Crispy and chewy cast iron pan pizza with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes & basil
In a large bowl add warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast starts to get foamy.
Add olive oil, salt and 4 cups of flour to the bowl and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough out onto a counter and knead to combine all of the flour, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Dough should be tacky, but not stick to your fingers too much.
Once dough is combined, shape into a round ball. Put the dough into a zip top bag and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30-60 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into two pieces. Roll each piece of dough out into a 10" circle.
Preheat your oven to 525 degrees. While the oven is preheating, set the cast iron pan on the stove top and add a tablespoon of cornmeal to the bottom of the pan. It should be enough to just lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
Press one of the rounds of dough into the bottom of the pan, pressing it out towards the edges the best you can.
Turn on the burner to medium high heat and wait a few minutes for the pan to heat up. As the pan and the dough heats up, continue to press the dough out into the pan until it reaches the sides. Once it reaches the sides of the pan, press the dough down into the corners and up the sides to create a lip on all sides of the pizza.
Let the dough continue to cook for a few more minutes until it starts to puff up and bubble slightly. You will know it's ready when you can easily push your fingers into the dough with little resistance.
At this point you will take your fingers and mark up the dough to create little divots all over the bottom of the pizza. Brush the crust and dough with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Remove the crust from the pan and repeat the steps over for the second crust, or you can continue on to the next step to finish it in the pan.
Once the crust is precooked and seasoned, you may top with the sauce and your toppings. Each pizza should take about 1/2 cup of sauce, 4 oz of sliced fresh mozzarella and 1/2 of a tomato that has been sliced. Alternate the slices of tomato and mozzarella on top of the sauce.
Before the pizza goes into the oven, sprinkle the crust with 2 Tablespoons of the parmesan cheese. Put the pizza into the oven and continue to cook for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is slightly browned.
If you decide to precook both crusts first, you can put toppings on the precooked crusts and finish them directly on the oven rack for the same amount of time, until crust is slightly browned and cheese is melted.
Once the finished pizzas come out of the oven, let them cool for 10 minutes before cutting and top with chopped fresh basil.
Pizza dough recipe adapted from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman