My kids are crazy about pizza. I could really make it every night of the week, and they would never complain. Most pizza nights I turn to stovetop pizza because it is so fast and easy, but I’m finding the older they get, a thicker crust fills them up and keeps them happy.
I received a copy of Ken Forkish‘s wonderful new book, The Elements of Pizza, and was happy to find a classic ‘Grandmpa Pie’ recipe on it’s pages. This pizza is parbaked in an oil-brushed half sheet pan, which helps keep the crust crispy without over baking the cheese. Toppings are then added, and the pizza is baked again and finished under the broiler. It was an instant hit when I made it.
Because this version of pizza is a little more time consuming, I tried it out with our no-knead pizza dough. Sure enough, it was just as delicious, and my family couldn’t tell the difference.
Sheet Pan Pizza
Inspired and adapted from The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish
Pizza Dough, from Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes A Day
3 cups lukewarm water
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt
7 cups bread flour
Ingredients for finishing
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cup pizza or tomato sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
5 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, grated
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Other toppings of your choice
For the dough
Combine the warm water, olive oil, yeast, sugar, and salt in a 5-quart bowl; preferably, in a lidded (not airtight) plastic container or food-grade bucket. Mix until all of the flour is incorporated using a stand mixer or dough whisk. Cover, and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours. You can use the dough right away, or refrigerate it for up to 14 days.
Remove 2 pounds of dough from your dough bucket, and place it on a generously floured surface (for a thinner crust, use 1 1/2 pounds). Knead the dough a few times, and shape into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes.
Put your pizza steel or stone on the middle rack in your oven, and preheat the oven to 500, letting the oven preheat for a good 45 minutes. Spread 4 tablespoons of olive oil on a half sheet pan, making sure to oil the inside rim. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangular shape, and lay the dough onto the pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of the dough, and use your fingers to work the dough evenly so it covers the pan (if the dough begins to resist, let it rest for 10 minutes and try again).
After the dough has rested, work it again as best you can so it evenly covers the pan. Let it rest for 30 minutes while the oven is preheating.
Spread 3/4 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the pizza, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edges. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the edges of the crust are light golden, and the sauce starts to caramelize around the edges. The bottom of the crust should also be light golden brown and crisp.
Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully spread another 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over the pizza, then top with the Parmesan cheese and the grated mozzarella. Top with any other toppings you want (we did half cheese, half pepperoni) and then finish with the sliced, fresh mozzarella.
Carefully put the hot sheet pan back on the stone, and bake again for 6-12 minutes, until the cheese is beginning to melt. Turn on the broiler and let the pizza finish baking there; the cheese should be melted and the crust golden, with some brown spots and dark brown spots, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the pizza cool for 3-4 minutes before cutting. Slice into squares and serve.