Cast Iron Pan Pizza

Cast Iron Pan Pizza

This pan pizza recipe is sponsored by Squarespace,
the cast iron pan of website builders. By that, I mean, it can do anything — building,
hosting and even running your website or online store. To get 10 percent off your site, go
to This is a style of pizza associated with the
American midwest. I fell in love with it at a place in Bloomington, Indiana, called Mother
Bear’s. And if I’m honest, this style is much more suited to the home kitchen than, say,
Neapolitan or New York style pizza. Why? Because it’s baked at normal home-oven temperatures,
and if you do it my way, it requires virtually no pre-heating. This starts with a variation of my basic pizza
dough, which I normally make in a machine, but here’s how you can do it by hand. If possible,
get a wide bowl, and then put in a quarter teaspoon of yeast, a teaspoon of sugar and
half a cup of warm water. Stir it around and let it bloom for five minutes, just to make
sure that your yeast is still alive. In goes a glug of olive oil and we’ll start with one
cup of flour, and half a teaspoon of salt. Then I just start mixing with a silicons spatula,
though you could certainly do this with your hands. Once I’ve done everything I can do
with the spatula, I throw some flour on my hand and get kneading. Some people would move
this to a board for this stage. But if you’ve got a wide bowl, you can do it all in here,
and can keep the entire mess contained in here. I’m just folding, and then leaning into
it with my palm. Here’s the thing I think I’ve learned about
pizza dough. The wetter it is, the better it tastes. I mean I’m sure there’s an upper
limit on that, but I haven’t hit it yet. The only downside of a wet, sticky dough is it’s
hard to work with, and it’s likely to stick to the peel. But with this recipe, we won’t
be using a peel, so it’s a moot point. I just keep adding just enough flour such that I
can keep kneading it, and if it’s kinda sticky and messy, who cares. I’m using bread flour,
but you could use all purpose. I think this style of pizza is better if it’s a little
softer, i.e. less chewy, and by that same token, I don’t think you have to knead this
to death. Just until you can stretch it out thin without it tearing. Toss some olive oil on top, grease her up,
and use her to grease the sides of the bowl. This is just enough dough for one pizza. And
if it starts off round, it’ll be easier to stretch out round later. Cover it up, and I normally like a long, cold
rise in the fridge — at least a day, and up to a week. But let’s just rise it on the
table today. After an hour and half or so it’ll look like that. Doubled in size. Yes, I had sworn off cast iron pans. Thing
is, my friend David finds and restores antique cast iron pans, and he gave me this beautiful
10-inch one as a present. It was made in Alabama, maybe as early as the 1930s, and how are you
gonna say no to that? I’ve been working on giving it a good cure, and you’re gonna need
one, lest your pizza stick. Enough olive oil to coat the pan goes in,
and it’s amazing how much non-stick insurance you can buy with just a pinch of cornmeal.
That combination of oil and cornmeal is magically non-stick. Now rev up your meme machines,
boys and girls, because yes, I’m going to season my pan, not my pizza. Good amount of
black pepper, a few shakes of oregano maybe, and a little pinch of salt. Just mix it all
up and get everything coated with it, especially those corners and along those edges. Now, while your hands are still greasy, grab
your dough ball. Wow that is soft and sticky. This is one reason I prefer to work with refrigerated
dough; it’s stiffer. You can just let gravity do the work, here. Rotate, let it fall and
stretch, rotate, let it fall and stretch. You want to get it stretched a little wider
than your pan; that will ensure a snug fit. Got a hole there — no prob, I’ll just tear
off some excess and patch it up. This does not have to look pretty, it’s all gonna get
covered up, edge-to-edge. Just let this sit and proof — that means rise a second time
— right there in the pan for a half hour. I’ll explain why later. Now, sauce. I have grown disenchanted with San Marzano
tomatoes lately, and boy have a found something better for pizza sauce. #notanad, this is
the best widely available canned tomato product in the U.S. for raw pizza sauce: Pastene “Kitchen
Ready” ground tomatoes. I think a third of a cup is the precise right
amount for a 10-inch pizza. Then I do a glug of olive oil, a pinch of sugar, and maybe
tear in some fresh basil today, and that is it. If you pre-cook pizza sauce, it tends
to make your pizza taste more like lasagna than pizza, and that’s a particular hazard
with this thick, casserole-style pizza we’re making today. Find you a canned tomato that
tastes good enough raw. And it doesn’t need salt. Plenty of salt in the cheese and the
crust. Speaking of cheese, the secret for any pizza
style with a thick layer of cheese is low-moisture mozzarella, and whole-milk mozzarella has
the best flavor. That’s a combination of traits that is harder to find than a lot of people
realize. I was able to find it in my tiny city in the form of sticks, which is fine.
These are an ounce each; I think you want four ounces for this pizza. And throw into
the fridge until you’re ready to use it. I’ll explain why in a sec. Toppings. I’m not a big toppings guy, but
