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Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Use your cast iron pan or skillet and make your homemade pizza game better than ever! Introducing my Pizza dough made using yeast and both plain and wheat flour baked on a preheated cast iron pan. Bakes perfectly well with a puffy crust, chewy texture and crispy base. It can hold all kinds of your favourite toppings and still not be sloppy! But don't overdo though because, with Pizza, less is more flavour.πŸ˜‰
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

You are either team thin and crispy or team thick and chewy or maybe you are team any Pizza with lip-smacking toppings. For me, personally, a pizza should not be sloppy because I quite dislike messy eating. My experiments of nailing a perfect pizza dough with lesser all-purpose flour (maida) started a couple years ago in my Yanbu kitchen. As I don't have too many mouths to feed my experiments take time to reach success and then even longer to get them published here.🀐 I sincerely thank you all for waiting for this recipe and hope you will give this a try if you are looking for an easy pizza to feed two to three tummies. 

Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Why use a cast-iron skillet to make Pizza at home? 

Every "best" pizza recipe I read online had Pizza Stone mentioned as something that will give the best pizza. Then the pizza peel is used to transfer the pizza on to the stone. Now, I have no intention to buy the stone or peel and nor will my readers, right? I know about the baking sheet hack but a stone seems to be the issue. We are home chefs trying to make the most of everything! right? 😎I have tried making pizza in a baking tray but it turned out to be a sloppy pizza! Nowadays you get pizza pan with holes but that can wait or not. 😁 I had started using the cast iron pan for most of my cooking and one of my cast-iron skillet resides always on the stove. At some moment it dawned on me that a cast-iron pan can act like pizza stone! Then I googled to read how to use cast-iron to make pizza and voila - the internet was full of it! πŸ˜ƒAgain there are a few different methods but I find my method convenient for my kitchen and hopefully yours too.

Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza
 

How do you cook pizza on a cast iron pan?

I start on the stove and finish in the preheated oven. Heat the cast-iron pan on the lowest flame while you stretch the dough on the counter. Then carefully place the stretched dough on the pan and start adding the toppings. Once you are done with the toppings, move the pan to the preheated oven and bake until cheese melts. 

Homemade Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • Yeast: I always use instant yeast that resides in my fridge in a glass bottle. It never failed me so I add them directly to the flour. But if you are using any other yeast or not sure if they are alive or expired, then make sure you test it before you add to the flour. 
  • Water: Lukewarm water is required to activate the yeast
  • Flour: I have used both all-purpose white flour and wheat flour (chakki fresh) in equal portion for this recipe. You can substitute the wheat flour with an equal portion of plain flour or bread flour.
  • Oil: Use any olive oil. I have used extra virgin olive oil.
  • Salt: indispensable.
  • Sugar: sugar increases the yeast’s activity 
  • Semolina: Not in the dough, but is used to dust the board while stretching the dough thereby it makes the pizza crust crisp. 

How to make Pizza dough at home?

Scroll down for the complete written recipe.

I use 1 cup = 250ml measuring cup set. Scoop the flour and sweep with the blunt side of the knife to remove the excess.  I have used both plain flour (maida) and wheat flour (atta) but you can use all maida too. Take a large bowl and add both flour, yeast, sugar and salt and mix thoroughly using a whisk.
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Make a well in the centre and pour in oil and water. 
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Don't use your hands to knead now. If you do, you will end up using more flour and have messy fingers. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix until it starts to form a dough that comes away from the side of the bowl. 
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Dust your palms with flour and also sprinkle some on the work surface or in the same bowl and start kneading the dough. Keep a timer for 10 minutes and knead until smooth but slightly sticky - so don't use more flour while kneading. Stick to the recipe. Shape the dough into a ball by pulling and tucking behind.
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Grease the same large bowl with some olive oil all over the sides too. Place the dough in and turn over to coat the dough entirely with oil. Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place for 1 - 2 hours or until it doubles in size or you may keep in the refrigerator for an overnight slow rise which I did. It makes life easier and pizza tastier! Trust me! 
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Note: I plan to make 3 small pizza to fit my 9ish inch cast iron pans. I did not have enough space in the fridge to keep three big bowls so went through Rise#1 and Rise#2. You may divide the dough into 3 equal portions and let it rise on counter or fridge. You may then, skip Rise#2 and make pizza once they are doubled in size. But I highly recommend the overnight rise though. You may use the whole dough to make one large pizza. 
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Deflate the dough and make three equal-sized portion - approximately 170g each (you can make a log and cut equally or weigh the dough and divide by 3). Knead lightly with both hands by tucking under to make smooth topped dough balls. Place the balls in a tray with space between each ball and cover the tray with a lightly damp tea towel. Let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until almost doubled in size.
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza
If you plan to make only one or two pizza, then you can refrigerate or freeze the remaining dough in a ziplock bag or container. Bring to room temp before you use them. 

