Friday, March 27, 2015

Cast Iron Pizza Pan Crust {Family Favorite}

Sometimes I seriously wonder if my 4 kids are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reincarnated. Seriously. They can pack pizza away like high school boys {but they're only ages 2-6} and I find myself having to cut them off. Yes, cut them off like drunks at a bar. {I used to bartend, so I have good experience with this! haha} And as you probably know, ordering pizza from a restaurant can add up quick - real quick. So, I have 4 kids {+1 husband} who can eat pizza like they're competing in an eating challenge and I am trying to save money where I can - it only made sense to start making their favorite food at home. From scratch. Through many, many, many trial and errors - I present to you Cast Iron Pizza Pan Crust!

Really, the biggest problem I had in my attempt to make the perfect pizza crust was finding a surface that I preferred to cook the pizza crust on. I love the idea of a pizza stone - but I hate the idea of having to pre-heat the stone because I know I will get burnt on it. {no, really. I know I will.} Plus, with 4 kids I can not risk having the pizza stone out and them possibly walking by and burning themselves on it. Perhaps when I am they are older I will give a pizza stone a try. I had also tried a couple metal pizza pans with holes all over them, all I can say is Heck no, Techno. Then one day while searching for a cast iron skillet I saw that Lodge makes a Cast Iron Pizza Pan.
What?!?!?! After I picked myself up from falling out of my chair, I ordered one. I am a huge, huge, huge cast iron fan and just had faith that this would not be wasted money. I also ordered a pizza docker- a nifty little tool that reduces the chances of bubbles rising in the dough.
Then I sat by our front window and just waited for the package to arrive. haha

It wasn't perfect pizza right off the bat, this post for Cast Iron Pizza Pan Crust has been a long time coming. We've consumed many homemade pizzas, not all of them fabulous, to get to this final recipe. I've now been using this recipe for over a year - so I totally vouch for it. It's certainly not a thin crust pizza, but it's also not too thick. My kids love it, my husband loves it and I love it - so it's a keeper. This is my go-to pizza crust recipe and I hope you enjoy!!

Cast Iron Pizza Pan Crust
makes 1 pizza crust
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1. In stand mixer, mix together yeast and water. Stir in honey. Let sit for 10 minutes until yeast has activated and is frothy on top of water. Stir in olive oil and salt. Put stand mixer {with dough hook attachment} on speed 2 and add flour. Mix for about 3-5 minutes, when dough is no longer sticking to sides of bowl and is wrapping around the dough hook. Place dough in a greased bowl {i use vegetable oil spray} and cover, let dough rise for 60 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 425.
3. Flip bowl over so that dough drops in center of cast iron pizza pan. I’m aware this may not be the appropriate way to handle dough - but it’s been working for me, so I haven’t stopped doing it yet. Using fingertips, start at the center and gently start pressing dough outwards toward the outside of the pan. Leave about a 1” crust along the outer edge of the pan.
4. Bake for 8 minutes, or until top is starting to brown. Remove from oven and add sauce, cheese and toppings. Return to oven for 10-23 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden-brown.
5. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Slide metal flipper under pizza crust to make sure it’s not sticking anywhere. Carefully slide pizza onto cutting board/mat. {i use two cutting mats placed together.} Let cool for at least another 5 minutes and then cut.
6. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!


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