Deep Dish Pizza Pan

I tried out my new deep dish pizza pan last week. I use shortening on the pan to prevent sticking. An alternative to that is olive oil, but I haven’t been very successful using it. Check out for a deep dish or other type of pizza pans. Pictured here is the one I used.

Deep Dish Results

My deep dish pizzas turn out pretty well. The key is using just the right amount of dough and spreading it out equally so you don’t have too much dough around the outside edge (cornicone). The first one I made had too much dough and got kind of tough. The second one I tried stuffing with some shredded provolone in the cornicone. But I don’t yet have the technique needed for stuffing the crust. I didn’t add enough cheese, but I don’t think there was enough dough to wrap around any more cheese. In fact my cornicone is uneven because I didn’t have quite enough dough.

Deep dish1

1st Deep dish pizza
Deep dish stuffed crust

Stuffed crust

Chicago Style

Do you like Chicago or Uno Deep dish pizzas? I do, although it can be hard to wait so long for it to cook properly, and only one or two slices are filling. I last had one at the Uno’s in Dublin, Ohio. I saw how they made them in Chicago on a pizza show on the cooking channel. They place a layer of uncooked sausage on the bottom which must be why it takes more that 45 minutes to cook.

Stuffed Crust

I love the stuffed crust from Pizza Hut, so I will keep trying on my own pizzas. There’s gotta be an easy way to recreate it! I remember having a sauce stuffed and cheese stuffed crust from somewhere. The sauce sounds harder to recreate but I should try that sometime too!

Do you like deep dish and stuffed crusts?

Pizza Techniques from High Gluten Flour

Several months ago I got some high gluten flour from GFS Marketplace. It isn’t the same brand as the one pictured, but I’m not sure if brand matters? I finally got a chance to try it out a week ago. Since I got a 25 pound bag, I have plenty to experiment with, but I haven’t deviated from my original recipe yet. I’m just trying to get a consistent crust.

Cooking Methods

With basic bread flour I’ve tried pizzas on a pizza stone with cornmeal, a deep dish pan with shortening or extra virgin olive oil, and a perforated pan. I can’t seem to get the ones in an oiled pan to be as crispy as I’ve liked, almost like it’s not cooked in the same amount of time. Perhaps the temperature needs to be higher. The texture of the ones cooked in cornmeal seem like the most professional.

High Gluten

The high gluten flour wasn’t much harder to knead than I was used to (I was warned it would be tougher since the gluten strands develop more). It also wasn’t much harder to roll out. I’ve learned to be more patient and let it rest and get up to room temperature after its retardation time in the fridge. I’m now trying to spin the dough to help spread it out, but for some reason it gets oblong shaped and I’m not sure how to correct that except with hand pressing and a rolling pin. I have a nice 2 sided rolling pin that seems to work really well. I’ll blog about that one and my other utensils in a future post.

Pizza on the Grill

I recently bought Pizza on the Grill by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer.

The content is divided into two sections. The Basic Training section explains the technique of cooking a pizza on both gas and charcoal grills. The second section provides tons of recipes for pizzas, from classic pepperoni to exotic ones like Maine Event Lobster and Corn Pizza. Most of these will be too exotic for my tastes, but I was mainly just interested in how to cook pizza on the grill.

First you roll out the dough to a 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick circle or square. Add some oil and lay it directly on the grill and cook using direct heat. Take it out, flip it over onto a peel or baking sheet and add sauce, cheese, and toppings. Then cook using indirect heat. Read the book for the details and lots of tips. If you feel adventurous or just want a new recipe, this book has tons to browse through.

Have you successfully cooked pizza on a grill? My husband is more familiar with our grill, so I may have him give these techniques a try!

Papa Johns Pizza Review

I ordered one of my favorite pizzas the other day, Papa John’s!

Papa Johns - close up
Close up – Papa John’s Pizza
Papa Johns
John’s Favorite – Pepp & Sausage

I really like the taste of all elements of the pizza, including the crust (pan or original style is just the thickness I like), cheese and sauce. I think I ordered John’s Favorite with pepperoni, sausage, and a 6-cheese blend: Mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, romano, asiago, and fontina. Of course I can’t taste all the different types of cheese, but it was still good. Some may think the pizza is too greasy, but I think that’s part of what makes it taste good! The toppings are great, but I’m not too picky with particular types of sausage or pepperoni. They give you some garlic butter for dipping, which is also great but I’m sure it’s not good for you. They also give you a small jalapeno pepper with each pizza, which I give to my husband since I don’t like hot peppers.

The prices are great — they have coupons and deals all the time. My large pizza cost $11. They are also good as leftovers – just wrap a few pieces together in aluminum foil and refrigerate as soon as you’re done with the pizza. Microwave (without the foil!) and it will still be pretty good, although the crust may get a little chewy. Some like to eat pizza leftovers cold, but I don’t. Do you? What do you think of Papa John’s?

Gluten-Free Pizza Recipe Trend

When I first heard about gluten-free pizza dough, I was thinking this is just another trend that will die out in a few months. I also felt very bad for anyone who normally can’t eat pizza!! Why is it that some people can’t eat pizza dough?

Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance

About 2.88 million or 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance. This means that the villi that line their small intestines get damaged from eating gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye. A good article about the disease can be found here.

