According to Pizza.com, the average American eats about 46 slices--or roughly 10.4kg.--of pizza a year. Takeout and frozen pizzas account for the bulk of it, but homemade pizza can be just as good--if not better. Making pizza at home isn't difficult; you can make your own dough, or start with pre-made dough. Forget the pizza stones and special pizza dishes as well--a cast iron frying pan will give you that old fashioned taste, and is fairly simple to use. Top your creation with your favourite toppings and bake for a fresh, do-it-yourself delight.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Cast iron frying pan
- Pizza dough
- Pizza sauce
Place your oven rack in the middle to lower position inside your oven; too close to the heat source may burn the toppings or crust. Adjust rack to suit the conditions of your oven.
Preheat your oven to at least 232 degrees Celsius, or 260 degrees Celsius, maximum. Adjust cooking times slightly as needed, lengthening for a lower temperature and shortening cooking time at higher temperatures.
Preheat the cast iron pan, placing it in the oven until your dough is ready. Add a small amount of your preferred cooking oil to the pan before you put it in the oven--from 2 tsp to 2 tbsp, according to taste. Sprinkle enough cornmeal to coat the pan's bottom in addition to, or instead of, oil; oil gives more of a "pan" pizza quality, but can create an oily crust if you use too much or cook to slowly. Cornmeal provides a different texture, and both methods help prevent sticking, although a well-seasoned and cared for cast iron pan should not stick.
Cover your working surface with a small amount of flour to prevent sticking. Place a 1/0.907kg. ball of pizza dough in the middle of the work area. Use either homemade dough, allowing it to rise before proceeding, or purchased dough.
Knead homemade dough, pushing down and away with the heel of your hand to work it thoroughly. Gather back into a ball and repeat several times, until the pizza dough becomes smoother and less sticky to touch. Add flour if needed while kneading. Knead approximately 50 times for desired results.
Roll your pizza dough with a rolling pin, creating a round shape. Alternatively, work the dough into a round shape with your hands, first slapping it back and forth to almost the proper size. Lay the dough flat again, then use your fingers to push gently but firmly down and out around the outer 1/3 of the dough round. This helps create a rim for the pizza while stretching the dough slightly larger.
Remove the cast iron pan from the oven. Lift the prepared dough up gently from the work area surface and place inside your pan, laying first one side of the circle and then carefully allowing the other side to slip into place.
Drop a ladle of pizza sauce, adjusting the amount according to taste. Use the back of the ladle to spread the sauce outwards to about 1/2 to 1 inch away from the pizza edge.
Add a small amount of cheese, then your choice of toppings. Add meats first, followed by any veggies. Leave a very small bare spot in the centre if the pizza has a lot of toppings--five or more toppings, for instance. This will help the centre of the pizza bake completely. Sprinkle more cheese on top of the final ingredients.
Bake at 232 degrees C Fahrenheit for between 15 and 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your pizza towards the end of the baking time; cheese should melt and bubble, and the crust turn golden brown when done.
Remove the pizza from the oven. Slide it out of the pan onto a cutting board. Slice and serve pizza.
Tips and warnings
- Spray the dough, especially the rim, with flavoured cooking sprays such as garlic butter, and experiment with different toppings for a change of pace.
- Pre-cooking meats such as sausage and pepperoni eliminates excess grease on your pizza.
- You can pat prepared dough into the bottom of a pan instead of rolling and working by hand.
- Reduce the temperature after 10 minutes and extend cooking time if dough browns too quickly without cooking the centre. Experimentation will provide the best results.
- Be careful when preheating the pan and placing the pizza dough in. Pans will be hot, and grease can easily splatter, resulting in severe, instantaneous burns.
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