Cast iron deep dish pizza

We made a lot of “normal” pizza on a barbecue, but then we were asked how to make American pizzas or deep dish pizzas. Those thick pizza with a golden yellow crust and way too many toppings.

With the help of several websites and after a lot of pizzas, we had it right. A fantastic crust, well-cooked toppings, and a foolproof method of preparation. It was no punishment to make pizza so often. And to eat them. Because every pizza is still better than no pizza. Especially if you made it yourself.

Pizza dough for an American pizza

The dough for such a thick pizza is different from that of thin pizzas. This dough is much moister. If you use the same ratio of water, you don’t get that airy crust you want.

We also don’t use special pizza flour for this recipe. We really don’t see any benefits. More important is how you treat the dough.

You have to let the bottom form itself as much as possible by gravity and little pressure from the hands. In this recipe, we use the so-called “No-Knead pizza dough” from Jim Lahey. And as the name suggests, you don’t have to knead this dough at all. Perfect.

Ingredients for pizza dough

  •     400 grams of patent flour
  •     10 grams of salt
  •     7 grams of dry yeast (or 21 grams fresh yeast)
  •     275 grams of water
  •     8 grams of olive oil

You can see that we weigh everything in this recipe. Pizza is serious business, and every type of pizza has a different dough recipe. You must weigh the proportions well to get the perfect dough. So make sure you have a digital kitchen scale.

This recipe makes the dough for 1 large pizza with a diameter of 30 cm (12 inches). You can feed three men with this size pizza. Or two hungry men. Or one starving one.

You can buy cast iron skillets in many different sizes. Every size needs a different size dough ball. For your convenience, we made a handy table so you can see how much dough you need for every size skillet. It is no problem if your skillet is slightly larger or smaller than these sizes, you just get a slightly thinner or thicker bottom.

Size skillet Flour Salt Yeast Water Olive oil
50 cm/20 inch 1112 gr 28 gr 19 gr dry/57 gr fresh 765 gr 22 gr
40 cm/16 inch 712 gr 18 gr 12 gr dry/36 gr fresh 490 gr 14 gr
35 cm/14 inch 544 gr 14 gr 10 gr dry/30 gr fresh 374 gr 11 gr
30 cm/12 inch 400 gr 10 gr 7 gram/21 gr fresh 275 gr 8 gr
25 cm/10 inch 276 gr 7 gr 5 gram/15 grs fresh 190 gr 5 gr
20 cm/8 inch 180 gr 4 gr 3 gram/9 gr fresh 124 gr 4 gr

Preparation of the dough

Take a good-sized bowl. And we mean a bigger bowl then the dough you make. The dough is going to rise and needs the space.

all ingrediens\ts for the no knead pizza doughMix the flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil until you no longer see any dry flour. What you see is a coarse ball of dough. This is what it should be.

Seal the bowl with cling film and let it stand at room temperature. The dough should rise for at least 8 hours, but longer is also allowed. In fact, it only makes for a better crust. This is how the dough looks after 18 hours of rising.

no knead pizza dough after 18 hour riseDeep dish pizzas are baked in a cast-iron skillet. The cast-iron makes a beautiful crust. That does not mean that we do not need a pizza stone at all because we do. More about that later. First, we want you to get your cast iron skillet out of that cold shed so it can heat up a bit.

Further processing of the dough

making the dough ballIf the dough has risen 8 hours or more, we will continue further. Put a lot of flour on your hands and remove the dough from the bowl. Make a ball by holding the dough in one hand and folding it from top to bottom. Continue until you get a smooth ball.

dough pussed in cast iron skilletNow you take your skillet and coat it with a little olive oil. Place the dough ball in the middle and gently press it into a disc with your fingertips. The disc does not yet have to fill the entire bottom. That will happen when the dough starts to loosen up. Seal the skillet with cling film and leave it to rise for one and a half to 2 hours. Tha gives you time to prepare the barbecue.

dough for deep dish pizza after second rise

Turn your kamado into a pizza oven

A kamado is perfect for preparing a pizza because of the high heat you can achieve. That is what you need for a good pizza. The ceramic kettle makes a great pizza oven.

That is not to say that it would not work on a kettle barbecue. The thin lid only radiates not much heat so you need a longer preparation at a lower temperature to get the same result.

To get the correct heat distribution in the barbecue, we tried several setups, but we think this is the best. You place your grid on the top position and put your plate setter on top.

spacers between platesetter and pizzastoneAbove this will be your pizza stone with space in between. We used those reinforcement corners that you can get at any hardware store. Whatever you put in between, you have to make sure that there is about a space of 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches).

The plate setter and pizza stone act as a shield against the direct heat of the charcoal. If you placed the cast-iron skillet directly over the charcoal, the bottom is burned while the cheese not even melted.

set-up for deep dish pizza on kamadoNow that you know how to make the entire setup, you can light the kamado and ensure that you get a temperature of 300 to 350°C (570 to 620F). You get this kind of warmth when you open the kamado at the bottom and get rid of the daisy wheel at the top. As soon as the barbecue is stable, you can start topping the pizza.

Topping a deep-dish pizza

The dough has now filled almost the entire skillet. Here and there, you will have to help by pressing it gently in the corners. If you see large bubbles in your dough, it is better to puncture them. These bubbles will only get bigger and will push the pizza toppings.

dough for deep dish pizza ready for the toppingsThe dough looks and is very coarse. But that is what we want. This dough can carry a lot of toppings, so go for it. Just try not to put too much pressure on the dough with your fingers. You’ve spent hours trying to get it airy, and you want to keep it that way.

Whatever you throw on it, don’t forget the cheese. Mozzarella is always good, but you can also make a combination of different cheeses. It is best if you can find dry mozzarella instead of the sealed bags you see at the supermarket. These contain a lot of moisture, which creates the chance that the soil will become soggy and wet again.

Baking the pizza

deep dish pizza salami on the kamadoPlace the skillet on the pizza stone and close the lid. It is now essential that you only take it out when the pizza is ready. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pizza through the open hole at the top. So you see if it is going too fast.

check to see if the pizza is finishedIf the topping is to your liking, you can quickly check the bottom by popping the pizza out of the pan with a knife and look. Keep in mind that the cast-iron remains quite hot for a while, so if the bottom is almost good enough, the skillet with the pizza can be removed, and you can leave it for a while to get the bottom perfect. This way, the cheese cools, so it does not run off the pizza when sliced.

crust on the cast iron deep dish pizzaWhen the pizza has cooled down a bit, take the pizza out of the skillet and cut it into pieces. Now that you know how to make deep-dish pizza, it is time to start experimenting with different toppings. You probably know what you like.

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