So how do you like your pizza? Thick and tall or thin and crispy? With a rich topping or with less of it? Lots of crust or just a very thin base?
You could not be more creative with pizza as it is so versatile, you can make it to your liking and load it with your favourite topping.
Pizza making is a weekly appointment for me. My family expects it now but I love it too. I prepare the dough in the morning and I leave it to rest for the whole day so by dinner time we can enjoy a well risen and fragrant pizza.
I must say that it has taken me years to learn how to make a decent pizza. My first pizzas were hard and just not the right consistency and I used to overload it with mozzarella; the base was so hard you had to be careful not to break a tooth when chewing it and they were too heavy too with all that cheese on top.
Over the years I learned to keep my dough “wet” in order to have a base that’s soft inside and crispy on the outside. I have also learned, in order to get a nice crust, not to roll to the edge of the dough (known in Italian as “cornicione”). That’s because you don’t want to push all the air out of the edges. This will allow for a more softer and fluffy crust typical of the Neapolitan pizza.
And like with most things in life, less is more. So don’t overload your pizza. Especially mozzarella which is rich and heavy. You want to see those little red dots of tomato sauce in between the topping.
Also never underestimate the pan you are cooking your pizza in. Depending on the pan you use you get a different type of pizza. Choosing the right pizza pan makes a substantial difference. I use perforated pans which seem to give a crispy base or stone base ones are pretty good too.
On my last pizza making I tested a cast iron pizza pan made by Le Creuset.
Cast iron helps the development of the crust, while the large surface area allows excess moisture from the dough to evaporate and lets the base crisp very well. The pan is coated with enamel which helps the pizza sliding off the pan after it is cooked.
All very interesting but you need to test something before making any judgement.
So here we go. I made a pizza with some fresh mushrooms which are just in season now and I added some cherry tomatoes and a handful of rocket for a healthy and perfumed pizza.
- Prep Time : 40 + resting time minutes
- Cook Time : 20 minutes
Make the dough, you can follow my recipe here.
Let it rest for a couple of hours covered by a cling film.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces of equal size then fold them inside out. This will help making balls.
Roll the dough with the top palm of your hands and make small circles so you will make perfectly round balls
Treat the dough like if it was a blanket, pull it to make your pizza base (without using a rolling pin if possible!).
Lay it on a well greased pan. Push the dough gently towards the edges without pressing them.
And your dough is on the tray. Now let it rest in a warm place covered by a blanket for at last a couple of hours or even longer. The longer the better.
Spread the tomato sauce on it
Add the chopped mozzarella, the mushrooms, the halved cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of oregano. Cook in a hot oven at 200C for about 20 minutes. The crust needs to look golden and crispy then you will know your pizza is ready.
And you will also know it is ready by the fabulous smell your kitchen will be filled with!
Here is your pizza, thin and crispy just like in a pizzeria! Sprinkle some rocket on top. A final drizzle of olive oil will be the last magic touch.
So what's the verdict? The pizza was crispy and crunchy on the outside and moist and soft on the inside, so not dry at all compared to other types of pan.
I could serve the pizza in the pan right to the table and it stayed warm for quite a while as the cast iron helps in retaining the heat. A sturdy and well made pan indeed.
The only downside I can say is that it is on the heavy side but you cannot have it both ways. I can say this is one of the best pizza pans I have tried.
Disclosure: I was sent the pan by Le Creuset for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.