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Minimalist's Pan Fried Pizza


mhjoseph
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In today's NYT Mark Bittman does a pan fried pizza that looks really promising.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/dining/0...html?ref=dining

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Tell me what you guys think. By coincidence I made pizza dough last night and it's fermenting in the fridge for tonight's supper and I plan to give it a try.

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I make my pizza in a similar fashion. I use a hot cast iron skillet to get the dough crusty and place pan and all into a 500 degree oven to cook the toppings. My BIL taught me this method (he learned from his Sicilian Grandmother).

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I have done this many times with a Chicago-style pizza crust. It adds a crunchy layer at the bottom that I love in an otherwise often over soggy pie.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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In today's NYT Mark Bittman does a pan fried pizza that looks really promising.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/dining/0...html?ref=dining

(Registration required as usual)

Tell me what you guys think. By coincidence I made pizza dough last night and it's fermenting in the fridge for tonight's supper and I plan to give it a try.

I am a big fan of the minimalist bread and am continually disappointed with the crispness of my pizza crusts. Looking forward to hearing how this turns out.

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Well, I tried it tonight and it was quite good. The next time I would make a thinner crust, the first pie burned a bit on the bottom so I overcompensated on the next one and ended up sticking it under the broiler to melt the cheese.

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I tried it today. I was hoping for a flavor effect similar to country bread fried in olive oil (which is SO FREAKING YUMMY), but it wasn't as good as that. Maybe I should have used a better olive oil--I used the standard Costco Filippo Berio or whatever it's called EVOO. Also, I had to stick the pan under the broiler because my heat was too high when I flipped the dough and applied toppings--the bottom would have scorched if I waited until the cheese melted. (I hadn't preheated my broiler, so it meant a project that should have taken only a few minutes took more like 30 all told.)

Definitely turn the heat down low when you flip the pizza dough disk.

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Like mhjoseph and Malawry I just had to try this and like both of them I need to tweak the procedure somewhat. The crust needs to be much thinner than I made it and I had the heat too high to cook it all the way through without burning. I was definitely hoping for a crispy crust but that didn't happen. I also resorted to the broiler to melt the cheese. All that said, I will definitely be trying this again because I really believe it has great potential. The very idea of a pizza without heating up the house with the oven on full blast is too appealing to give up easily.

I wish I was running a test kitchen where I could just dump the unsuccessful experiments and keep going until I get it right. But here you eat your failures and then are too full to carry on! :rolleyes:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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FWIW, when I do it, I preheat a BIG cast iron fry pan in the oven, with nothing in it. (350F)

When the dough is risen and loose enough to be worked, I take the pan out of the oven, put it on a medium burner, and put some peanut oil in it.

When the peanut oil is hot and the dough is the right size, I drop it in, top it on the stove, and stick the whole thing back in the oven, working as quickly as possible.

I don't flip the dough.

One thing to be careful of is not letting people cut the pizza IN your cast iron. :blink: I usually slide them out onto a warmed pizza stone.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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Pax, I'm sure your pizza is fabulous. But I don't see the benefit of that over baking a pizza on a pizza stone in a hot oven, personally. To me, the whole excitement over the Bittman technique is the idea that I could have a crisp-crusted pizza without heating up my oven. In my case, I had to heat the oven anyway. Between that and the extra fat involved in this technique, I don't know that I'll be repeating it anytime soon. Maybe in summer or while camping it makes more sense--contexts where there is no oven available or it's too annoying to heat up the kitchen by turning on an oven.

Edited by Malawry (log)
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I have now made this pizza three times and the final was the best!

I would have to say that this works as an alternative way to cook a crispy crust pizza without using the oven.

It takes a little while to get the dough to the proper thickness and to adjust the heat under the pan so that you don't burn the crust but still cook it all the way through.

I used purchased pizza dough but intend to try Bittman's recipe and make my own dough today.

Grating the cheese helps it to melt much faster and "glues" the toppings better.

So far the only toppings I have experimented with are mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes and basil leaves.

As long as you do not load the pizza up, there seems to be no reason for a broiler to finish it off.

I see the process as being very similar to grilled pizza but without the smoky added flavour.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I'm sorry, I guess I missed the point. :huh:

More coffee is necessary. :biggrin:

Edited by pax (log)
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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This concept sounds like a Pissaladière with traditional pizza flavorings.

Bar Tabac in Brooklyn used to offer a cast iron pan "pizzetta" that utilized traditional pizza flavors.

Once again, new and innovative ideas reinvent themselves every decade or so....

Tim

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I fall into the 'seems like a lot of extra fat with no significant benefit' camp.

Only if you read the REASON for doing it this way will you get the point! And that point is that you do not need to pre-heat an oven to 500 F for 20 minutes or so in order to cook a pizza that takes about 8 minutes. Aside from the enormous consumption of costly energy that this requires it also heats up the kitchen which is a big concern for those of us who live with tiny kitchens.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that this method produces a better pizza only that it produces a very good pizza in a shorter time and with much less energy consumption and heat production.

