Cookware for improving pizza crust? Basic level advice needed!
I have been making little pizzas at home, using pre-made crusts and pre-packaged cheese (and olive oil) and putting it all on a piece of aluminum foil in the oven.
I''ve been thinking about ways that I could start making more of a real gourmet pizza, and I think I would like to start with cooking it in some kind of a pan or a stone.
My questions are:
1. Is there any kind of pan/stone that will improve a pre-made crust? Something better than the aluminum foil? I don't want a crispy crust, but a moist chewy one.
2. Could I use this kind of pan for cooking my own crust if I ever graduate to that level? I know I can greatly improve my pizza by making my own crust, but I'm not sure I have the space for it yet.
My ideal crust is a moist deep-dish pizza like you find at Uno or Pizza Hut. Would a pizza pan or stone be worthwhile for me?
A crust like at Uno's or Pizza Hut is basically made by "frying" the crust in a fair amount of oil in the bottom of a cast iron pan or skillet while it bakes. If you are making fairly small pizzas, an 8" or 10" cast iron skillet might be the ticket, since you can mold the crust up the sides a bit. A stone is going to give you a crispier crust, more like you'd get from a pizza place that uses a brick oven.
+1 for the cast iron pan as vessel. That way you can use your "pizza pan" for other things. You could also try a cake pan if you have that anyway. And all you really need to make dough is a bowl and your hands. A wet dough ala the no-knead style.
Step away from the packaged crusts, the stones and pizza pans.
I make pizza dough from scratch using an Eating Well recipe that's never failed me. It's fast, easy and, depending on how you top the pizza, nutritious. (http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/who...) They recommend using a baking sheet upside down, which might work well using your premade crusts. (I put down a thin layer of cornmeal to keep the pizza from sticking.)