Skillet-Broiler Pizza

Skillet-Broiler Pizza:

You probably saw this new pizza hack via InstaPundit. I gave their final version a try tonight:

1) Preheat the cast-iron skillet and turn the oven to highest broil,

2) Form the pizza in the hot skillet,

3) Place the skillet in the oven and broil until the top is browning and crispy,

4) Return to the hot eye and cook until the bottom is crispy.

The claim was that the pizza would not only be delicious, but that the dough would remain thin and crispy beneath, but with significant "spring" to the dough on the edges. This produces the puffy and light (but still strong) outer edge called the cornicione .

The problem is with oven spring (or a lack thereof). When a pizza (or any bread, for that matter) first gets blasted by the heat of an oven, the moist air pockets inside the dough rapidly heat and expand, causing the dough to puff out. If it expands rapidly enough, it's possible to get a serious amount of poofing before the proteins in the flour begin to set, locking those bubbles in place. So there are really three factors that affect it: the stretchiness of the gluten in the dough, the amount of air in the dough, and the efficiency of heat transfer in the oven.
So how did it turn out?

Note that this pizza was made with a whole wheat crust, which I made using King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour. Even with this denser crust, you get significant "pop" on the edges, and a thin inner crust that has the right mix of crunchy and chewy.

Serve with Guinness, of course.

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