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Pizza at Home – Part 4 Frying Pan Method

Pizza cooked in a frying pan.

Cooking a pizza in a frying pan sounds like a crazy concept, like some stunt that you’d perform at a dinner party to impress your friends.

However, not only is it possible to cook a pizza in a frying pan without the need for an oven, it will cook faster and produce better results.

All you need is a frying pan, a grill/broiler and a recipe for a good pizza dough (*ahem*) and in around 10 minutes, you’ll be amazed at the results that you can achieve.

This is part 4 in a series of posts on making a good thin crust pizza at home. The topics covered in this series include:

Challenges: Challenges that home cook face and some lessons learned.
Dough & Sauce: Recipes for a good pizza dough and sauce.
Cooking 1 – Barbecue Method: Using a barbecue and pizza stone to turn your good dough into a great pizza.
Cooking 2 – Frying Pan Method: An alternate method of cooking a pizza that doesn’t require a pizza stone, barbecue or even an oven.
Instant Gratification – How to go from zero to a good pizza in around 90 mins.

Pizza at Home - Part 1: Challenges (theheartoffood.com)

If you’ve been follow this series up until now, you would have gathered from the previous post on the method of cooking a pizza on the barbecue that the reason why this method works and produces a superior result over pizzas baked in a home oven has to do with the way in which it transfers heat. The barbecue method does a better job of replicating the sort of heat transfer that occur in a commercial pizza oven, which produces a light crust with a crisp base, as well as imparting a subtle degree of smokey char flavour and aroma.

Cross-section of a pizza cooked in a frying pan with a thin crisp base and fluffy crust.

The method of cooking a pizza in frying pan seeks to replicate the same sort of heat transfer as the barbecue method does. While the results are not quite as good as the barbecue method in my opinion, and you’re limited by the size of your frying pan, given that you don’t need to fire up the barbecue (let alone own one), on convenience alone this method is one I find myself using most often.

Also, as you can see from the image above, the results are still significantly superior to those you can produce in an oven.

Frying pan pizza cooking under a grill to finish it off.

One thing you should note regarding the frying pan method of cooking a pizza is that you should use a frying pan that is able to handle high heat and can be put under the grill. I’ve had good results with heavy-based stainless steel and cast iron frying pans, though other pans such as aluminium and carbon steel should work just as well.

However, do not use a non-stick frying pan, as the high heat of this method, both on the stove and under the grill, will likely burn off the non-stick coating potentially making it toxic. As a rule of thumb, toxic pizza does not make for good pizza.

Frying pans with plastic handles can also be problematic if the plastic is not heat-proof. Though, you might be able to get away using it so long as you don’t expose the handle to the high heat of the grill.

My first ever Periscope video, which was only a few weeks ago, was on the frying pan pizza method. If you’re interested in checking out and following along with the steps, the full, unedited Periscope video has been uploaded to Youtube. Click on the link or check out the embedded video at the end of the post.

Pizza cooked in a frying pan.

Give the frying pan method of cooking a pizza a try sometime. It’ll work with pretty much any thin crust pizza recipe, improving it significantly over baking the pizza in the oven. Also, do feel free to check out my awesome crispy, chewy and flavourful cold fermented pizza dough recipe.

Frying Pan Pizza

Ingredients

  • As per your favourite homemade pizza recipe.

Method

  1. Prepare your pizza dough and toppings as desired. For the best results, make sure that your dough and ingredients are all at room temperature.
  2. Lightly dust some semolina, corn meal or flour over the base of a dry, unheated frying pan.
  3. Shape the pizza dough for a thin crust base that is large enough to cover the base of the pan but not so large that it rides up the sides. Place the dough into the frying pan.
  4. Add the sauce and toppings to the pizza as desired.
  5. Preheat the grill/broiler to its highest setting.
  6. With the lid on, place the frying pan onto the stove on a high heat. Cook for around 5 mins, checking the pizza base after 4 minutes by lifting it a little off the pan with a spatula, to ensure that it isn’t burning, though a small amount of charring is desired for added smokey flavour.
  7. Once the base has cooked, remove the lid and place the frying pan under the grill for approx. 3 minutes. Once again check around 1 minute before it’s done to ensure that it isn’t burning.
  8. Remove the frying pan from the grill. Using a spatula, remove the pizza from the pan onto a cutting board. The pizza should slide off easily if it was properly dusted. Loosen the pizza from the pan with the spatula if it has stuck.
  9. Cut the pizza to the desired number of slices and serve.

 

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