Tonight I made an attempt at deep dish pizza using the 12” cast iron skillet. While the skillet did its job well, I did not.
What went well:
1. The crust is crispy and tastes pretty good
2. The pizza sauce made from scratch is not terrible, better than tomato sauce, not as good as jarred pizza sauce
3. The pizza came out of the pan without cracking
4. The pizza looked kind of like a real deep dish pizza (before it was cut anyway)
What went poorly:
1. The cheese. It didn't melt through, there was not enough. Some of the shredded cheese mixed into the sauce. The cut pizza looks like dough with sauce on it.
2. The uncooked dough was too wet and springy. This resulted in a bowl shaped crust, which caused what cheese there was to slide to the center of the pizza during cooking. The wet dough was also very difficult to get to stay on the edges of the pan.
3. My stomach feels a little upset. I eat regular deep dish with no problems, so I think this along with the dough being too wet implies there was far too much oil in my dough recipe.
When it comes down to it, deep dish pizza is a vehicle for cheese. With a total fail there, the pizza left a lot to be desired. I believe in eating what I make, so I'll finish it, but it may be awhile before I try again. Using a 12" pan for learning just requires too many ingredients. A 6” pan would be much more appropriate.
Given the room I have for improvement with my thin crust pizza, I think it's better to stay focused there. Thin crust uses far fewer ingredients, is healthier, cooks faster and is more forgiving of mistakes. Maybe if I get a smaller pan, I’ll give the deep dish another try.
I did use the cast iron skillet to make breakfast again this morning. It worked really well. I can cook about 1/3 faster with the pan. My food tastes a little better too, probably because the pan is oiled.