Once upon a time Ned and Hannah helped open a pizza shop.
Today, we make homemade pizza in our oven, and we often use a cast iron skillet to do it.
Trust me, if you have a cast-iron skillet you’re going to want to make your homemade pizza in it. If you don’t have one, you can still make homemade pizza on a regular baking sheet. It will still taste yummy.
The fun thing about making homemade pizza is your kids can help you with every step. They can help measure the ingredients, knead the dough, roll out the pizza, and put toppings on top. You can make it for the family or you can make it with the family. Either way, the end result is delicious pizza.
Back when Ned and I first got married, we helped open a local pizza shop. We learned a lot of our pizza making skills there, but we’ve also improved on the homemade pizza making over the years. I’ll include our helpful tips throughout to help you make the most scrumptious homemade pizzas.
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What You Need to Make Homemade Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet
The picture I took only includes the ingredients you need to make the dough, but you do need a few other things as well. I’ll split up the ingredients up so it’s easier to follow.
Ingredients to make the dough:
- Olive Oil
Ingredients for pizza toppings:
- Pizza Sauce
- Block of Mozzarella Cheese (You can also mix this with provolone cheese for an even better taste)
- Seasonings you like on pizza (we used Italian seasoning and garlic salt)
- Whatever toppings you like on your pizza
- Can also choose to make white pizza or buffalo pizza — totally up to you
Additional things you need to make homemade pizza in a cast-iron skillet
- Cast iron skillet
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Utensil to mix the dough, like a wooden spoon (we didn’t use a mixer)
- Pizza docker or spaghetti server (optional)
Here’s the recipe for making the dough written out.
I posted elsewhere on our blog, but I’m going to add it here too.
4 cups warm water (more or less as needed)
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
7 cups flour (white, wheat, or mixed)
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil plus extra for kneading and covering your dough ball
Step 1: Pour two cups of warm water into a small mixing bowl. (Water should be between 105 and 110 degrees to activate the yeast.) Add ¼ cup of sugar and stir. Stir in dry active yeast and allow to sit until the yeast becomes foamy.
Step 2: Pour seven cups of flour into a large mixing bowl. Add salt and olive oil and stir together.
Step 3: Add the water, sugar, and yeast mixture to the flour. Begin mixing together. Add the additional two cups of warm water as needed. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water.
Step 4: On a lightly floured surface, begin to knead the dough. To keep the dough from sticking to you, rub a little oil on your hands. You can do this several times if necessary. You’ll want your final dough ball to be soft and pliable.
Step 5: Place your dough ball in a mixing bowl and rub a little oil on top. Cover bowl with a warm damp cloth and allow the dough to rise to at least double its original size.
Here’s what the dough looks like before it rises:
Here’s what it looks like after it rises:
It’s so pretty I think I could cry.
OK, on to the next step.
UDPATE: We learned that if you take your dough and make it into smaller dough balls (the size you want to roll out later to make pizza) and let it rise a second time you’ll have a better result.
After the dough rises the first time, cut off smaller sections of dough and roll into balls. Put those doughballs into smaller bowls or containers. Pour a little oil over the doughballs to coat them, and then cover the bowl with plastic cling wrap or beeswax wraps.
Once they double in size again they’re ready for pizza making.
Prepping for Homemade Pizza Making
Now it’s time to start rolling out the pizza and making your homemade pizza.
How to Prep for the Cast Iron Skillet
If you’re making your homemade pizza in a cast iron skillet, pour some olive oil in the skillet and spread it around. Take a ball of pizza and put it into the pan. Squish it down by hand and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. This gives the dough time to rise a little and makes it easier to spread out all around the pan.
Once the dough is spread out until it reaches the edges of the cast iron skillet, you can either heat it for a few minutes in the oven OR for a few minutes right on your stovetop. We’ve done it both ways and like the results in both instances.
You want the dough to start to firm up and maybe turn a tiny bit brown. Don’t overcook your dough here — you just want to give a jump start. Sometimes when you cook a pizza the toppings are cooked through but the dough is gummy and undercooked. That’s why we recommend cooking the dough a little bit first.
When your dough has been cooked long enough, take it out of the oven and get ready to put on the toppings.
How to Prep for a Baking Sheet
If you’re making it on a baking sheet, simply stretch out the dough on the counter. Use your hands first and then use a rolling pin OR pick up the dough and stretch it by hand.
The dough is elastic and has a tendency to spring back to its original shape. If you’re having trouble with this, you can also use a pizza docker to roll it out. This puts little holes in the dough and makes it easier to spread it out. I’ve also used a spaghetti server to put holes in the dough.
Once your dough is rolled out as large and as thin as you’d like, put it on your baking sheet and put it in the oven. Bake it at 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes and then take it back out of the oven.
Put Toppings on Your Homemade Pizza
The next step is to put on your pizza toppings. You can put on whatever kind you love.
If you’re going to be cutting up any vegetables, Ned recommends putting a wet cloth under your cutting board. This is a life hack we learned when we ran a pizza shop (in a former life). It keeps your cutting board from sliding around when you’re cutting things.
When you add the pizza sauce, try to put your sauce close to the edge of the dough. As the pizza bakes the dough will grow. If you don’t put the sauce close to the edge of your dough you’ll end up with quite a lot of crust. That’s perfectly fine if you prefer it that way, but for a more traditional style pizza, I recommend spreading the sauce wide 🙂
Now about the cheese. For the best cheesy results, we think it’s better to shred the mozzarella yourself. You can buy it already shredded in a bag, but it melts more evenly when you shred it yourself. Plus, we think it tastes better. We used Galbani whole milk mozzarella last time and it was delicious. It’s also one of the only kinds left at our local grocery store.
Some people say you should put sauce-cheese-toppings. Other people say you should put sauce-toppings-cheese. I think both options are good — BUT — if you want extra cheese, I suggest you put sauce-cheese-toppings-cheese. I’m sorry if I blew your mind there.
This is another great time to get the kids involved. They LOVE picking their own toppings and putting them on the pizza.
Put Your Homemade Pizza in the Oven
The next step is to put your homemade pizza in the oven. If you’re using a baking sheet, I recommend keeping the temperature at 375-400 degrees (depending on your oven).
For those of you using a cast iron skillet, I’d recommend a little hotter. You can put your oven at 450 or even a little higher. The higher temperature will result in a crispier pizza. The toppings will blacken a little, but the end results are very yummy.
Here’s the finished pizza. Yum. Yum. Yum.
And that’s it! That’s how you make a homemade pizza in a cast iron skillet.
Let us know if you have any questions or if you have some favorite pizza-making tips you’d love to share.
Enjoy your time with your family.
Love from us at the Making Life.