Whilst talking to a friend of mine about the ongoing lack of oven issues. He suggested I should try a technique that he knows. To bake the bread in a pan.
Sounds crazy at first, and I tried to laugh it off. But what if it works? If I don’t try it, I won’t know.
So let's do it.
Here’s how baking pizza in a frying pan works:
Get a deep rimmed frying pan, one that is nice and heavy if you have one.
Then pour in almost a whole tub of salt, just cheap table salt will do.
Then, on top of the salt place a plate, this becomes your baking stone.
I cranked the heat on full on my travelesque style electric hob and left it to heat up for about 20-30 minutes, covered with a makeshift lid (wooden chopping board).
With a gas or modern style electric hob, it may only take half the time to get to the right temperature.
Once the pan oven is nice and hot, I dropped my pizza onto the plate.
Then I had the conundrum, to cover, or not to cover?
If I cover, the steam will stay in, which is not really what I need for a soft pizza crust, however, uncovered and the heat leaves the oven, therefore I would be frying the base, whilst the top (the important part) only gets heat through conduction.
I decided to leave the lid on for my pizza, it’s the best of both worlds.
So after kneading, resting and molding my dough, it was ready for a ladle of tomato sauce and mozzarella. With the pan oven at temperature, in the pizza went.
The wooden chopping board sat on top of the pan, acting as a lid. I did pull it off to check it a few times, which let some of the steam out.
In the end, it took around 30 minutes till I decided it was time to take it out.
I’m not sure if it was perfectly ready, but there were two hungry people and it needed to be done. I couldn't cope with smelling it any longer, it had to be done!
The base was pretty crispy, the dough had puffed up nicely and the top of the pizza was, just, well, unusual.
It had a tear and share style texture, the cheese had melted, but wasn’t browning. Neither would it without some top heat.
The topping was different, but still very much enjoyable.
This pan oven technique was defiantly worth the experience, I would do it again, especially for pizza.
It was fun to do, gave a different texture and made a pizza that was delicious (just slightly different than normal).