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This is my second post this week about National Pizza Week. I have included a recipe for a pizza made using a cast iron pan. Yum! But with that, I decided to take a quick look at using pizza stones versus cast iron when making your homemade pizza creations.
Pizza Stones vs Cast Iron
Pizza stones are made out of terra cotta materials and can be purchased in a number of sizes and shapes including square and round.
Why is a pizza stone good for your pizza? The material that the stone is made up of is porous and soaks up any liquid in the crust making it crispier. Crispy crust is a good aspect in a pizza.
Issues with pizza stones include their fragility. They can break. I have one — I know! You also have to preheat it for at least 30 minutes before using, It can also be difficult to clean. The stone itself is hot so you have to let it cool before you can handle it.
Having a cast iron pan means you can always make pizza. Once you season your pan well with oil (like all cast iron requires), you don’t have to buy anything else to make a pizza.
Why is cast iron good for your pizza? As long as the pan has no enamel, you can use it at extremely high temperatures. They retain heat really well and completely cook your pizza crust well and the rest of the pizza all the way through. Good for deep dish pizza options too! Yum too!
Disadvantages of cast iron? That heat retention — the pan gets really hot. You have to use good oven gloves to protect yourself. They are also kind of heavy so be careful. I would mention the size of the cast iron pan limits the size of your pizza but there are now more size options for cast iron pans as I discuss below!
So it really depends on the type of pizza you are making and what you are more comfortable with. The pizza in my recipe today uses cast iron.
Happy pizza-ing! Check out the recipe below!
Cast Iron Pizza Margherita
The ingredients of a classic Pizza Margherita represent the colors of Italy with its ripe red tomatoes, white Mozzarella cheese, and fresh green basil. This attractive combination of simple, yet delicious, ingredients explains why it is a favorite of pizza lovers everywhere.
This version combines all of the above with a well-seasoned cast iron cooking surface and a super-hot 500°F oven to deliver a delightfully crispy crust with a soft, but not overly chewy, interior.
It’s no secret that large cast-iron skillets (as noted above) are great for making deep dish pizzas at home, but there are a couple of drawbacks to this application. For starters, it is challenging to cut the pizza without damaging that highly coveted well-seasoned surface that makes cast-iron cookware so famous. What’s more, it is also difficult to transfer the whole pizza from the skillet to a safe cutting surface to avoid this problem.
For this reason, the flat surface of a 10½-inch square cast iron combo grill/griddle is used here instead (image above). Because it doesn’t have high sides, this piece makes it super easy to slide the finished pizza onto a more suitable surface before slicing.
Cast Iron Pizza Margherita
- Dough Ingredients:
- 1½ c. very warm water 110˚-115°F
- 2¼ t. active dry yeast
- 1 t. white or brown sugar
- 1 t. table salt
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil divided
- 4 c. all-purpose flour divided
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Toppings Ingredients for one pizza:
- 1/3 c. pizza sauce
- 1 T. dried Italian seasoning
- ½ T. garlic powder
- 3 small Campari tomatoes sliced***
- 4 oz. fresh Mozzarella sliced
- 3 oz. low-moisture Mozzarella shredded
- 3 T. fresh basil sliced (+ small sprigs for garnish)
- Crushed red pepper flakes optional, for garnish
- To proof the yeast, add the warm water to a large bowl, followed by the yeast and sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Add salt and two tablespoons olive oil to the same bowl and stir to combine. Gradually add two-and-a-half cups flour, one-half cup at a time, stirring continually until the flour is thoroughly incorporated into the dough.
- Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and lightly coat hands with additional flour. Drop the dough onto the prepared work surface and knead in the remaining flour just until the dough is no longer sticky. Shape dough into a ball and add to a clean bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour or until the dough doubles in size.
- Tip: It will take approximately 3½ cups of all-purpose flour for the dough to reach the correct consistency. (If the dough is still sticky at that point, work in a little more flour, one tablespoon at a time, just until no longer sticky). The additional flour in the ingredients list is for the work surface and your hands while working with the dough.
- When the dough is almost ready, place the top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat the oven to 500°F.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your lightly floured fist. After a couple of minutes, divide the dough in half and roll out one half on a clean, well-floured surface until it is a little bit larger than the surface of your cast iron skillet or griddle, as shown.
- Transfer the dough to the cast iron griddle and stretch it with your fingers until it completely fills the space, and the outer perimeter is slightly thicker than the rest of the crust.
- Brush remaining olive oil around the perimeter of the dough, as shown. Then top the dough with the pizza sauce and spread it into a thin, uniform layer up to the edge of the oil-brushed crust. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and garlic powder on top of the sauce in an even, uniform layer.
- Arrange the sliced tomatoes and fresh Mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle with the low-moisture shredded Mozzarella and carefully place the pizza in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is brown and bubbly.
- Carefully remove from oven and cool for several minutes before topping with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
- Tip: The pan will be very, very hot at this point, so use extreme caution while working around it.
- To serve, carefully slide the baked pizza to a clean cutting surface and slice into individual pieces. Enjoy!
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for your pizza making. Let me know in the comments if you make this recipe!
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