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I have been a pizza fan since the days we used to go to Shakey’s Pizza and watch them make pizzas through the glass while listening to the player piano. So when I discovered grandma pizza, I was Super Happy! And now I’m here to teach you how to make this grandma pizza dough recipe so you can make whatever kind of grandma pizza you want.
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What Is Grandma Pizza?
Grandma pizza originated in Long Island and probably has never been heard of in Italy, the home of pizza.
That’s just fine with me–hooray for Italian American inventions!
Grandma pizza gets baked up in a parchment-lined half sheet pan that you coat liberally with olive oil.
The bottom of the crust basically fries to a crisp, golden brown in the oil while the interior is puffy but light.
Go easy on the toppings because
- you don’t want to weigh down the airy crust and
- with a crust this delicious, you want to be able to taste it
Perfect Pan Pizza by Peter Reinhart
Peter Reinhart is a bread fiend. His seminal The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is still eagerly sought out and is considered by many to be The Bible when it comes to making artisan-style bread and understanding dough.
Perfect Pan Pizza is a treasure trove of knowledge, freely shared in plain, easy to understand language, that will have you churning out truly stellar pan pizzas in no time. I’ve made 3 in the past week, all using his master dough recipe and pizza sauce but then topping them however I want.
Each one has been delicious, and it truly is the crust that makes it.
What Is So Great About Peter’s Grandma Pizza Dough Recipe?
While you can technically use any pizza crust recipe for grandma pizza, Peter Reinhart’s recipe is pretty dang stellar.
It’s crisp and chewy and pillowy and airy. So, so good!
Here’s what I like about it so much:
- You don’t need a mixer to make the dough
- It requires no kneading, just a few folds
- It’s a very wet dough, which means it develops a beautiful, open, airy crumb
- The flavor is excellent
- Peter’s instructions are very clear and easy to follow, so unless your yeast is dead, there is no way to mess this dough up
How To Make Grandma Pizza Dough
Making the dough is a straightforward process. First, here’s a collage of step-by-step photos:
- Mix flour, instant yeast, salt, and water together until shaggy.
- Mix in olive oil.
- Spread a thin layer of olive oil over your work surface
- Plop the dough out onto the oiled counter and, with oiled hands, press the dough out into about a 15″ square-ish shape
- Using your bench knife to help you, stretch and fold the dough in thirds, like a letter
- Fold the dough into thirds the other way.
From there, put the bowl you made the dough in over the dough like a little dough cave, and let it rest about 5 minutes. Repeat the pressing out and stretch-folds 3 more times at 5-10 minute intervals.
After the last fold, oil the dough, and put it in a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover with a lid or with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least overnight or up to 3-4 days.
How To Shape the Dough for Pan Pizza
This is easy to do, too. You do have to be a little bit patient, because gluten naturally likes to spring back when you press it out, but aside from a little patience, this step takes very little skill. Approach your dough with confidence!
- Lay a piece of parchment in a half-sheet pan and spread on about 1/4 cup olive oil. Plop the dough in the center of the pan and then use your fingertips to dimple the dough and press it out as far as you can get it to go.
- Cover the dough with another half-sheet pan (I find that easier than using plastic wrap) and let it hang out for 20 minutes so the gluten can relax. Repeat the dimpling 2 or maybe 3 more times, waiting 20 minutes in between Dimpling Sessions, until the dough fills the whole pan.
- After the dough fills the entire pan, sprinkle it with minced garlic–pretty much as much as you like
- Then cover it with the other pan to rest/rise until you’re ready to top it. It’s fine to hang out for 2-3 hours before it goes in the oven.
You may top the pizza however you like, using your favorite homemade or jarred sauce, or give my favorite of the 3 types of grandma pizza I’ve made in the past week, lasagna pizza. Lord it was good!
The Bottom Crust Basically Fries in Olive Oil!
This is one of the things that is so magical about this grandma pizza dough. Since you’re not baking it on a super hot stone, it doesn’t end up with little bits of char. Rather, since you pan it up in olive oil, the crust fries to a beautiful, burnished, crispy golden brown!
More Pizza Topping Ideas
Honestly, I think you’re going to want to stick with this crust recipe once you’ve made it. But that doesn’t mean you won’t want to top it in all different ways. Here are some ideas for you:
- Sausage Gravy Pizza with Peppers and Onions
- Pizza with Ground Beef and Peppers
- Bacon and Pickled Pepper Pizza
- Pulled Pork Pizza
Regardless, remember the secret really is in the crust and not to pile on the toppings too thick so the whole thing will bake through.
- 567 g unbleached bread flour
- 11 g kosher salt (I use Morton's)
- 4 g instant yeast
- 454 g cool water (about 60F)
- 28 g olive oil
- 2 additional tablespoons olive oil for the stretching and folding
- 1/4 cup olive oil for panning
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic for panning
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, instant yeast, and salt.
- Add the water and stir in until you have a shaggy dough, about 1 minutes.
- Drizzle in the olive oil and stir for another minute to evenly distribute the oil throughout the dough.
- Use your hand to rub a couple of teaspoons of oil out on a clean counter into about a 15" circle-ish.
- Plop the dough out onto the oiled counter.
- Oil your fingers and press, dimple out the dough to about a 15" square-ish shape.
- Use your bench knife to help you fold the dough into thirds like a letter and then in thirds again the other other way. Cover with a bowl and let rest 5 minutes.
- Repeat steps 6-7 3 more times for a total of 4 rounds of folding.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and oil the top of the dough. Cover with a lid or with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To Pan the Dough
- FOUR HOURS before baking, line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and pour on 1/4 cup olive oil. Spread it out with your hands or a brush.
- Scale out 32 ounces of dough (hold back 4 ounces from the total amount for another use) and plop it down in the middle of your parchment-lined and oiled pan.
- Use your fingertips to dimple out the dough as far as it will go. Cover the dough with an upside down half-sheet pan and let rest 20 minutes.
- Repeat the dimpling and resting until the dough covers the whole pan. This will take a total of 3-4 Dimpling Sessions.
- Once the dough fills the pan, sprinkle the garlic evenly over the crust and let rest, covered, for 2-3 hours before topping as desired.
- Preheat the oven to 450F (425F for convection) for at least 30 minutes. Bake in the bottom third of the oven for 20-30 minutes. The bottom of the crust should be a beautiful deep golden brown.
- Perfect Pan Pizza by Peter Reinhart
- Fleischmann's Instant Yeast
- 4.5 Quart Glass Bowl
- Set of Two Half-Sheet Pans
- Large Pizza Wheel
- Norpro Bench Knife
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Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 1/16
Amount Per ServingCalories 189 Total Fat 7g Saturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 6g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 269mg Carbohydrates 26g Fiber 1g Sugar 0g Protein 4g
And there you have it, friends. A perfect (honestly!) grandma pizza dough recipe.