As for the extra fat, I do mine in a non-stick pan and that requires very little extra oil.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Only if you read the REASON for doing it this way will you get the point!  And that point is that you do not need to pre-heat an oven to 500 F for 20 minutes or so in order to cook a pizza that takes about 8 minutes.  Aside from the enormous consumption of costly energy that this requires it also heats up the kitchen which is a big concern for those of us who live with tiny kitchens.

Oh, okay! Still, not for me, because I love the way pre-heating the oven warms my apartment in the winter. :biggrin:

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can you use any pizza dough? I read the article, but didn't click through the links to get a recipe.

as far as the sauce being hot, I admit to using canned sauce (Muir Glenn brand). So, it's either room temp or at fridge temp. I guess I could heat it in the microwave in a small custard up (I only use a small amount)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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can you use any pizza dough?  I read the article, but didn't click through the links to get a recipe.

. . .

I have used both supermarket pizza dough and the dough that is given in the recipe. Both worked fine but the home made dough was easier to get very thin and hence seemed to cook up crispier than the store-bought.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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We did this tonight, and after the first one, total success.

I have lots of trouble getting the dough thin enough, and with 4 folks here who eat pizza, Diana and I think that we will next time roll dough rectangles through the pasta roller (any reason not to?) and do them on the cast iron griddle.

Paul and Peter didn't like their first bites, but they are used to a squishier crust and more toppings than a pizza needs, but by the third bite, they were converts.

Yes to rolling the dough really thin. Which is a problem for me -- to get it evenly thin. We found it most successful when the dough is thin enough so that the top side almost browns before one flips it. Diana and I also think that the tomatoes should be warmed, and that one should take the moz out of the fridge LONG before one does the pizza.

Peter and Paul really wanted pepperoni on the pizza, and I realized that this was just not going to work without broiling, so we nuked the pepperoni in a paper towel for about 1/2 minute, and voila!

So, just how do I get the crust to be uniformly thin enough? Will the pasta roller gizmo work?

Oh, and Diana and I also thought this would be a great idea for an appetizer party. Roll out little doughs into three bite pizzas!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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We did this tonight, and after the first one, total success.

. . .

I am so glad you tried this! I can't help you on getting the crust rolled thin enough as I still struggle to get there. I have dough rising right now as I love pizza when it's no big deal and I can choose my toppings. I will stick it in the fridge and have pizza for lunch a couple of days this week. Until this method I had pretty much given up on doing my own pizza.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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In the video segment that goes with the story, Bittman suggests letting the dough rest for 10 minutes so the gluten relaxes some. That might work to help you get thinner dough. As for the pasta rollers, I don't see why that wouldn't work, but you have to be careful that the dough doesn't stick, and it's gonna result in a rather rectangular pizza...

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In the video segment that goes with the story, Bittman suggests letting the dough rest for 10 minutes so the gluten relaxes some. That might work to help you get thinner dough. As for the pasta rollers, I don't see why that wouldn't work, but you have to be careful that the dough doesn't stick, and it's gonna result in a rather rectangular pizza...

I've been using the Pizza Neapolitan recipe from the Bread Bakers Apprentice. Following the instructions pretty closely, it is extremely easy to make thin, something I was never able to do before.

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I made these for dinner tonight, and they were a hit! I made them individual size, and I used Bittman's dough recipe from "How to Cook Everything". I let the dough rise in the fridge all day (while I went Christmas shopping), and it was dead easy to roll - I didn't even need to use the makeshift roller I had on hand - an old Skippy peanut butter jar - I just shaped them by hand. It was no problem to get it thin enough. Toppings were crap grocery store "pizza toast sauce" and "pizza cheese", elevated with fresh basil, precooked chorizo sausage, carmelised onion, and sundried tomato. We ate two each. Living without an oven, this is the perfect solution for us! It's difficult and expensive to order pizza in, as well, and I prefer to make my own, anyway. I'll be making these again.

gallery_41378_5233_289962.jpg

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I made these for dinner tonight, and they were a hit!

. . .

I am so glad you tried these and that they were a hit! I have made one almost every day over the past week so I could tweak the process and try as many different toppings as possible. I had pretty much given up on pizza as it's so expensive to order in and I just hate using the oven at full blast for a small pizza for one.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Ok, I know I missed the point upthread :wink: but my husband has brought me some coffee in bed this morning so I am going to try to comment on topic.

For all y'all ( I do love living in the South sometimes) who don't want to heat up the kitchen with your oven, don't forget that a grill on the porch could do the same thing as your oven, maybe even better.

I use a cast iron griddle sheet and let that preheat, then put the top on the grill with the vents open.

Pizza night is an event in our house and the kids always invite someone over so I am never making just one.

The advantage is then you can do s'mores after dinner. :biggrin:

If I am still off point, I give up. Pizza is pizza is pizza and even your worst efforts are better than broccoli. :raz: Don't tell my kids I said that.

With pizza-eating love.. :wub:

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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