You've seen the all-edge brownie pan, right? The first time I saw it, one thought popped into my twisted mind: "F*** brownies. Hello, pizza!"* After all, on a square pizza, be it Sicilian or grandma or Detroit-style, the corner is king followed closely by the edge. (The center is for jokers, and I feel sorry for all the misguided souls who picked the "middle slice" option in this poll.)
Armed with J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's No-Roll, No-Stretch Sicilian-Style Square Pizza recipe, I bit the bullet and finally ordered one of these pans, made by Baker's Edge, for this edition of Home Slice.
* I wasn't the only one thinking along these lines. SE'r gingercookiewithlime was on the same wavelength.
If you have one of these pans or plan to get one for this, the key thing to know is that its surface area is 40% of the 12-by-18-inch rimmed baking called for in Kenji's recipe. So in my first attempt, I carefully measured out 40% of the final dough (about 977 grams) by weight to arrive at 390 grams.
I loaded the dough in the pan and followed the recipe to the letter after that, allowing it 2 hours to rise in place before topping and baking. The recipe specifies a prebake of 5 minutes topped with sauce and Parmesan. You then pull it out, add the mozzarella and a few dollops of sauce, then finish baking for 10 to 15 minutes. As with most Sicilian pizza I've seen in NYC, this recipe has you leave the edges untopped so you get some end crust.
Ladies and gents, it was wonderful stuff, I'm not denying that. But my twisted mind wandered a bit and had me reminiscing about Detroit-style pizza, a signature of which is the fact that it's cheesed out to the edges. The result is a chewy border of caramelized cheese that has a texture somewhere between crunchy and ... beef jerky. Here's a photo of a pie from Michigan's Buddy's mini chain:
First you want to oil the pan. It's pretty damn nonstick as it is, but that's not the point. The oil is there also to fry the crust in the pan so it's crisp and crackly.
Then the build out. That first attempt above was a little thinner than I wanted for a Sicilian (though it was perfect for the thinner grandma-style pizza), so to make things easy I just halved the amount of dough Kenji's recipe makes and flopped it into the pan. Proportionally, it's a larger amount of dough in relation to surface area, so I found I had to adjust baking times again (I'll get to that in a second).
It takes some practice, since you have to snake the dough around the corners. Oil up your hands and slowly pour the dough from bowl to pan. As the dough drops, work it loosely into a rope of sorts and guide it along the pan's channel. If it's uneven, no worries. Just gently press it into the nooks of the pan so it's covering things evenly.
I parbake for 10 minutes rather than the 5 called for in the original recipe. This pan is thick — and remember what I just said above about this dough being proportionally more than in the original?
Cheese this baby out to the edge. On the face of it, it's a small tweak but it has BIG PAYOFFS. See how the mozzarella is already beginning to melt and wiggle its way into the space between dough and metal?
Here's your reward:
Actually, here's a better shot of that cheese border:
So all you "center slice" jokers out there? You still holding firm to your crazy beliefs?
Update: Some of you were asking about size
And I promised some pics to show scale. Here you go: