Sunday, June 5, 2011

Technique: Cooking Surfaces for Pizza (Part 11)

It's hard to believe I haven't tested every possible pizza cooking surface yet, but I'm still at it. This time, we're talking heavy metal. As in cast iron. Specifically, the Lodge cast iron pizza pan.

This pan came highly recommended by several loyal Serious Eats readers and right off the bat, it's got several things going for it. Like the fact that it's not breakable. One complaint that comes up about just about every other stone is that they can crack from thermal shock or from general clumsiness. It takes a lot of dedication to break a cast iron pan.

Because it's so heavy duty, it can be used on the stovetop, under a broiler, or on your grill. Heck, when you're not making pizza, you can use it as a griddle. In fact, that would help season it.

The pan comes pre-seasoned, but any owner of cast iron cookware knows that it gets even better with more seasoning. On the other hand, it's not like we're cooking scrambled eggs. Pizza dough isn't going to stick, even on the first visit to the oven.

A slight downside to this pan is that it's not completely flat. There's a lip, so if your pizza is too big or your aim is off, you're going to run into that lip instead of having a bit of dough drooping over the edge.

The baking surface is 14 inches in diameter, and the pan is 18 1/2 inches measured handle-to-handle. It weighs 9 pounds, 14 ounces.
As usual, I preheated the oven at 550 degrees for 1 hour. At 45 minutes, the pan was at 539 degrees, and it was at the same temperature at 1 hour.

The pizza baked for exactly 8 minutes and emerged fully cooked.

 
This was the first pizza that had burnt spots...er, I mean lovely char ... on several spots on the bottom.


And crisp? Yes, it was. As I was cutting into it, there was a nice reassuring crunching sound. The crust was about as good as it gets.


The Lodge pizza pan sells for $35.

1 comment:

Spiceroots said...

Wow!! I can almost hear the crunch of the pizza. Lovely blog. Arrived here from meetup.

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