To start warm the milk to 110 degrees. I did this in the microwave and put a thermometer in the milk. When the temperature reaches 110 degrees add 1 tsp active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar and stir well. This is the proofing step where your yeast will activate in the warm milk.
Only when the yeast looks like the above picture should you proceed. The yeast needs to bubble a bit. This shows that the yeast is alive and ready to get to work in your dough. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
I made some significant modifications to the "America's Test Kitchen" pan pizza recipe in that I like to use an overnight rise in the refrigerator. The original recipe calls for a room temperature rise for 20 or so minutes, followed by another 20 minute rise after the dough is rolled out, followed by a 20 minute bake at 400 degrees. That's too long for me. I like to get the first rise out of the way overnight so when pizza night comes around I don't have too long to wait! Just like most of the pizza doughs that I make I add the milk (with yeast) and oil into the bowl of my stand mixer (the wet team). I then mixed the salt, flour and sugar together (the dry team). Gradually, in thirds I added the dry team to the wet team with the mixing paddle on. After all of the flour was incorporated I put the dough hook on and kneaded for about 5 minutes. The dough looked like this after all of the kneading:
Cover this dough with shrink wrap and place in the fridge overnight. The following day I pulled the dough out and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so to warm up. The dough looked like this when I was ready to work with it:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take 3 tablespoons of olive oil and pour it into a cake pan. Swirl it all around to get good coverage on the bottom.
Grab a rolling pin and make a circle that is roughly 9.5-10 inches in diameter. You want the dough to be larger than the cake pan because it will shrink in a little bit. Neatly place the dough in the pan and push outwards to totally cover the bottom.
Next dress your pizza pie as you choose. I went with classic homemade sauce, Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
Place the pizzas in the 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Depending on whether you have a non-stick coating on the pan it may be easy to burn the bottom. This pizza was done in 15 minutes.
I almost forgot; check out the bottom of this crust. Really nice. Slightly crisp and greasy just the way a pan pizza should be!
I really enjoyed making this pan pizza. I liked how it was a small personal sized pizza. This recipe could easily be cut in half to make just one.
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