In a 10-inch cast iron pan (or 10-inch Teflon pan), pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom well. Put in a pinch of cornmeal, a little oregano, lots of black pepper and a small pinch of salt. Mix that together with your fingers and spread the seasoned oil around the bottom, corners and edges of the pan. Before you wash your hands, grab the risen dough ball and stretch it out a little wider than the pan. Put it in the pan, and let ir proof in there for a half hour, until puffy.
For the sauce, combine the tomatoes with a glug of olive oil, a pinch of sugar, and a few torn leaves of fresh basil. Make sure your cheese is ready and kept cold in the fridge.
Put the pan on your largest burner. Turn the burner on medium and your oven's broiler (grill) on high. Spoon the sauce onto the dough and spread it edge to edge. After the heat has been on for about 5 minutes, sprinkle the pizza with parmesan and then the mozzarella, edge to edge. Put on the jalapeño slices (or any other toppings, or not), and get ready to transfer the pizza to the oven. It's hard to tell when the right moment is — in my cast iron pan, 7-8 minutes from the time I turn on the burner is the perfect time, but it takes practice. The best indicator may be your nose — the second you smell something starting to burn, move the pizza. Broil it on a high rack until the top is brown to your liking, 4-5 minutes.
Remove the pizza and let it cool in the pan until firm. Use a butter knife to release the rim of browned cheese from the pan, and then pull the pizza out with tongs. The bottom may stick a bit — you can either try to scrape under there to release it, or simple tear it off with the tongs, it should be solid enough after cooling down to come out intact.