Some nights just scream for pizza. Even when you’re trying to eat “right” and avoid processed food, sometimes it’s just pizza time!
One afternoon last week, this wasn’t a last minute decision, I started working on my own cast iron skillet pizza, to see if it would pass muster with the the family. Of course I used Einkorn wheat flour for my crust, which I’m sure you’re sick of hearing if you are a regular reader of my blog. But what’s the point of making your own pizza if you are going to use the same nasty ingredients as you can order up from a delivery service?
Ok, that’s not fair, I’m sure most delivery services still use much nastier ingredients than I could find in my grocery store if I tried, which I wouldn’t.
During one of my many online searches for recipes and food related searches, I stumbled across an article about making pizza in a cast iron pan. I have a cast iron pan, why don’t I give that a try? In the past, when making pizza at home, I’ve gone with the pizza stone in the oven, and slipped the pizza on to the stone using parchment paper. But this time out, it looked like I was going to find another use for my enamel cast iron skillet.
I was a bit shocked at how quickly and easily this pizza came together. The hardest part is to remind yourself to start early enough in the day to get your Einkorn wheat flour pizza dough going. Just in case you are new to my blog, I almost always use Einkorn Flour when baking to avoid many of the harmful consequences associated with modern dwarf wheat.
I spent about 10-15 minutes getting the dough together at 2:00 in the afternoon the same day I was planning on eating the pizza. Maybe on my next attempt, I’ll get started earlier, but it still worked, so really, I shouldn’t complain. Once I had the dough combined, I let it sit in my microwave, with a cup of hot water next to it, for an hour for a few hours, changing the water and reshaping the dough every hour or so until ready to shape it, about 3-4 hours.
At least 60 minutes before you want to eat your pizza, make sure to preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, transfer that to the middle or lower middle shelf as the oven preheats.
After I have let the baking stone heat up for at least 20-30 minutes, I feel safe starting on my pizza. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on your counter or on a nonstick mat to your desired thickness, making sure it is wider then the bottom of the pan. And then transfer the dough to your cast iron skillet.
BEFORE you pile in the ingredients, go ahead and slide your pan into the oven, naked, just to help get the crust a little head start on getting crispy. If you don’t like crispy crust, feel free to skip this step. Two to three minutes is all you need and then take the pan back out.
Once you have given the crust a little start, it’s as simple as layering on whatever ingredients you want on your pizza. We tend towards a meat lovers pizza of some sort almost any chance we get, and this was no exception. We used some pepperoni made from pastured pork and also used some Italian sausage from a local pork vendor, so I felt pretty good about the quality of the meats we chose.
But before the meat went on, we placed a pretty healthy layer of tomato sauce down. I forgot to season the tomato sauce this time, I guess I was too excited, but I normally sprinkle some dried herbs on top just to add a little bit more depth and flavor. Fun fact about jarred or canned tomato sauce, it’s actually more nutritious than fresh, because super ripe tomatoes are used for canning, and the heat of the canning process actually increases the levels of lycopene, which I’ve read is helpful in fighting prostate cancer and other illnesses.
And then the cheese. It seems that there shouldn’t be much to think about with the cheese, but get this decision wrong, and it can ruin the entire process. We’re pretty traditional here, so mozzarella is just fine for us, but sometimes the girls in the family are pretty passionate about their goat cheese.
So I started at 2:00 pm, had my cast iron skillet pizza with Einkorn wheat flour crust in the oven by 6:00, and on the table ready to eat before 6:30, not too bad!
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- 2 cups Einkorn Wheat Flour - high extraction
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- Tomato sauce
- Italian sausage
- Mozzarella cheese
- in a large bowl or using a standing mixer, combine all of the ingredients for the dough together and knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
- let the dough rise for an hour or two and then punch dough down and let rise again, repeating until ready to cook the pizza. If it will be too long before making the pizza, place the dough in the fridge before using and remove about one hour before you will bake the pizza
- about one half hour before baking the pizza, preheat the oven 450 degrees
- roll the dough out and press across the bottom of the cast iron skillet
- bake the dough in the skillet without any toppings for 2 or 3 minutes and then remove
- layer on your pizza ingredients as you see fit
- place into the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, give or take, until the cheese is bubbling and browned to your satisfaction