If you want the BEST crispy pan crust skillet pizza then you’re going to want to make this recipe. The secret to this deliciousness is all from Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast!
This post is being sponsored by Red Star Yeast featuring their Platinum Yeast. All opinions of their ABSOLUTELY AMAZING products are mine.
Pizza is more than just dough covered in sauce and cheese; it goes way deeper than that. I have just a passion and true adoration for it. It’s something that has been in my family for decades stemming from my brother having a pizza shop for 17 years to my branching out on my own and developing my own TKW Signature series for it. Pizza is actually what launched the commercial aspect of The Kitchen Whisperer. Pizza for me is my deserted island food. It’s my last-meal dish. It’s my every-Friday-night-for-the-past-2-decades dinner.
When you’re presented with a perfect pizza dough I turn into the Leonardo da Vinci of pizza. Pizza dough is my canvas and the unlimited toppings are my paints. I approach pizza, and dough, from a multitude of ways – as an engineer, as a mathematician, as an artist and lastly as someone who is truly infatuated with pizza.
Pizza dough is one of those things that, honestly, it takes years to develop the perfect recipe. And once you have it you never stray. I’m talking the same flour, same salt, same oil and the same yeast. For decades I only EVER trusted my dough to Red Star Yeast. Simply put they gave me amazing results each and every time. They had what I, as an engineer required, repeatable quality. Each and every time I used it my dough would turn out perfect. Light, airy and with the perfect rise/crumb.
The Yeast makes the dough!
Today guys I am over-the-moon excited to share this recipe with you guys! I am beyond excited to be teaming up with Red Star Yeast to create deliciousness and the fact that my first, of many, recipes for them is a pizza! I mean it’s only befitting, you know?! My favorite food with my favorite yeast. We’re the perfect foodie couple out there. Now here’s the thing though when it comes to creating a pizza recipe – it’s not actually easy. This crust recipe I bet you I made at least 100 times just to test. I made mini pizzas, pizzas where the pan required 2 people to pick it up (seriously have a cast iron pan that is easily 24″ round if not bigger). I did this on purpose because I needed to see if the dough was easily adaptable to the pan size as well as the overall repeatable quality.
SUCCESS! Regardless of the pan size, the pizza turned out perfect every single time! Now for this recipe, I went with a standard 12″ cast iron pan. Yes, it has to be cast iron. A non-stick or stainless steel pan will not retain the heat nor keep it at an even temperature. And no it can’t be a cake pan as this needs to start out over an open flame. Speaking of – I’ll haven’t tested this on an electric range as I don’t have one. But if you have tested this please let me know as I’d love to hear if this works!
WINNER WINNER PIZZA PERFECTION!
Now let’s get to why you’re really here – the pizza. Folks as you know I’m a HUGE pizza snob. If it’s a recipe that I post then you KNOW YOU CAN TRUST IT! This crust, seriously, I had family and friends begging me to make this every time they came over. I was having friends texting me early Friday mornings “what time is pizza tonight? what do you want us to bring?” lol I’m “known” for my pizzas.
I wanted a recipe that could be enjoyed all year long and pretty much by everyone. It’s tomato-free so my foodie soul-sister Sara, who is deathly allergic to them, can enjoy this pizza. I made it so it went beyond the plain-cheese pizza those of us that are Catholic had to partake in on Friday nights when we were sick of tuna casserole. And I made it for those that just wanted a seriously amazing pizza but on a more upscale fashion (Hello Garlic Butter Herb Shrimp!).
But hold on a sec, let me talk more about this magical – yes it’s TRULY MAGICAL, yeast! So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that Red Star Yeast came out with a new type of yeast, Platinum Superior Baking Yeast. This definitely caught my eye. Red Star is a company I already trust so I naturally decided to try it out. So what sets this yeast apart from their other yeasts? Simple – Dough Improvers. Dough Improvers have forever been a bakery secret to the perfect bread and doughs. In a nutshell, a dough improver is a balanced combination of baking ingredients mixed together in an appropriate formula to enhance how a dough is ultimately formed and baked..
Dough Improvers – A Baker’s secret!
If you’ll indulge me, let me educate you on the purpose of dough improvers as part of being a great chef or cook is understanding the ‘how’ and ‘why’. When you get the how and why of a recipe and the ingredients then you truly an adapt any recipe and become more proactive in the kitchen.
