Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Stove Top Pizza Definitely Is Worth A Try

In my quest for making a pizza better than the run of the mill pizza shops that we have here, I have tried many recipes.

Just search this blog for Pizza, I'll wait.

You see, all the bits and pieces are here but they've not quite come together yet.

My oven also doesn't have a proper pizza stone.  Oh, I've tried them a number of times, but they always shatter.  A Pizza Steel, a thick slab of steel over 1/4 inch thick heated to over 500F, will be tried when I find one.  But the oven barely makes it to 500 as it is.

The hotter the oven, the better the pizza.  Proper Wood Fired ovens reach 800F.  Melting of Lead happens at 621F.  My oven?  Struggles to get past 450F.

So I have tried different recipes.  The water in South Florida does something weird to my dough.  Or rather Pat's Pizza Dough Recipe.  I've used it since around 1995 or so, and it makes an incredible bread.  Rolls, Pretzel Rolls, and Sesame Rolls are three of the things I use it for.  But the water here... not so good for pizza crusts.

I have used filtered water and that helps get a crispy when toasted crust that I was looking for.  The next time someone comes down from the Philadelphia area, please come back with a gallon of local tap water?

So I experiment.

In this case, the experiment worked.  It's made a better crust than I have made since I moved down here.  That Cracker Crisp crust that you want in a Thin Crust Pizza?  It's definitely possible.

Mind you, the recipe needs refinement.  As I list it below, the crust is a little underdone.  It probably needs 12 minutes in the second stage of baking - after you open the vents on your skillet.  It certainly could benefit from a quick couple minutes under the broiler to give you a nice layer of caramelization on top.   Cooking a Pizza in a skillet means that the toppings (Cheese, or otherwise) will be hot and gooey, but a different texture.

If you do try this, you will understand.

And do try this.  It went together in less time than it takes to cook a frozen pizza from the supermarket.  It took me 20 minutes from scratch ingredients to slicing it up.  That means that you have a very dangerous recipe here once you figure out all the wrinkles.

If you are really observant, you'll notice that the stove is still on in the above picture and set to "3" - Medium Low.  My stove has numbers from Low, 1 to 8, and High.  Medium is "5".  Your stove may vary, but this is typical for an electric stove in the US.

This recipe is adapted from the video below and a host of other references online. 

But this is how I did it this past weekend:

Stove Top Pizza

  • Crust
    • 1/2 cup Self-Rising Flour
    • 1/2 cup Plain Flour
    • 2/3 cup luke warm water
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 rounded teaspoon dried yeast
    • 1 teaspoon honey 
    • Olive Oil to grease the pan

  • Toppings - 
    • 4 ounces "Pizza Cheese" 
    • at least an ounce of Parmesan, (My Preference)
    • 10 fresh basil leaves split between the sauce and the top
    • 1/2 can of mushrooms 
    • 7 ounces of Pizza Sauce (give or take)

  • Prepare the ingredients in a COLD and oiled skillet with heavy and seal-able lid.
  • The Skillet should be 12 inches or 28 CM.
  • Add all ingredients for the crust in the greased skillet until a slightly sticky dough is formed.
  • Spread the dough evenly on the bottom of the skillet to form your crust.
  • Add toppings to the pizza crust.
  • Turn on the burner to MEDIUM.
  • Place lid on the skillet and make sure vents are sealed.
  • Now that the burner has warmed up, place the skillet with the completed pizza on the burner.
  • Cook the pizza for 5 minutes with the vents sealed.
  • At the 5 minute mark, open the vents and cook the pizza for another 10 minutes at MEDIUM LOW
  • The pizza should easily separate from the skillet at this point with a spatula.
  • Check the bottom of the crust for your own personal preference of "toasted", more time will be needed if it is not brown enough.
The video that inspired me to make this pizza is missing some answers to some questions, but it is included below.

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