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Pan Pizza (...and our new family favorite)

We have a weekly family tradition in the kitchen.  That tradition is PIZZA.  What I love about it is that even if you make it every single week, it still doesn't get boring.  Changing up toppings and crust-styles results in a weekly meal that can be fun and unexpected while remaining familiar and comfortable.  Another great thing about making pizza- the whole family can get involved.  From doling out the toppings for the week to rolling out the dough to setting the timer to deciding if we're slicing it into wedges or truly is a family affair.

That said, sometimes time flies by so quickly and things get so busy that we order out instead.  I'm not ashamed to admit it.  it just helps add to the variety.  But for those ordinary weeks, when we spend one of our weekend evenings covered in flour and nipping bites of stray toppings together...we've come to a consensus on our new favorite crust.  That would be this one.  It makes three pizzas...but they're only 9-inch for a good-sized family it winds up being just about right.  If you're in the mood for thin, crispy crust, it just won't do.  But, if you've got a hankerin' for a crust that is thick and bready (we are a family who adores our bread)...look no further.  This. Crust. Rocks.

I originally found this pizza over at Karen's place...which led to me to Brenda's place for the actual recipe.  I stuck pretty close to the original (it was a copycat Pizza Hut Pan Pizza recipe), but I lowered the amount of oil that goes in the pan before the dough.  If you enjoy the greasiness in a Pizza Hut crust, just double the amount of oil that goes into the pan before the dough.  Either way, if you like pan'll want to try this!
Pan Pizza

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 1½ hours
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
Keywords: bake entree bread American
Ingredients (3 (9") Pan Pizzas)
    • 1 package dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
    • 1 Tbs. superfine or granulated sugar
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ¼ c. nonfat dry milk
    • 1⅓ c. warm water (105° F)
    • 2 Tbs. (1 oz.) vegetable oil
    • 4 c. all-purpose or bread flour
    for the pans
    • 4½ oz. vegetable oil (1½ oz./1½ Tbs. per pan)
    • cooking spray
    • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
    • ½ tsp. dried basil
    • ½ tsp. garlic salt
    • mozzarella cheese, to taste (~8-12 oz.)
    • your choice of vegetables, meat (cooked & sliced or crumbled), etc.
    Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in a large bowl. Add water and stir with wooden spoon to mix well. Allow to sit for two minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and stir until flour is absorbed and dough comes together.

    Turn out on to a flat surface and knead until smooth and pliable, ~10 minutes.

    Divide dough into three balls. In three 9" cake pans, put about an ounce and a half of oil, tilting and using your fingers to make sure it is distributed evenly.

    Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to about a 9" circle. Place in prepared pans. (Don't worry if you can't roll it out to fit cake pan exactly. As it rests and rises, it'll fill out the pan).

    Spray the outer edge of dough with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm area for ~1-1½ hours.
    Combine ingredients and let sit for 1 hour.

    Preheat oven to 475°F after dough has risen.

    While the oven is preheating, go ahead and top your pizzas. Divide the sauce amongst the pizzas (~⅓ c. each) and spread, leaving about a 1" rim.

    Spread with a thin layer of mozzarella. Add your choice of toppings to each pizza. Top with another thin layer of mozzarella.
    Slide all three pans into preheated oven and bake until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is golden, ~12-15 minutes.
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