How to make Cast-iron Skillet Pizza?

Keep all your topping ingredients ready to use. It is always best to use cooked meat and roasted veggies. I do use raw onions and peppers but very thinly sliced. I have used leftover kebabs, made buffalo sauce chicken, pan-fried sausages, grilled chicken tikka, bbq chicken, etc. Preheat oven to at least to 275°C, or as high as your oven will go. Place the wire rack in the middle rack. Heat a cast-iron pan on the lowest flame but largest burner on the stovetop.  
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Sprinkle the roti roller plank or work surface with semolina. I use semolina as it helps to glide through the stretching. Take a dough ball (keep the rest always covered) and dredge it lightly in flour on all sides. Deflate and flatten the dough into a disc using fingertips but keeping the edge of the dough untouched. Form a border wall by keeping the edge thicker while spreading the inside until it's almost the size of a 9-inch cast-iron or pizza pan. You can watch Laura stretch the dough that really helped me learn.
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

If your cast-iron is well seasoned then you don't really have to grease but if it is new and still not formed the non-stick feature, then lightly grease the pan. If you used the wooden roti plank, like me, then slide the stretched pizza on to the hot cast-iron pan or lift carefully and place it on the hot pan and finish stretching it to fill the pan carefully. The image below is from an earlier trial. 
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

While the stretched pizza sits on the hot cast-iron pan on lowest flame, it starts to cook. You may switch off if it has become too hot. Start to spread the toppings in this order as quickly as you can but sparing the edges. 
  1. pizza sauce - I have only used store-bought but I add more seasoning 
  2. grated mozzarella
  3. cooked chicken or meat pieces or roasted veggies
  4. Sprinkle more mozzarella cheese and chilli flakes
  5. Brush olive oil all around the edge
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

You will notice the pizza has started to cook while it sits on the hot cast-iron pan. Now, use an oven mitten and move the cast-iron pan into the preheated oven.  If you don't have an oven, continue cooking the pizza on the skillet but cover and cook until cheese melts.
Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted, bubbly and has some golden spots. Remove from oven and use a flat spatula, like dosa turner to remove the pizza from the pan to serving plate. 

Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Cut into wedges, serve immediately! 

Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza Crust

Makes 3 small pizzas or 1 large pizza 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup = 250ml 
measured by scoop and sweep or levelled

For Pizza dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
1 cup wheat flour 
1 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoon olive oil 
3/4 cup lukewarm water 

Others: 
approx 1 tablespoon flour used while kneading 
approx 1 tablespoon olive oil for greasing the bowl, dough and brushing the pizza edges
approx a few teaspoons of semolina while stretching/shaping the dough

Pizza Toppings:
3 to 4 tablespoons of pizza sauce per pizza 
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese per pizza
Bell peppers
Onions
Sliced olives
Chilli flakes 
Cooked chicken/meat/veggies as per your choice 
Etc. 

METHOD

Prepare the pizza dough
    1. Take a large bowl and add both flour, yeast, sugar and salt and mix thoroughly using a whisk.
    2. Make a well in the centre. 
    3. Pour in oil and water. 
    4. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix until it starts to form a dough that comes away from the side of the bowl.
    5. Dust your palms with flour and also sprinkle some on the work surface or in the same bowl and start kneading the dough
    6. Keep a timer for 10 minutes and knead until smooth but slightly sticky - so don't use more flour while kneading. Stick to the recipe. 
    7. Shape the dough into a ball 
    Note: I did not have enough space in the fridge to keep three big bowls so went through Rise#1 and Rise#2. You may divide the dough into 3 equal portions for Rise #1 and let it rise on counter or fridge. You may then, skip Rise#2 and make pizza once they are doubled in size. But I highly recommend the overnight rise though. 

