This recipe is based off of one by the inimitable culinary Science Guy himself,: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats. The thing that really drew me in was the cheesy, crispy corners; this is almost more mind-blowing cheesy bread than pizza, in the best way.
While the classic iteration of this 'za is topped with pepperoni (or nothing at all), it would also be excellent with caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, or sautéed greens. Just stick with tradition and put half the toppings under the cheese layer, half on top. —Catherine Lamb
4 to 6
bread flour (about 2 cups)
instant yeast (1 teaspoon)
salt (1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt)
water (2 tablespoons shy of 1 cup)
extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
extra-virgin olive oil
cloves garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
pepperoni, sliced, or any other toppings you want (just don't overload the pizza)
brick cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes. If you can't find brick cheese, a mild, high-fat specimen from Wisconsin, use a mixture of mild cheddar and low-moisture mozzarella.
In This Recipe
To make the dough: Combine flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir to combine, then add the water. Mix until dough just comes together, then let dough sit for 10 minutes. Mix at medium-low speed until dough forms a smooth, silky ball that sticks to the bottom of the bowl as it kneads, about 10 minutes more. Take out the dough hook, form the dough into a tight ball and set it back into the bottom of the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
You can also do this by hand: Mix the flour, yeast, and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon and stir in the water until incorporated. Let rest for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Set back into the bowl, cover in plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Once the dough is risen, prepare your pan(s). [If you don't have a Detroit-style anodized aluminum pan, the traditional choice, Alt-Lopez recommends splitting the dough evenly between two 8x8-inch square cake pans. I like this option because it gives you maximum edges.] Pour a splash of olive oil in your pan(s) and turn the dough around to coat it. Using your fingers, press the dough to the edges (it won't go all the way—don't worry about it). Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then spread it again. The dough will shrink a bit, so stretch it up beyond the corners so that it will shrink to fit the pan. Once dough is stretched, cover with plastic wrap and set aside while you make the sauce, or for at least 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 550°F, or as hot as your oven will go. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano, stirring until the garlic is fragrant. Tip in the can of tomatoes, the onion powder, the sugar, and a few pinches of salt, and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to roughly 3 cups.
To Form the Pizza: Press down on the dough to get rid of any air bubbles. If using toppings, distribute half of them over the dough now. Top with the cheese, making sure to take it all the way to the edge (that's how you get the crispy edges). Add your remaining toppings.
Put pizza(s) in the oven until edges are black and bubbly and the cheese is starting to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and transfer to the counter or a trivet. Run a metal spatula around the edges to loosen the pizza from the pan. Carefully lift it out and slide it onto a wooden cutting board. Spoon the warm sauce over the surface of the pizza in three narrow rows. (Lopez-Alt says you'll only need half the sauce, but it depends how saucy you like your pizza.) Slice into generous squares, making sure to keep at least one corner piece for yourself.