Still on a quest to find the perfect pizza crust! I adapted Mark Bittman’s recipe for pizza dough to make these pizzas and they were perfect. Chewy but not dense, and strong enough to be shaped. I topped these with simple basic pizza margherita toppings, just fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. I made one with ham for the Meat Lover.
Pan Pizza Margherita (adapted from Mark Bittman’s pizza dough recipe)
Makes 2 9-inch pizzas (8 slices)
3 cups (414 g) bread flour plus more for kneading*
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1 cup water, plus more as needed
*To measure flour, scoop flour into a dry measure then sweep the top to level it.
2 large tomatoes sliced into rounds, seeded
3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
Basil shredded for garnish
Make the dough. Put the flour and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil and combine. With the machine running, add 1 cup water gradually through the feed tube. Process until the mixture forms a slightly sticky ball, about 30 seconds. If the mixture is crumbly and dry, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5-10 seconds after each addition. Process until dough forms a ball. If the mixture refuses to come together because it has too much moisture, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time and process until it forms a ball.
Rest the dough. Rub a little olive oil or flour on your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Put the dough ball in a large greased bowl. Cover it with plastic. Let the dough rest at room temperature until it doubles in size, 1-2 hours. You can just let the dough rest as little as 20 minutes if you’re in a hurry. I refrigerated the dough for several hours then brought it to room temperature and let it rest 20-30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the toppings. Place the tomato slices in a single layer on a paper-towel lined plate. Sprinkle the tops with salt to draw out the moisture. Pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C. Put the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
Make the pizzas. Reshape the dough into a ball and cut in half with a dough scraper to get two equal pieces. Brush the bottoms of two 9×2 inch round cake pans with olive oil. Don’t oil the sides. Roll a piece of dough into a 7-inch circle.
Baker’s Note: If the dough is sticky and won’t release from the board without sticking, flour the board and the rolling pin. I didn’t need to. If the dough doesn’t need extra flour, it’s best not to use it.
Pick up the dough circle and turn it around in your hands, stretching it into a 9-9 1/2 inch circle. Leave the edges with a little one-inch ridge to form the crust. Place the dough circle in one of the prepared pans. If it shrinks from the edges, let the dough rest for about 5 minutes then gently pat it out towards the edge of the pan. Repeat process with the other dough piece.
Place the salted tomatoes on top of the pizza dough circle, making sure to leave a border for the crust. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese. Avoid getting cheese on the crust. Repeat with the other dough circle.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove pizzas from the oven and let cool in the pans for 5 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Using a pancake turner, slide the pizzas out of the cake pans onto a board. Sprinkle tops with shredded basil. Slice and serve.