    Rise #1 
    1. Grease the same large bowl with some olive oil all over the sides too
    2. Place the dough in and turn over to coat the dough entirely with oil
    3. Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place for 1 - 2 hours or until it doubles in size or you may keep in the refrigerator for an overnight slow rise which I did. 
    Rise #2
    1. Remove the dough bowl from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes 
    2. Dust the work surface lightly with flour and place the dough  
    3. Deflate the dough and make three equal-sized portion - approximately 170g each (you can make a log and cut equally or weigh the dough and divide by 3)
    4. Knead lightly with both hands by tucking under to make a smooth topped dough balls
    5. Place the balls in a tray with space between each ball and cover the tray with a lightly damp tea towel
    6. Let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until almost doubled in size
    Keep your toppings ready to use:
    • Once we stretch the pizza, we cannot spend time looking for or prepping the toppings. So it is best practice to make sure you have your toppings all prepared before you start the pizza making. 
    • Chop onions, bell peppers, olives, etc 
    • Prepare your choice of chicken, beef, veggies, etc and let it cool so you can handle
    • Grate the cheese if using block mozzarella 
    Stretch the Pizza Dough:
    1. Preheat oven to at least to 275°C, or as high as your oven will go. Place the rack in the middle rack.
    2. Heat a cast-iron pan on the lowest flame but largest burner on the stovetop
    3. Sprinkle the roti roller plank or work surface with semolina 
    4. Take a dough ball (keep the rest always covered) and dredge it in flour on all sides 
    5. Deflate and flatten the dough into a disc using fingertips but keeping the edge of the dough untouched 
    6. Form a border wall by keeping the edge thicker while spreading the inside until it's almost the size of a 9-inch cast-iron or pizza pan. 
      • Place both your palms inside the "ridge" 
      • Keep your left palm stationary while you spread the dough with your right palm
      • Rotate the dough while your stretch 
      • Continue until it is evenly done just to fit the pan
      • Don’t stretch too much that the centre of the dough gets too thin and develops a hole
      • If you do manage to make a hole, don't fret. Just pinch that portion and go easy on the toppings. 
      • You can watch Laura stretch the dough that really helped me learn.
    7. If you used the wooden roti plank, like me, then slide the stretched pizza on to the hot cast-iron pan or lift carefully and place it on the hot pan and finish stretching it to fill the pan carefully.
    Add Toppings in this order:

    While the stretched pizza sits on the hot cast-iron pan on lowest flame, it starts to cook. You may switch off if it has become too hot. Start to spread the toppings in this order as quickly as you can:
    1. Spread pizza sauce using back of the spoon all over in circular motion
    2. Spread a thin layer of grated mozzarella
    3. Place your prepared toppings (cooked chicken or meat pieces or veggies) all over strategically. You may add some sliced raw onions and thinly cut bell peppers, olives, or any other topping elements of your choice.
    4. Sprinkle more mozzarella cheese 
    Bake the Pizza in Oven
    1. You will notice the pizza has started to cook while it sits on the hot cast-iron pan 
    2. Now, use an oven mitten and move the cast-iron pan in the preheated oven (If you don't have an oven, continue cooking the pizza on the skillet, but do cover the pan and cook until cheese melts.)
    3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and has some golden spots
    4. Use a flat spatula, like dosa turner to remove the pizza from the pan to serving plate. 
    5. Cut into wedges, serve immediately!
    Homemade Cast-iron Skillet Pizza

    But in due respect to all my favourite pizzerias in town, these homemade versions will never replace them! We still continue to support the local restaurants thereby supporting the employment. #stayhomestaysafe is still on because we have no cure for #covid19 As we ease into the normalcy please do continue to take precautions like mask and handwash. 

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    I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchai so that I can see your creations!

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