Like many housebound Americans right now, I've been embracing the baking trend with both floury hands. After mastering pretzels, bagels, and Depression-era peanut butter bread, a pillowy pan-pizza recipe caught my eye. I've failed at deep-dish pizza before (though my husband swears "it was good," I know that dough was dense trash), but King Arthur Flour's Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza Recipe looked too good to ignore.
It's cheesy! It's easy! It's . . . going to take me a minimum of 17 hours?! If there's one element to bread baking that I know eliminates a giant portion of the population from even attempting a recipe, it's the sheer amount of time dough takes to ready itself before you can even put it in the oven. But here's the thing: this bread recipe doesn't take much actual work; it's all about making sure you've timed out your day properly.
You're going to need about 30 minutes to prep the dough, then it needs to chill (literally and colloquially) for a minimum of 12 hours, or up to 72 hours. Here's where timing is important: take the dough out three hours before you want to bake the pizza. It'll need some time to rise in the pan, which is where it becomes all pillowy and airy. After that, it's a piece of cake, er, pie.
If you just want the recipe, scroll to the bottom now. If you want a bunch of doughy, cheesy pictures, scroll slowly.
After combining the dough's ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, water, and a wee bit of olive oil), you have to "fold" the dough ball several times. This involves taking either a wet hand or a spatula and stretching the dough over itself. At first, my dough was extremely sticky and it was tough to fold cleanly. After the third round of folding, it looked like this and was slightly easier to handle with my silicone spatula.
After four rounds of folding, it was time to let the dough hang out in the refrigerator overnight. It looked . . . like a ball of dough?
The next day, it looked . . . like the same ball of dough? Rising was very minimal, leading me to assume I'd made a mistake somewhere. The original recipe did note that the longer it rested during this phase, the more it would rise, so if I'd let it sit over the weekend, I would've probably had a larger dough.
My worries diminished when I moved onto the next phase: pressing it into the pan. Plan to have oily fingers for 30 minutes, because the dough will shrink back after the first couple attempts at dimpling. Here's how it looked after my third time stretching it:
And here's how it looked after two hours of rising in the pan:
Huge, I know. Don't you want to shrink down and sleep on it?
Once your dough has risen and your oven has been preheated, you're golden. The key now is to resist your urge to slather the dough in pizza sauce. Shredded mozzarella goes first; it should completely cover the dough, stretching to the edges of the pan, where it'll melt and caramelize. If you put the sauce down first, it'll saturate the dough and make it soggy. Here's mine after two rounds of mozz and some sauce:
(Just to clarify, this is not an advertisement for Tillamook or Mezzetta, but those brands are my go-tos for cheese and tomato sauces. I also live in the Pacific Northwest, where Tillamook is a way of life.)
Finally, look at this GORGEOUS pan pizza that popped out of my oven after 22 minutes:
She's gooey, she's saucy, and she needs her crust to be gently moved away from the sides of the pan, otherwise her cheese will adhere to the cast iron and you'll need an icepick to free her. Trust me, I made this mistake.
In closing, I'll leave you with this picture of my dog, which sums up how both he and I feel about this pizza: drool-worthy.
These are the basic ingredients; you are welcome to add pepperoni, parmesan, herbs, etc. depending on your taste!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for the pan)
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella
1/2 cup pizza sauce
- Mix the flour, salt, yeast, water, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer to make a shaggy, sticky mass of dough. (This should take 30 to 45 seconds using the beater paddle.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl to gather the dough into a rough ball; cover the bowl.
- After 5 minutes, uncover the bowl and reach a bowl scraper or your wet hand down between the side of the bowl and the dough, as though you were going to lift the dough out. Instead of lifting, stretch the bottom of the dough up and over its top. Repeat three more times, turning the bowl 90° each time. This process of four stretches, which takes the place of kneading, is called a "fold."
- Re-cover the bowl, and after 5 minutes do another fold. Wait 5 minutes and repeat; then another 5 minutes, and do a fourth and final fold. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest, undisturbed, for 40 minutes. Then refrigerate it for a minimum of 12 hours, or up to 72 hours.
- About 3 hours before you want to serve your pizza, prepare your pan by pouring 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil into a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, use another oven-safe skillet, a 10" round cake pan, or 9" square pan. Use your fingers or a paper towel to spread some oil up the edges.
- Transfer the dough to the pan and turn it once to coat both sides with the oil. Press the dough to the edges of the pan, dimpling it using the tips of your fingers in the process. The dough may start to resist and shrink back; that’s OK, just cover it and let it rest for about 15 minutes, then repeat the dimpling/pressing. At this point the dough should reach the edges of the pan; if it doesn’t, give it one more 15-minute rest before dimpling/pressing a third and final time.
- Cover the crust and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature. The fully risen dough will look soft and pillowy and will jiggle when you gently shake the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- When you’re ready to bake the pizza, sprinkle about three-quarters of the mozzarella evenly over the crust. Cover the entire crust, no bare dough showing; this will yield caramelized edges. Dollop small spoonfuls of the sauce over the cheese; laying the cheese down first like this will prevent the sauce from seeping into the crust and making it soggy. Sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella.
- Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom and edges of the crust are a rich golden brown (use a spatula to check the bottom). If the bottom is brown but the top still seems pale, transfer the pizza to the top rack and bake for 2 to 4 minutes longer. On the other hand, if the top seems fine but the bottom's not browned to your liking, leave the pizza on the bottom rack for another 2 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and place the pan on a heatproof surface. Carefully run a table knife or spatula between the edge of the pizza and side of the pan to prevent the cheese from sticking as it cools. Let the pizza cool very briefly; as soon as you feel comfortable doing so, carefully transfer it from the pan to a cooling rack or cutting surface. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
- Serve the pizza and enjoy!
- Main Dishes, Pizza
- 2-4 servings, depending on hunger levels
- Total Time
- 15 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds