Even though it’s November, we’re still getting warm weather in Phoenix. It’s that zone between we don’t quite need to run the air conditioner, but running the oven for an hour would make it too hot inside. But when you’re craving pizza, you find a way!
While we wait for the season to use our baking stone with our favorite pizza dough recipe (which requires about an hour of running the oven at its highest heat), I opted for a compromise. Using a cast iron skillet to cook individual pizzas — flatbread-style — is awesome.
This dough requires an overnight rise but it’s easy to make. The next evening, you can go from dough to pizzas in about an hour and a half, most of it hands-off time.
And these flatbread pizzas are so tasty! The cold, slow fermentation of the dough develops a lot of flavor, and topping them with simple ingredients lets the fantastic flavor and texture shine.
Skillet Flatbread Pizza
Delicious, individually-sized whole wheat flatbreads that are cooked in a cast iron skillet, so the house doesn't heat up from running the oven.
Once you have the flatbreads made, you can top them with a whole variety of ingredients. One good option is a sauteed garlic mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, fresh rosemary, a dash of basil and oregano, some red pepper flakes, cracked black pepper, salt. Once each flatbread is done cooking, top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan and drizzle the oil mixture over top.
To use a red sauce instead, a simple mixture of canned pureed tomato, olive oil, and a little minced garlic is nice and easy. Top the cooked flatbreads with some sauce, your toppings of choice, and shredded mozzarella, and place under the broiler briefly until the tops are hot and melty.
- 258 gm freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
- 211 gm filtered water
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 gm sugar
- 10 gm olive oil
- 2/3 tsp yeast
- toppings (cheese, sauce, herbs, oil, etc.)
- Make the dough 1–2 days before you want to make your pizzas.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast (don’t let the salt and yeast touch each other directly). Pour in the water and olive oil. Using the paddle attachment mix dough on low speed for 1 min. Then let it rest for 5 min., and continue mixing on medium-low for 1 min.
- Pour about a teaspoon of oil onto the counter and spread around with your fingers. Turn the dough onto the slick spot and start the stretch-and-fold process by stretching the far side of the dough away from you and then folding it on top of the pile. Repeat with the side closest to you, then both sides. Place the mixer bowl over the dough to prevent it from getting dry and crusty while you wait for 5 min.
- After the 5-min. rest, do the stretch-and-fold process again, and repeat the 5-min. rest. Do this 2 more times, for a total of 4 stretch-and-folds.
- Place the dough in a container, cover tightly, and place in the refrigerator. You can use it the next day, or leave it there for up to four days. The longer it rests in the refrigerator, the more flavor develops in the dough.
- On pizza day, about an hour before you want to make your pizzas, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Make a slick spot of oil on the counter, divide the dough into four equal portions, and stretch it out on the slick spot. The dough will be soft and tender, so handle it carefully to avoid tearing holes (they’re hard to patch closed at this stage). If the dough resists shaping, let it sit for about 5–10 min. while it relaxes and come back to it.
- Prepare your toppings while you wait for the dough to be ready.
- Once the dough is ready, heat a cast iron skillet or two (or a long double-burner griddle works, too) with about 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Watch that the oil doesn’t start to smoke, and when it’s hot and coating the bottom of the skillet carefully place a piece of the dough. Since the dough is rather wet and sticky, I find it useful to wrap the dough around my hand and then unroll it into the hot skillet, smoothing out the wrinkles and folds as much as I can.
- Cook each side for 3–4 min., or until brown spots appear, carefully turning with a spatula or tongs.
- Once the flatbread is ready add your toppings (see notes above for topping suggestions).