This is the best pizza crust I’ve been able to achieve. The technique of cooking the bottom in a cast iron pan ensures that it is crispy and baked through. Finishing it under the broiler means the intense heat will char the crust and melt the cheese until it is golden an delicious.
Yield: 2 9-inch pizzas
- 3/4 cup water, lukewarm (105º – 110º F)
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 teaspoon yeast, either active dry or instant
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour (see note 1)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Stir water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Wait 10 minutes for the yeast to activate (the surface will be covered with a foam of yeast).
- Place flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed (stir) using the paddle attachment. Add the yeast mixture and continue until a shaggy dough is formed. Change to the dough hook and continue until the dough forms a ball and is smooth and elastic (see note 2). This can take from 5 – 15 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water. If it is too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour.
- Take the dough out of stand mixer, knead it a few times by hand and form it into a ball. Place the ball in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and put in a warm place until doubled (1 – 2 hours; see note 3).
- Remove the dough and cut into two equal pieces. If you will be making two pizzas, cover one piece and place it to the side. If you will only be making one pizza, place the second piece in a small zip top bag and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Heat a 10 inch or larger cast iron pan over medium high heat until very hot. Shape the dough into a 9 inch round and gather the dough around the edge to form a rim. Place dough in pan with rim up and cook until bottom is crisp, brown and lightly charred (make sure you cook it enough as the bottom will not be cooked any more after this). Burst any air bubbles that form. Turn dough over and quickly cook the top until is dry (no need to complete cooking it here as it will be cooked under the broiler).
- Place pizza on an upside down cookie sheet (you could use a pizza stone if that is more convenient) and top with your favorite pizza toppings (see note 4). Put broiler on high and place cookie sheet under broiler (see note 5). Keep a close eye on it and cook until crust rim is browned and charred in places and cheese is melted and starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
- The most accurate way to measure flour is by weight (that way you use the same amount every time). However, you can measure flour by volume if you are careful. Just use a tablespoon to overfill the measuring cup and then level it off and you should be fine.
- To test whether your dough has been kneaded sufficiently take a small piece of it and gently stretch it. If you can stretch it thin enough so you can see light through it without ripping it, you are done.
- To ensure a nice rise, I place a pan of boiling water in the bottom of my oven and let though dough rise on an upper rack.
- Make sure you don’t use too much sauce (2 – 3 tablespoons only).
- Depending on your broiler, you will need to adjust how far the pizza is from the heating element. I start with it four inches away until the cheese is melted and then move it closer to complete the cooking.