Experimenting with pan pizzas

pan pizza in cast iron pan

Topped with Vermont Smoke & Cure smoked pepperoni and candied jalapeños.

It’s no picnic trying to do Pizza Night with a baby in the house. The diaper changes, the rockin’-her-to-sleep sessions, the walks around the neighborhood—all those things tend to interrupt the two to three hours I like to set aside for pizza prep, baking, eating, and clean-up.

All that’s a long way of saying I was jazzed to try J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s “Foolproof Pan Pizza” recipe on Slice. It’s basically about 20 minutes of active work—if that—and the rest is just letting the dough rise.

Kenji was going for the flavor of a Pizza Hut pan pizza from the days of yore, when they were still supposedly still good, though I’m not sure if that was ever the case. A Pizza Hut pan pizza was a rare treat for me as a kid, and I don’t remember the flavor that vividly. But, I will say that what I cooked above per that recipe did seem to fall in line with what I remember. And it was good.

Detroit-style pizza

Detroit-style pizza topped with Vermont Smoke & Cure smoked pepperoni (no jalapeños on this one).

The recipe in question makes enough for two 10-inch pan pizzas. I only have one 10-inch cast-iron pan. No big deal, because I recently bought some Detroit-style pizza pans, and I was itching to use them. So I threw half the dough into the my cast-iron pan and half into one of my new 8-by-10-inch Detroit pans.

The round pizza I cooked according to Kenji’s recipe and the Detroit one, I riffed off the method a Slice reader shared with me.

oil-baked pizza

This type of pizza fries almost as much as it bakes. The oil around the edges bubbled for almost a minute after I removed the pizza from the oven.

Both pizzas were good in a sort of over-the-top gut-busting way. I enjoyed them, but they reminded me why I like a good thin-crust pizza. The sponginess and richness of the finished crust was a little much.

But, like I said, the flavor of this pizza was good, which is why I’ve got another dough rising right now. But for this one, I’m halving it, and trying it out as a thin-crust pan pizza. More info as it develops.

About the author: Adam Kuban is a one-time foodblogger turned aspiring pizzeria owner — see margotspizza.com. Founder of Slice and A Hamburger Today and founding editor of Serious Eats. He enjoys photography, urban hiking, and naps.