one topping I can get behind is very thinly sliced chiles — Pizza Diablo. That’s just
a jalapeño. I think toppings need to be strong enough in flavor such they can work very thin
and/or in very small quantities, otherwise they throw off the texture and the cooking. Ok, let’s cook this thing. You want to be
sure to use your largest burner. If the burner is too small, the pan will heat unevenly and
the middle of the pizza will burn. Look how puffy our dough has gotten after proofing
in there for a half hour. Alright, burner goes on medium heat, and I’ll go ahead and
turn my broiler on high. Brits, that means your grill. This sure is more energy efficient
than preheating a pizza stone for an hour. Now is when I go ahead and spoon on my sauce.
And here’s the part that feels really unnatural to me — you spread the sauce edge to edge.
This pizza will not have a bare rim. Here is why I think it’s important to proof
the pizza until puffy in the pan. We are starting to cook the pizza’s underside right now. This
will partially set the bread’s structure before it goes into the oven, which will restrict
it’s so-called “oven spring.” Oven spring is when the water in dough converts to steam
in the oven and inflates the bread before it set up hard. This is gonna be partially
set before it gets the chance to really steam up, so we’re gonna loose some oven spring.
We’ve compensated for that by essentially pre-springing our bread, by inflating it with
carbon dioxide from our yeast, instead of steam from our water. I’ve put on my grated parmesan, and now, after
the heat’s been on for five minutes, I’ll get my mozz out of the fridge, and put that
on, again, edge to edge. Keeping your mozz cold up until the last possible second is
the secret to making sure it doesn’t overheat in the oven and split, squeezing out its fat
in an orange grease layer. Toppings go on, and this right here is the
only really tricky part of this recipe — judging when to pull this off the heat and put it
under the broiler. If you leave it on too long, the bottom will be burned. I think it
just takes some practice. With my oven, my pan, 7 or 8 minutes from the time I turn on
the hea is the magic time. Rack in a high position, broiler on high, because this is
gonna happen fast — just until the cheese is brown to your liking. This one took four
minutes. Out it comes, NOT onto the hot burner you were just cooking on. I totally haven’t
made that mistake before. Look how pretty that is, and barely a drop
of orange grease. You keep the cheese cold, the surface of it browns before the interior
can overheat. There’s no rush getting this out of the pan. You want to let it solidify.
When the cheese firms up, you can grab a butter knife and just go around the edge to release
those crispy bits, aka the best part. I’ll grab myself a cooling rack — you could do
it straight onto board. And if you’ve let it cool down, you should be able to pull it
off with some tongs. The bottom might stick a little, but it should break off. Look at
what those edge-to-edge toppings get you. That’s the Mother Bear’s effect I loved in
Indiana. Super caramelized cheese, sauce and bread around the edge. Here’s an angle of my kitchen I don’t show
you very often. Check out the bottom. Beautiful golden brown. If you don’t cook the pan on
the stove, if you just put the pan cold into the oven, as some pan pizza recipes have you
do, you won’t get this. The bottom will be pale and bready, and the overall product will
be more like a focaccia than a pizza. Surely I am not the first person to do this seasoning
the pan business, right? It’s amazing. It makes the crust taste like a breadstick. Now, you might be wondering, do I need a cast-iron
skillet? Can I do this with a Teflon pan? Yes, you can. I did it. Went great, only problem
is I undercooked the bottom. I think because my nonstick pan is less massive — it holds
on to less heat. I needed to give it more time on the stovetop. Might take some practice,
but yeah, that is possible. Now you might be wondering, isn’t it dangerous
to put Teflon under the broiler? Maybe, but I don’t think so in this case. I hope to answer
all of your nonstick health and safety questions on Monday. However, I can answer all of your website
questions right now: Squarespace. How do all these people have a beautiful website
that would cost thousands to get custom designed and built? Squarespace. How do people have a fully functional online
store on their website when they definitely don’t have a team of developers building and
running that for them? Squarespace. How did my friend who isn’t tech-savvy in
the slightest figure out how to register a custom domain? Squarespace. How does this food blogger seamlessly integrate
beautiful photos and video and text? Squarespace. How can I sear, fry, roast, braise and even
cook an omelette in the same pan? Well-cured cast iron, which is basically like
Squarespace. Squarespace is all I need, and it’s probably all you need, too. To get 10
percent off your first website or domain registration, go to and enter my
offer code, Ragusea. That’s all right down in the description. Thanks so Squarespace for sponsoring this
video. Thanks also to some folks whose consultations helped me develop this pizza recipe: my neighbor,
Rebecca Richard, also Vinegar Legates Dan Linux and Matt Zielinski. Yes, I have decided
to call my regular viewers “Vinegar Legates.” T-shirts coming soon.