♥ Dough Improvers aide in the reducing the agents to restructure gluten. By adding this it aides in reducing elasticity, proofing time, and improves machinability.
♥ Dough Improvers have additional oxidizing agents that aide in gluten development for optimal gas retention. These agents help build disulfide bridges between the gluten molecules. The stronger the gluten formation, the more chewy your dough will be.
♥ Dough Improvers also include additional enzymes that aide in feeding the yeast and assist with the fermentation.
♥ Dough Improvers have additional emulsifiers which help strengthen your gluten and make it more tolerable. Essentially it makes the dough a bit more ‘forgiving’.
♥ Dough Improvers are NOT gluten free as it’s derived from wheat flour.
Okay ’nuff learning. LOL Seriously guys it’s these dough improvers (along with their super secret recipe) that makes this dough almost heaven-sent! Seriously it takes a lot, A LOT, to truly impress me. I was blown away by how this took my already amazing pizza dough recipe and made it 100% perfect. Like I thought my dough was perfect already but this new yeast made it more…perfecter. Yes I know I made up the word but I somehow saying “more perfect” is just too improper.
Put down the fork and knife!
Plus let’s be real here. Pizza is not, nor should ever be a knife and fork dish. Pizza is and shall forever be a pick-it-up-and-hold-it meal! So in my mind if you don’t need a fork/knife to eat something it’s not something that needs to be all kinds of proper. Now that’s not to say it can’t be fancy schmancy. There’s a difference. Proper means tuxedo and white gloves, 12 different utensils and 8 plates. Fancy schmancy means it looks all prim and proper but you can seriously handle it all in jeans, sneakers and while holding your food.
Guys…seriously this pizza. There are so many things that are perfect with this pizza that I actually am struggling to figure out which things to discuss first!
The crust is buttery, crispy, sturdy but yet light. The pizza is heavy due to the toppings but that crust. Dear sweet baby Jesus that crust! Due to how you add the butter and the folding method (it’s a loose play on how you would lament dough) when it bakes you get this airy, buttery crust that has such incredible crunch.
OMG that Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Béchamel Topping!
I literally don’t know where to even start about with topping. I just want to say “Make it. Period!” and drop the mic but that’s not good food blogging. But man guys seriously if ever a food deserved a mic drop it was this topping! So it’s not like a standard spinach and artichoke dip. You can’t just do that on a pizza. It will be way too thick and will turn out more like a brick when baked on the pizza versus something that is luscious, creamy (while sturdy) but spread like a thick pizza ‘sauce’. Adding in the béchamel took this dish from wow to mic drop! LOL
And then there’s the shrimp…
I want to say it’s the shrimp that sets this pizza over the fancy schmancy edge. Plus I wanted to add in the shrimp to showcase how if you “had” to have seafood on Fridays during Lent that this is seriously a bajillion times better than you Mama’s tuna noodle casserole. Hey don’t get me wrong I loved my Mama’s casserole but after having to eat it every single Friday during Lent for years it’s a dish I rarely make now.
But this… omg this dish I want to make just because it’s Tuesday, not because it’s Friday or a Friday during Lent.
The shrimp is so tender and sweet with that unbelievable garlic herb butter sauce. It’s absolute perfection! Now as you’ll notice I do not add the shrimp to bake with the pizza. I actually don’t like doing that as I find the shrimp tend to get tough when you bake it with this pizza. Sure you could take the pizza out a few minutes prior to it being done however when it comes to making pizza or any dough it’s really advised to keep opening the oven door while it’s baking.
Make this. Seriously make this! It’s absolutely incredible and quickly became one of my most requested pizza combinations! Plus make sure you check out Red Star Yeast’s website for more amazing recipes, yeast baking tips and coupons! It’s truly one of my favorite go-to sites!
- 1 packet Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (105–155 degrees F/40–46 degrees C)
- 2 Tbl honey
- 2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra as needed
- 1 tsp sea salt (or kosher)
- All-purpose flour for rolling and shaping
- 4 Tbl unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Béchamel Topping
- 1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbl unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, chopped small
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 10 ounce bag baby spinach leaves
- 2 Tbl flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 8 ounce cream cheese
- 1 /3 cup grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup grated grana Padano
- 8 whole artichoke hearts, drained and chopped in half
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
Garlic Butter Herb Shrimp
- 20 jumbo shrimp, raw
- 6 Tbl butter, unsalted
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- Pinch kosher salt and pepper
Make the dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the warm water, honey, 1/4 cup bread flour and Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast packet. Gently stir together. Add in the rest of the flour and fit your mixer with a dough hook.
