Pepperoni Pan Pizza

It’s Friday (yay!) and I’m now through my first two weeks back at work.  One of the best things about my 4 hour daily commute is that I’ve started reading again.  I’m embarrassed to admit that the only books I’d read in the past few years were cookbooks, but that’s all changing now.  I just finished The Help, which I really enjoyed and am ready to move on to my next summer book.  What are your favorite books?  I’d love to start putting together a list and pick up a few at my local library so I always have another ready to pop in my bag for the train ride to work.

While I now have lots of time to read, I continue to struggle with finding time for this little blog.  All I’ll say for now is thanks for hanging in there with me as I figure it out.       

Pepperoni Pan Pizza

I’ve been making this pizza for a few years and it was actually the first pizza I shared on the blog.  We made it again this week and I realized it was worth re-posting for readers who may not have seen it when I originally shared it.  We almost never order pizza anymore with recipes like this in our back pocket.  The dough here comes together easily and because it rises quickly in a warm oven, it’s my go-to recipe when we want pizza but don’t have a ton of time.  We almost always top our pan pizza with pepperoni (it’s Shane’s favorite) but you could certainly use any toppings you like.  If you do go with pepperoni, try this tip from America’s Test Kitchen to avoid a lot of grease – microwave the pepperoni for 30 seconds between layers of paper towels before sticking them on your pizza and popping it in the oven.  Once baked, the pan pizza crust is golden, crisp and so good!  It’s a bit of an indulgence, but so worth it from time to time.       

Pan Pizza
from America’s Test Kitchen

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 cup skim milk plus 2 additional tablespoons, warmed to 110 F
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
your favorite sauce (here are a few I like)
your favorite toppings

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 200 F.  When oven reaches temperature, turn it off.  Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray.  Coat each of two 9-inch cake pans with 3 tablespoons oil.

Mix milk, sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a measuring cup.   Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Mix briefly just to combine the dry ingredients.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the milk mixture to the bowl.  Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Turn the dough onto your work surface, gently shape it into ball, and place it in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, divide in half, and lightly roll each half into ball. Shape each half into a 9 1/2-inch round and transfer to one of the oiled cake pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot (not in the oven) until puffy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F.

Remove plastic wrap from dough. Ladle sauce on each round, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with your favorite cheese and top with your favorite toppings.  Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust has puffed and is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute. Using spatula, transfer pizzas to cutting board and cut each into wedges.

Makes two 9-inch pizzas