68 thoughts on “Cast Iron Pan Pizza

  1. Q: Didn't Babish just make a video about pan pizza? Are you just copying him?
    A: He sure did, and it was great, as usual! But that's just a coincidence. Now that I have sponsors, all my stuff has to be scheduled several weeks out; I've had this on the books for a while. My recipe is also very different from his, and I'm sure he'd be the first to tell you that none of us "own" something so basic as pan pizza.

    Q: What do you mean it's safe for me to broil this in a non-stick pan?
    A: According to my infrared thermometer tests, the exposed rim of my pan only hit about 350 F under the broiler before the pizza was done. Nonstick pans don't start breaking down until at least 570 F. In a test, it took my pan 20 minutes to get that hot directly under the broiler, totally empty. Again, you'll get a deep-dive on Teflon safety in Monday's vid.

    Q: Did you accidentally release this video early?
    A: I always upload my videos a couple days early as unlisted, because I need to send them to experts for fact-checking, and to sponsors for approval. Apparently there is a bug in YouTube's system, where if you assign an unlisted video to a public playlist, it will be listed via that playlist, so at least 50 people were able to watch this one early as a result. Won't make that mistake again!

    Q: Can I get one of those vintage restored cast iron pans your friend gave you?
    A: Absolutely! David sells them:

  2. Adam you said not to kneed this to death just until you can stretch it out thin. I kneaded mine for like 15-20minutes and still didn't get there. I feel like that length of time is kinda "to death" what am I doing wrong?

  3. I made this for dinner, WOW! I'll have to use this method more in the summer. The oven can really heat up my apartment but the broiler doesn't effect it as much.

  4. i’m from warner robins. i’ve been meaning to ask where you get those cheese sticks. now i also want to know where to pick these canned crushed tomatoes. thanks in advance.

  5. So here goes… I did not even have time to take pictures of it before the hoard descended on it and devoured it. The kids like turkey and not just for Thanksgiving. We had a turkey last night and along with the obligatory bone broth and tons of leftovers, I also had leftover gravy and stuffing. Still had some dough balls left over from last weekend and I laid up the skillet. I swapped out the Oregano for Herbs de Provence and reduced the salt as the gravy did end up a little on the salty side. Followed your recipe for seasoning the pan and laid the dough down. When cooking it I spread the gravy on the dough instead of pizza sauce. Then laid in the cheese, sprinkled stuffing and thinly sliced and chopped pieces of white meat. When it came out it smelled like Thanksgiving I took it out of the pan and sliced it up and for the second piece I went into the fridge for some cranberries. Thanksgiving for us is in two weeks but you can be sure that this variation on your recipe will be present.

  6. Decided to try this with my 8” cast iron skillet, and was very skeptical it would work. Honestly blew me away. Worked perfectly! You’ve ruined all other homemade pizzas, and for this, I thank you.

  7. To answer the question near the end: It's not actually all that dangerous to put a teflon pan under a broiler under normal conditions.. PTFE (teflon) doesn't start to decompose and offgas until it reaches about 350C (662F).

  8. I attempted this with pizza dough j already had and uhh, whoopsie, it turned out horrible. The pizza dough I had was too large and it burnt on the bottom, you weren't kidding when you said you had to time it.
    Plus it tasted like vomit to me since I used Romano instead of parmesan since I ordered from Walmart and they gave me the wrong cheese.

    I'm gonna try this again when I get the ingredients, because this is my favorite kind of pizza.

  9. "Usually I let it sit at 1.6C for 24 hours or even 168 hours, but today, I'll let it sit at 21C for less than 2 hours.
    'Gives no explanation'
    Well, fuck you too.
    "Usually I let it sit at 1.6C for 1440 minutes or even 10,080 minutes, but today, I'll let it sit at 21C for 90 minutes.

    "Usually I let it sit at 1.6C for 86,400 seconds or even 604,800 seconds, but today, I'll let it sit at 21C for 5400 seconds"


  10. Came back to say that I have made this recipe twice now and had both times come out AWESOME! So much easier than using a pizza stone, and everyone loves fresh pizza! 🙂 Thanks Adam!

  11. Finally tried this tonight sans peppers. Huge hit! Rock solid recipe. I went a little long on top of the stove but kids didn’t even notice 🙂

  12. 'MOTHER🐻BEAR'S!!!!

  13. This is a great recipe! My family tried it tonight & loves it. We will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

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