Love pizza, but not all the work and time it takes to make it yourself? This deep-dish pizza dough recipe is so easy, quick and super delicious!
I've been tweaking and testing this deep dish pizza dough recipe for a few weeks and Scott hasn't minded one bit. Every time I serve it, he takes one bite and immediately says the same thing, "Wow, this is so... good!" I've also served it to family and friends, the response has been overwhelmingly affirmative. Everyone just has difficulty believing that anything that tastes so delicious can be so easy!
But it true! If you've had trouble with (or hesitated to make) homemade pizza dough in the past, this is the recipe for you! There are a few easy tricks I've included that help activate the yeast. Then the 4-ingredient dough will take about 5 minutes to stir together (including measuring the ingredients).
Then it's turned out onto the counter and kneaded for 1 minute. Now your work's pretty much done. See what I mean? So easy!
Feel like you and yeast don't get along? I understand. Yeast can be a little tricky, especially when you're not used to working with it. I've included a few little yeasty tricks (see recipe and Café Tips below) to ensure you'll have good results. After this, who knows? You and yeast may just decide to be BFF!
Plop the dough into an oiled pan, cover and walk away for 15 minutes. Come back and see how it's gotten all puffy and soft? Then just spread it out to fit the pan. Simply add the toppings and it's time to preheat the oven. In the meantime, your deep dish pizza dough will do a bit (20 minutes) more rising. When the oven's ready, the pizza will be too!
And now comes the best part - the tantalizing, delicious aroma of yeasty bread combined with your toppings of choice wafting through the house!
Company coming? Pop this deep dish pizza dough into the oven (topped with your favorite ingredients) just before they arrive. When the doorbell rings the wonderful aroma that greets them will be quite irresistible!
Do I need a cast iron pan to bake this deep dish pizza dough?
Nope! Although a cast iron pan is perfect (as well as inexpensive and a lifetime kitchen tool) for making this deep-dish pizza dough, you can also use a 9-inch cake pan with good results. Because cast iron conducts heat differently than steel or aluminized steel (the metal most cake pans are made of), you'll have to adjust the instructions a bit, but I've got you covered! I've included those adaptations in the recipe instructions. The Deep Dish Pizza Margherita pictured below was made in my 9-inch cake pan.
Wondering how to top this deep dish pizza dough? One suggestion is coming your way in our next post, our Cast Iron Deep Dish Pepperonini Pizza. Can't wait to share this one with you, as it's one of our favorite dinners, ever! You'll need a batch of our Super Easy Pizza Sauce so you might want to go ahead and make that.
There are lots of other ways to use this versatile sauce (suggestions in the post) but save about a generous half cup for this wonderful pizza.
Café Tips for making this Easy Deep Dish Pizza Dough
- Anyone have "yeast phobia"? If you've got it, you're not alone. Lots of people are scared to death of working with yeast and it's usually because they've had one or more failed attempts with yeast dough(s). I think that many of these failures are due to trying to activate yeast in water that's not warm enough. Yeast loves a cozy warm atmosphere and most bread recipes' directions include activating yeast in lukewarm water. If you look up the definition of lukewarm it's defined as "neither hot nor cold". "Tepid" and "room temperature" are also words included in the definition. I believe that's where the problem lies, the water often used to activate yeast is not warm enough. And even if it starts out warm enough, by the time it goes from a measuring cup to a cold bowl, the temperature has dropped enough for the yeast to protest activation.
- What to do for yeast phobia? I have a really simple little trick to make your little yeast granules amazingly happy and prolific. First of all, make sure the water you use is warm enough. It should be between 100 and 115˚F. That should feel fairly hot to the touch. Not so hot you have to pull your finger back but comfortably hot. The second trick is to warm your bowl before adding the water and yeast. This will only take about 2 minutes but will make all the difference in the world. Simply fill your bowl with hot tap water and let it sit for a few minutes. Then dump out the water and proceed with activation. Voila! Super happy, bubbly yeast!!!
