Making your own homemade pizza is fairly easy if you have the right tools and equipment to do so. For your dough, you would need a mixer. And for your pizza, you would need a reliable pizza peel and pizza pan. However, do you know how to use cast iron pizza pan? How about a wooden pizza peel? Truth be told, there is a lot to consider when making your own pizza at home, aside from the recipe and ingredients itself. For now, let’s focus on one tool needed in pizza making, which is the pizza pan.
Types of Pizza Pan
A pizza pan is a baking tool used to hold the pizza while it is cooking or baking in the oven. Due to the increasing popularity of pizza over the years, there are developments and innovations made in pizza pans leading to a variety of pans depending on the material and design. Here are some of the different types of pizza pans commonly used nowadays:
Deep Dish Pizza Pans
The deep-dish pizza pan features a notably high metal sidewall and is a type of pizza pans specifically designed for deep-dish and pan-style pizza. Deep-dish pizza pans come in round and rectangular shapes and are available in different materials such as aluminum, non-stick, and tin-plated stainless steel.
Pizza Screen and Disks
Pizza screen and disks have a mesh bottom that helps transfer heat to the dough faster and ultimately bake the pizza notably quicker. Aside from this, pizzas baked using a pizza screen or disk have a crispier crust ideal for making thin-crust pizzas.
Pizza stones are known for producing pizza that is relatively similar to the consistency and characteristics with pizza baked in brick-style oven pizza. Brick-style oven pizza is considered the traditional and authentic style of cooking pizza. Using a pizza stone in your conventional oven allows you to mimic and produce pizza closest to the characteristics of the traditional brick-style oven pizza.
Cast Iron Pizza Pans
Cast iron pizza pans are highly versatile pizza pans that can be used in the oven, grill, broiler, and the stovetop. Cast iron pizza pans are known for reaching and maintaining heat quickly, which allows the pizza to bake faster that creates a crispier crust for the pizza.
Why Opt for a Cast Iron Pizza Pan?
One of the most common questions asked when talking about pizza pans is the people’s opinion on which one is better between the pizza stone and the cast iron pizza pan. So before we go on learning how to use cast iron pizza pan, let’s first discuss the benefits of using a cast iron pan for your homemade pizza.
- Convenience. Unlike most pizza pans, cast iron pizza pans are highly convenient as you are no longer required to use a pizza peel to transfer, move, and retrieve your pizza from the oven. With its handles, you can easily hold on to the cast iron pizza pan with a pair of heat-resistant gloves. Aside from this, the material of the cast iron pizza pan itself can reach the required temperature relatively faster. This is because the metal can absorb heat fast and retain the heat for longer periods.
- Strength and Durability. The material used in making cast iron pizza pans is notably strong and durable, unlike pizza pans made with clay or aluminum. With proper care and maintenance, cast iron pizza pans can last for years without risks of cracks and breakage.
- Performance and Versatility. As mentioned earlier, cast iron pizza pans can be used for various purposes such as the stovetop, BBQ grill, oven, broiler, and even in a campfire. And in terms of performance, the cast iron pizza pan is a highly effective and efficient option. It is able to maintain heat as well as retain its temperature for longer periods which thoroughly cooks the pizza all the time and keep it warm even for a long time after cooking.
How to Bake Easy Cast Iron Pizza
Now moving on to how to use cast iron pizza pan, you should first know how to make the pizza that you’d have on your pizza pan. There are wide varieties of pizzas in terms of the toppings used on it. However, what is constant in these recipes is the way on how to make the dough of the pizza. To do so, you would need the following ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) warm water (105°F-115°F)
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
- 3 3/4 cups (490 g) bread flour
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (omit if cooking pizza in a wood-fired pizza oven)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Choice of toppings
Now, the trick to making quality homemade pizza is to know how to use cast iron pizza pan properly. To start making your pizza, prepare the cast iron pizza pan by preheating it in the oven at 500 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, instant yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil and use a mixing paddle attachment to mix on low speed for about a minute. Then, exchange the paddle into a dough hook attachment and mix the dough for 7 to 10 minutes on low to medium speed setting.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean bowl brushed with a thin layer of olive oil. Lightly move the bowl around to coat it with the oil before covering it with a plastic wrap to ferment and rise. You can keep it in the fridge for 24 hours for a more flavorful dough, but for a quick and easy pizza dough, you can let it ferment for 1 ½ hour in a warm place.
Once you’ve let the dough rise, you can remove the dough from the bowl and place it onto a clean surface dusted with flour. Divide the dough into two balls and let it sit for about 15 minutes up to 2 hours. You can then flatten the dough ball with a rolling pin and shape it to a 1/2 -inch thick round crust.
Now, carefully take out the preheated cast iron pan and drizzle the pan with some olive oil to keep the dough from sticking on to the pan. Carefully place the dough onto the pan and lightly press on the edges to secure the dough in place. Once set, you can start placing your chosen toppings and prepare to put the pizza in the oven and bake it until golden brown for about 12 to 14 minutes. Here’s how to learn more about baking pizza.
Learning how to use cast iron pizza pan is an effective and efficient option for homemade pizza as it allows you to use a more versatile, reliable, and durable tool for your baking needs and more. Keep in mind that despite being notable strong and durable, cast iron pizza pans still require proper care and maintenance to maintain its tip-top condition and to last for several years.