Recipes and Products Available

The 2011 International Pizza Expo offered more information on gluten-free products than ever before: gluten-free flour, pizza crusts, and recipes. The recipes are made with rice, potato and corn flours, guar or xanthan gums and/or tapioca/cassava starch. The dough is more like a thick batter and must be cooked differently. As more attention is paid to the issues, more options become available for the crust recipe so that it is more like traditional crusts instead of the texture of a cracker, as it has previously been. (Source)

Are you gluten intolerant or know of someone who is? How does it change your diet?

Serious Eats Pizza Resource

I was reading through the Serious Eats – Slice Pizza blog and boy do they have a lot of posts! The website has a bunch of great resources, articles, recipes, etc. that I will be checking out and contributing to whenever I get a chance. I will have to submit my homemade pizzas to their My Pie Monday feature. For now you can see all my photos by going to the Connect page and clicking the Flickr Photostream link. Most of the pizza reviews are in New York, but I see a few articles about Ohio pizza.

The articles I’m most interested in reading are the ones which describe cooking techniques and variants in ingredients. For example, there’s one on types of mozzarella cheese (whole-milk, low-moisture) and scientific descriptions and explanations of how they are made. I may start experimenting with different cheeses next.

mozzarella cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Pizza Sauce Spices to Grow in Garden

I’m wondering how fresh herbs would taste in the pizza sauce compared to dried. My pizza sauce calls for garlic, oregano, fennel seed, marjoram, basil, thyme, and rosemary. I stopped by the garden center today to pick up a few potted herbs. They were $2.99 each though, so I only got basil and rosemary.


And of course we always get a few tomato plants. We have tons of little tomato plants coming up in the garden from last year. But I got a couple SuperSteak and BestBoy plants.

tomato plants
Tomato plants

I grew garlic plants last year but was unable to use all of them and it seemed like a lot of work to dig them up each year. I’m not sure if it’s worth it to have fresh garlic.

Here are some images of the other herbs used:

Fennel Seed
Fennel Seed

Do you think fresh herbs are better and worth the extra effort to use in pizza sauces?

Barbeque and Chicken Pizza – Roosters on Henderson

We went to the Rooster’s restaurant on Henderson road on Wednesday and I decided to try their personal size barbeque and chicken pizza. It was pretty good! I was a little worried that the ingredients would taste strange together. I think you have to have the right BBQ sauce, cheese, and crust to make it work. Their BBQ sauce is pretty sugary and they used cheddar, mozzarella, and provolone cheeses.

Rooster's BBQ Chicken pizza

One surprising feature on this pizza was the chicken wing on top. It was covered in the BBQ sauce as well, and although I’m not a fan of bone-in wings, it was a nice addition. Their pizzas are a 9″ personal size which is just the right serving size. I also ordered chicken tenders, so I had plenty of leftovers.

Pizza Baked on Perforated Pan

I recently bought a perforated pizza pan (Cuisinart Chef’s classic non-stick bakeware – 14″ pizza pan – Heavy gauge aluminized steel. Amazon, $13.95):

perforated pizza pan

You can use a perforated pizza pan whenever you want to allow more air to reach the pizza crust and more moisture removed than with a solid pizza pan. Pans with many small holes are going to let more moisture escape than pans with fewer larger holes. When the moisture is removed, your crust becomes more crispy. Some people prefer a crispy crust. But you need to be careful if you start out with a thin crust that it doesn’t become too dry and hard and is hard to chew or cut. Ever since I got a pizza stone and compared the pizzas cooked on it with those cooked on a solid pan, I’ve preferred the stone because it lets moisture escape while still keeping a chewy crust. I was curious how a perforated pan would cook a pizza, and so I decided to give it a try!

pizza from perforated pan 3

It wasn’t bad, the dough didn’t rise much around the cornicone (outer edge), but that could have been caused by a number of reasons, (e.g. not enough rise time or retardation time). The dough tasted OK, maybe a little dense, soft, and bread-like.

What pans/techniques do you prefer for cooking pizzas?

What is Pizziola and Bruschetta?

I found a few recipes on the back of a box of Texas Toast — one for Pizziola and one for Bruschetta. I’ve heard of bruschetta, but what exactly are these dishes?

Pizziola or Pizzaiola Definition

I actually couldn’t find many definitions of pizziola and noticed that it is also (more commonly?) spelled pizzaiola. There are many dishes and recipes out there that include pizzaiola in the name. Wiktionary gives the definition as ‘Prepared with an Italian sauce made from tomato and oregano’ so it sounds pretty similar to pizza sauce to me. The name also applies to dishes made with this sauce. Here’s another source from Home Cooking Consultant that describes it as a pizza-like sauce made with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. It gives a recipe that can be used with meats such as beef, veal, or chicken. The texas toast box just says sprinkle spaghetti sauce and chopped mushrooms on top of the garlic cheese bread.

Bruschetta Definition

Merriam-webster defines it as thick slices of bread grilled, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, often topped with tomatoes and herbs, and usually served as an appetizer. The word comes from Italian bruscare, to toast or burn. The texas toast box says just place chopped tomato and onion on top of the cheese bread and sprinkle with fresh basil. Sounds like it’s missing the basic ingredient, olive oil. There’s a good article on that explains how to make a basic Bruschetta. Here’s an article that clarifies that Bruschetta just refers to grilled bread, not bread with tomato and other toppings. It also gives a recipe for a Mexican variation.