- I like to buy yeast in bulk. It comes in a 1 pound package and usually costs less than $5. A 3-pack of yeast in the grocery store generally costs about $1.50 (or more). That's ¾ of an ounce of yeast. Crazy expensive when you can buy a whole pound for less than $5! If you don't use yeast that frequently, no problem. It will keep in the refrigerator for months and you can also freeze it indefinitely. I keep a small jar of yeast in the refrigerator and then store the rest of the package in the freezer. In addition to being way... cheaper, it's also really good quality yeast. It makes a nice gift for a friend who loves to bake!
- Recipes with yeast always instruct to "let the dough rise in a warm place" (remember, yeast likes those cozy, warm places). That's not always so easy, especially in the cooler months of the year. Solution? A great place to let yeast doughs rise is in the microwave. You can either boil a cup of water to warm it up or just leave the light on. How do you leave the light on in a microwave? Just allow a small towel or several thicknesses of paper towel to hang out of the door when you close it. The light will stay on.
- Want to make this deep dish pizza dough in advance? Follow the directions in the recipe all the way through topping the pizza. Then just cover it with plastic wrap and pop the whole thing in the refrigerator. Bring it out about an hour before you want to bake, it so it can come up to room temperature. Bake as directed.
- The recipe instructions include covering the pan with foil for the first 15 minutes of baking. This ensures that the bottom gets nice and crisp and the top doesn't get too brown. I like to spray the foil with a little cooking spray before covering the pizza. That way the cheese on the top of the pizza doesn't have a chance of getting stuck to the foil.
- I mentioned above that the best way to make this deep dish pizza is in a cast iron pan. Cast iron is a wonderful, even conductor of heat and results in a beautiful, crisp crust. A cast iron pan will last a lifetime if properly cared for and they are quite inexpensive. That being said, you can also make this deep dish pizza dough in a 9-inch cake pan. I love my OXO cake pans. They're super sturdy, hold up well (after lots of use!) and go through the dishwasher beautifully.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 ½ teaspoons dry active yeast or 1 packet
- ¾ cup hot tap water around 105-115˚F
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a 10-inch cast iron pan (or a heavy-duty 9-inch cake pan). Set aside.
Fill a medium-size bowl with hot tap water. Let sit for 2 minutes to warm up the bowl, then discard water. Add ¾ cup hot tap water (around 105-115˚F), sugar and yeast to the bowl. Stir until the yeast is mostly dissolved (it’s okay if the mixture is a little lumpy). Allow to sit for 4-5 minutes, until mixture starts to bubble and foam (the bubbling and foaming means the yeast has been activated).
Once the yeast is activated add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir to combine. Add flour and salt. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, stir until all flour is incorporated. At first it might seem like too much flour. Just keep stirring and it turns into a shaggy dough.
Sprinkle a work surface lightly with flour. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and knead for about 1 minute, until a nice smooth ball forms. Place the dough ball into the prepared cast iron pan and rub it around the pan to coat the bottom and sides with oil. Then turn the dough over so the oiled side is up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap (don’t discard) and flatten the dough with your hand. Working with your fingers, dimple and push the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Don’t push it up the sides.
Top with sauce, cheese and desired toppings to within a half inch of the edges. Cover again with the plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow to sit in a warm spot for 20 minutes while the oven is preheating. (At this point you could refrigerate the pizza for several hours. Allow it to come to room temperature again before baking.)
Preheat oven to 450˚F with a rack on the lowest level. (if using a cake pan preheat to 425˚F with a rack in the center of the oven).
When ready to bake, cover with foil (see Café Tips above) and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven. Remove foil and bake another 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melty and edges are light golden brown. Run a knife around the edge of the crust and transfer pizza to a cutting board with a spatula. Slice and enjoy!
See Café Tips above for further instructions and detailed tips.
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