Originally published March 8, 2014
First, the pizza dough. There are a lot of ways to make pizza dough, but I find one of the easiest ways is to use a bread maker. Bread makers are really helpful gadgets and you can usually find a ton of them at thrift stores, because a gadget that includes “wait four hours” as part of its instructions doesn’t really scream “convenience” to most people. But with just a little bit of forethought, you can totally be eating fresh bread all the time for less than you’d spend on even cheap store-bought stuff.
Anyway, pizza dough in the bread maker.
Dump these ingredients into your breadmaker, in roughly this order:
- 1 cup flat beer. I used Bud Lite because I was trying to get rid of it. You could use a better beer, but I actually think “light” beers add just about the right flavor for this recipe. If you use a microbrew or something, consider combining it with some water.
- 2 tablespoons butter.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast.
- Dried herbs, as desired. I use oregano and basil, and I avoid garlic, despite the fact that I love garlic, because my bread maker manual tells me that it is “not a true friend of yeast”. You’ll have another chance to add flavorings when you make your finished pizza, anyway.
Select the “dough” cycle on your breadmaker and let it run. It should take about an hour and a half. After that time, you should see a nice, soft ball of pizza dough. Yay! I think this dough has kind of a sourdough smell to it, thanks to the beer.
If you’re making your pizza now, this is a good time to preheat your oven so it has time to get up to temperature — 450 degrees.
Now you want to roll out your pizza dough so that it’s a bit larger than your pan. My pan is a 10.25″ skillet that comes as part of the dutch oven-skillet combo from Lodge. This doesn’t seem like a very big pan, but with this recipe it will easily serve 2-3 people.
The author of the original article said you shouldn’t need any oil if your pan is well-seasoned. I think my pan has a good season, but I still used a bit of canola oil to be sure. Either way works, I’m sure.
Oil or not, put your rolled-out dough in your pan and fold in the edges to make a nice crust. It doesn’t have to be super-neat, just make sure the edges are taller than the center. After that, you can add your sauce, toppings and cheese. Definitely use that order so that your toppings don’t burn — it’s the only way I can actually *enjoy* pepperoni, rather than sigh and scrape of bits of rubbery burnt meat.
OK, this next part is where the macheesmo method is pretty cool. Pizzas need to be cooked hot and fast to maintain a good crunchy exterior, chewy interior texture. But your pan takes a long time to heat up in the oven.
So the first step in your cooking process is to put your pan on the stove for three minutes at high heat. This will heat your pan with minimal effect on your pizza.
After the pan is heated, transfer it to your preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is a nice golden brown.
TL;DR If you’ve read this far, see my cast iron pizza recipe without witty commentary for a good cooking reference.