I don’t love pizza. I don’t hate it, either, but if I never had it again, I wouldn’t miss it.
Thing is, when you’re the mom, you make pizza because everyone else likes pizza, and you try to make the best pizza you can make. Kinda like how my mom doesn’t like tomato sauce, but made spaghetti and lasagna for us for years without even mentioning that she didn’t like the stuff. I’ve been working for a few years to get a deep-dish pizza that the family will really love, and I finally did it. And I don’t really care that it’s not my favorite food; they love it, and that’s what matters.
James and I like making our own pizza crust, because it’s so easy to let the bread machine do the kneading, but I’ve done it in the Kitchenaid mixer when the bread machine was occupied or I was making two batches, and it worked just fine, so don’t worry if you don’t have a bread machine. I’ll tell you how to do it by hand, too. Heck, buy dough if you want, no problem. Your shortcuts, your business. It really is easy, though, so you might wanna give this recipe a try.
We found that one batch of this dough was making the crust WAY too thick. You would think the solution would be to halve the recipe, but no, I am brilliant, and I decided to use one batch to make TWO pizzas. Genius, that’s me.
Now we had the perfect thickness, but the kid and James and I all agreed the crust was a bit soggy for our tastes. I was reading a Cooking Light article that recommended putting the sauce on TOP of the cheese and toppings, to avoid making the dough soggy, and it was this that saved the texture of our pizza.
Perfect Pan Pizza
[Note: My measurements are in grams, because that’s how I do things when I make bread. It’s sooooo easy to just pop the bread-machine pan on the scale, zero out, and add each ingredient by weight. Google will convert the measurements for you, or if you want me to do it for you, leave me a comment. Also, if you want to make two batches, you can freeze one batch for later. Just wrap it in two layers of plastic bag, and then thaw in the fridge or on the counter before using.]
50 g. olive oil
250 g. water
500 g. all purpose flour
10 g. salt
6 g. yeast
Olive oil for coating the bowl and pans
Any combination of sauce, cheese, and toppings
Fresh basil, if desired, cut into a chiffonade
You will need either two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes, or baking pans with a roughly equivalent total area. Pour in enough olive oil (or other oil, but olive oil is best) to completely cover the pan’s bottom in a thin layer of oil. Don’t be shy with the oil. It’ll be worth it.
For bread machine: Place all ingredients into bread machine in the order recommended and set on “dough” cycle.
For mixer or by hand: Mix all ingredients together. Knead on low speed of mixer for 5-10 minutes, or by hand for at least 10 minutes, until dough stops being sticky and takes on a springy, doughlike texture. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel, and let rise for about an hour, until it’s about doubled in volume and an indentation you make by poking the dough doesn’t spring back.
Preheat oven to 450F.
For both methods: Punch the dough down and let rest on a lightly floured board for about 10 minutes. Stretch and press half the dough until it’s roughly the size of your baking dish. Place in the baking dish and press with your fingers until it completely fills the dish. Let the dough relax again while you do the same in the second dish.
Once the dough is ready, add the ingredients in this order:
1) a layer of shredded or sliced cheese (for this one, I used shredded cheddar)
2) a layer of any toppings you like (in the photos, I used sausage, mushrooms, and onions)
3) If you like, a little more cheese
4) LAST, add the sauce, but not too much. You don’t want to sog things up.
Bake the pizzas until the crust is browned and the cheese is good and bubbly. I’d say this takes about 20 minutes, but it really depends a lot on your oven and the amount of stuff you’ve got on top.
After I pulled these from the oven, I added a chiffonade of basil. You do this AFTER the pizza is baked to avoid cooking the basil into a black mess.