I saw this recipe for Foolproof Pan Pizza on Serious Eats, and it said it would be the “easiest pizza you will ever make.” This is true! However, the only caveat is that the dough rises twice, for a total of at least 10 hours, so you should make the dough a day in advance. Also, to get the best results, you need to weigh the ingredients for the dough. Meaning, if you have a kitchen scale, use it!
Additionally, note that the recipe below makes two, 10-inch pizzas, and you bake the pizzas in a cast-iron pan or 10-inch cake pans. Because I don’t own a 10-inch cast-iron pan or 10-inch cake pans, I decided to use 12-inch pans, as I do own a 12-inch cast-iron pan. However, this meant that I had to make some adjustments. To make the recipe below with a 12-inch cast-iron pan, I increased all the ingredients by 44%. Why? The area of a 10-inch circle is 78.54 inches. The area of a 12-inch circle is 113.10. That is 44% more. So, if you want to make two 12-inch pizzas, just multiply each ingredient below by 1.44.
400 grams (14 ounces, about 2 1/2 cups) bread flour
10 grams (.35 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) kosher salt
4 grams (.15 ounces, about 1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast
275 grams (9.5 ounces, about 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) water
8 grams (.25 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat pans and drizzle
12 ounces grated full-fat, dry mozzarella cheese
Any other toppings you desire
Combine flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a large bowl.
Mix with hands or a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains. The bowl should be at least 4 to 6 times the volume of the dough to account for rising.
Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, making sure that edges are well-sealed, then let rest on the countertop for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Dough should rise dramatically and fill bowl.
Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, then transfer it to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough into two pieces and form each into a ball by holding it with well-floured hands and tucking the dough underneath itself, rotating it until it forms a tight ball.
Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of two 10-inch, cast-iron skillets or round cake pans.
Note: If you are increasing this recipe to make a 12-inch pizza, use 3 tablespoons of oil, not 4. I used 3, and it was plenty.
Place 1 ball of dough in each pan and turn to coat evenly with oil. Using your flat palm, press the dough around the pan, flattening it slightly and spreading oil around the entire bottom and edges of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature for two hours.
After the first hour, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 550°F.
After two hours, dough should be mostly filling in the pan up to the edges. Use your fingertips to press it around until it fills in every part of the perimeter, popping any large bubbles that appear. Lift up one edge of the dough to let any air bubbles underneath escape and repeat, moving around the dough until there are no air bubbles left underneath and the dough is evenly spread around the pan.
Top each round of dough with 3/4 cup of sauce, spreading the sauce with the back of a spoon onto the entire surface until it covered.
Spread evenly with mozzarella cheese, letting the cheese go all the way to the edges.
Season with salt. Add other toppings as desired.
Transfer pan to oven and bake until top is golden brown and bubbly and bottom is golden brown and crisp when you lift it with a thin spatula, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Using a thin spatula, loosen pizza and peek underneath.
If bottom is not as crisp as desired, place pan over a burner and cook on medium heat, moving the pan around to cook evenly until it is crisp, about 1 to 3 minutes (I cooked the pizza above another 2 minutes). Remove the pizzas and transfer to a cutting board. Cut each pizza into six slices and serve immediately.