- Mix on low just until loosely combined gently scraping down the sides. Add in the oil while the mixer is running stopping if need be to scrape down the sides. After 3 minutes of mixing, add in the salt. Mix until a soft, smooth elastic ball forms; ~8-10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides (though it may not be fully pull away) of the bowl but still be wet/tacky to the touch. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a very lightly floured surface. Place in a lightly oiled bowl (at least 2-3 times bigger than the ball) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size; about 60-90 minutes.
- Remove from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 15×12” rectangle. Divide the dough in thirds (visually). Place 2 Tbl of the butter pieces from the pizza recipe in the middle of the dough. Fold 1/3rd of the dough over top of the butter (as if you are folding a letter). Place the remaining 2 Tbl of butter pieces over top of that fold. Grab the remaining fold and fold that over top. Essentially, you have a layer of dough, layer of butter, layer of dough, layer of butter and layer of dough.
- Roll out the dough in a larger rectangle (it should only expand out a 2” on each side). Turn the dough 90 degrees, fold in half and roll out again into a rectangle. You want to repeat this two more times until you end up with a rectangle 15” x 12” (approximately). Divide the rectangle in two, pick up one dough, tuck the ends underneath, and shape into a ball. This recipe makes 2 pizzas. Gently stretch (or roll out) the one ball into a 12” round circle. Place the dough into a 12” cast iron pan that is coated in canola or vegetable oil. Do not use butter or olive oil as it will burn. Gently push the dough to the ends of the pan and slightly up the sides. Cover the pan/dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour.
Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Béchamel Topping
- In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil starts to shimmer add the shallot and salt. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until soft and tender. Add in the spinach and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Once wilted add in the halved artichoke hearts, stir and remove from the heat to allow to cool slightly.
- In the same pan, over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add in the milk whisking the entire time until it forms a sauce and begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low.
- In a separate bowl, add the cream cheese, grana Padano, parmesan cheese, pepper, red pepper flakes and spinach mixture. Mix to combine; taste for seasoning. Stir this mixture into the thickened milk mixture. If it’s too thick add in a Tbl or two more milk. The mixture should be thick and spreadable. Stir in 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella. Taste for seasoning. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Make the Pizza
- Preheat the oven to 450F, rack in the middle. If you have a second oven rack, place that in the lower third of the oven. Gently push the dough so it covers the entire bottom of the pan and up the sides. Take a fork and make fork holes all along the bottom of the dough. You need this to allow the air to escape and cook the layers.
- Place half of the Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Béchamel topping on top of the pizza leaving a 1/2” space free around the edge of the pizza. You essentially want to place 2-3 cups of the mixture on top of the pizza. Top with half of the remaining shredded mozzarella.
- Put the cast iron pan on the burner and turn the heat on to medium-high. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the oil starts to lightly bubble around the sides and, if a metal spatula is gently inserted between the dough and pan and a golden crust is starting to form.
- Place the pan into the oven. Bake for 12 minutes on the middle rack. Move to the lower third rack for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven and using heavy duty spatulas remove the pizza from the pan and place on a cooling rack for minutes prior to cutting. Top with optional Garlic Butter Herb Shrimp and serve.
Garlic Butter Herb Shrimp
- In a medium pan over medium heat, add in 4Tbl of butter. Add the shrimp, garlic powder and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
- Add the remaining Tbl of butter to the pan until melted. Pour the butter herb mixture over top of the cooked shrimp.
1. This recipe makes 2 12″ pizzas which means you have 2 dough balls, enough Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Béchamel Topping and Garlic Butter Herb Shrimp for 2 pies. If you’re only making 1 pizza make only half of the Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Béchamel Topping and Garlic Butter Herb Shrimp! The Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Béchamel Topping can be made 2 days in advance. The Garlic Butter Herb Shrimp can be made 1 day in advance.
2. This recipe has to be made in a cast iron pan.