Pan Pizza - Restaurant Style (Made at Home)

The first time I had this pizza at a friend's house I begged shamelessly for the recipe. When certain out-of-state members of my family come to visit they want to go to the "pizza lady's" house and have pizza. When I make this for guests they tell me it's better than what they get at restaurants. You see, the "pizza lady's" husband actually managed Pizza Huts at one time in his life. Over several years he and his wife worked on an elevated homemade version of pan pizza, and she gladly shared the recipe with me. Wow. What a gift! I did change the dough recipe to something a whole lot easier and I don't taste any difference.  I asked for the appropriate Chicago Metallic pizza pans for Christmas, and now this recipe has definitely become a family recipe. As a matter of fact, I just gave out the recipe last week so I thought it was about time that I posted it on my blog.

Pan Pizza - Restaurant Style (Made at Home)
(the following recipe makes two 12 inch pizzas or four 9-10 inch pizzas)

Master Boule Dough Recipe (ingredients listed below for convenience)
2 lbs of a good quality ground sausage (I've used Whole Foods and Jimmy Dean), browned
1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 clove of garlic
2 small or 1 medium onion, diced
16 oz of shredded mozzarella
dried oregano (and some fresh oregano if you have it)

Master Boule Dough Ingredients
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt (I use Real Salt)
6 1/2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose, white flour using the scoop and sweep method

1. Make the dough by placing the flour in a large mixing bowl. Mix salt and yeast to lukewarm water (not to exceed 110 degrees) in another container. Don't worry about getting all the yeast to melt into the water.  Add yeast mixture to the dough and mix with wooden spoon until there are no dry spots. Use your hands if necessary. Cover and allow to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size. You can see step by step instructions here.

2. A half hour prior to making the pizza preheat the oven to 500 degrees and start preparing the rest of the ingredients. Brown the ground sausage into bite size chunks. If there is a lot of fat left in the pan you can run a paper towel through the cooked sausage to absorb it.

3. Add 1 clove of garlic to tomato sauce. Open the jar or can and press 1 clove of garlic into the sauce and stir. (Well, I accidentally took off another small clove from the bulb so I threw that one in too).

4. Dice the onion and set aside.

5. Oil two 14 inch deep dish pizza pans or four 10 inch cake pans with a few glugs of olive oil.

6. When the dough is doubled in size divide the dough in half (and in half again if you are making four pizzas).

7. Press the dough into a flat disc and use gravity to help stretch the dough. Let the dough hang (like a steering wheel) until it stretches then turn 2 hours on a clock. Let the dough hang and stretch then turn 2 hours on a clock. Repeat this process as necessary until the dough is more than halfway the size you need.

8. Add the dough "wheel" to the oiled pan and let it rest. Repeat the process for the other pan(s).

9. Go back to pizza #1 and using your fingertips gently press from the center out to create a 12 inch circle in a 14 inch pan. Use your judgement if you are using smaller pans (I've never made the smaller versions). I don't go all the way to the edge. I like the crust better this way.

10. Bake pizza crust #1 at 500 degrees on the second to bottom shelf of oven for 12 minutes. This step is important for the yummy, brown, crunchy crust on the bottom of the pizza. Plus, it par bakes the crust. While this crust is baking finish pressing out pizza crust #2.

11. Remove the par baked crust #1 and par bake crust #2 on the second to the bottom shelf for 12 minutes. While crust #2 is baking add the toppings to crust #1.

12. Add half garlic sauce to crust #1.

13. Pinch and crumble dried oregano with your fingertips while sprinkling over the pizza sauce.

14. Add half of the sausage.

15. Top with half of the cheese and half the onions.

16. When crust number #2 is done par baking shift the rack to the second position from the top. Switch the oven to low broil. Bake pizza number #1 for 8 to 12 minutes until the cheese is melted, lightly brown and bubbly.

17. Remove the pizza from the pan to a cutting board. Sprinkle the pizza with fresh oregano (or basil) if you have it and slice with a pizza cutter into 8 slices. Make pizza #2 the same way.

Take note of all the happy smiles and all the yummmmms, and be prepared to share the recipe.


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