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Question about making pizza from scratch

I want to make my own pizza from scratch, and am thinking of using a cast-iron pan or griddle for baking the dough. My problem is how to transfer the shaped dough into the hot pan.

The pan needs to be preheated first, to 450 or 500 degrees. I've read that it is possible to shape the dough directly inside the hot pan. This would let me avoid the "transfer dough to oven" problem. But the act of shaping dough inside a hot pan seems dangerous (risk of getting my hands burned).

My question: Can pizza dough be safely shaped inside a preheated cast-iron pan? Or does the dough need to be shaped in a different place and then somehow transferred to the pan?

Please do not advise me to buy a pizza peel and stone. Maybe in the future I will buy them. But at this point I just want to use what I already own, and I already have a cast-iron pan and griddle.

Thanks.

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  1. I would try to shape the dough on a well floured cutting board, then slide it into the preheated cast iron pan. Well floured will let your pizza dough slide easily, then you can just dust it off after baking if it's too floury on the bottom.

    1. Flour like bobabear mentioned, or cornmeal works too.

      1. I make my own pizza from scratch and use a cast iron pan a lot, especially when making personal pizzas - they are the perfect size and come out very round and nice-looking.

        Flatten and shape the dough on a pizza board. Using oven mitts, put the hot iron pan upside down over the dough that is on the board and flip. You can use the mitts to perfect any part of the dough that didn't make it. If you like a thick crust, you can take a separate piece of dough, roll it into a long, thin worm-like shape and wrap it inside the pan around the edges.

        Good luck

        1. I use parchment paper - I shape the dough on it and then put the whole thing on the preheated pan, paper and all. The edges are pretty brown by the time the pizza is done but it's no problem otherwise.

          5 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            This has been the best method for me, too. I had a tough time the one time I ran out of parchment paper. You want the cast iron to be as hot as possible. I do cut the parchment about 1-2" from the edge of the pizza but leave one longer edge for easier transfer,

            1. re: chowser

              Yea, I leave a "handle" on 2 sides of the parchment paper to more easily move the dough onto the hot pan. I also oil & cornmeal it, too.

              1. re: pine time

                I don't use oil or cornmeal w/ parchment. I also like parchment because I can make all the pizzas I want at the same time and slide one in when the previous is done. It's hard to premake multiple pizzas w/out because they can stick.

                1. re: chowser

                  Another vote for parchment. It will get "crispy" in a hot oven though, so keep an eye on it.

                  With or without cornmeal/semolina/flour, doesn't matter. I go back and forth.

                  Pizza peels and stones are really overrated. I have bought several of both through the years (from medium to expensive in price) and found I ultimately like my pizzas much better when cooked at 550 on parchment, which only ends up taking a few minutes.

                  To get a really crispy crust and let your long-proofed dough create those blackened crispy bubbles like at pizza shops, sometimes I stick my untopped crust under the broiler for a couple minutes, then flip and add toppings, then slide the whole thing on parchment directly onto the rack.

            2. re: biondanonima

              Same for me. Oven as hot as it will go with stone inside for a good 30 minutes. I shape the dough on parchment and just slide it on. Sometimes it crinkles to nothing but as you mentioned not an issue if you handle carefully. I started trimming the edges to lessen the amount of burned crinkled paper that can crumble into pieces.

            3. Before I had a pizza stone and peel, I heated the cast iron pan upside down and then dropped the dough onto it. Worked pretty well.