Sicilian pizza: first attempt


A friend requested that I do a crust that would be strong enough to support his meat-based diet, so I thought a Sicilian crust would do that (with toppings, we will call it a "Meatza"). Until I saw the reference in TPB, I had no idea about Sicilian style pizza, but armed with confidence from everyone's help on this website in creating neo-Neopolitan pizzas, I plunged forward. I had posted a few questions the other day when I was making the dough. The dough was, as advertised, sticky and in need of multiple sessions to stretch it to fill our pan, but it ultimately did. The rise took a longer time than anticipated, but that is temperature related. I ran into a little trouble with pans, as we had no seasoned steel pan. I used a 1/2 sheet pan. I heated my oven to 500+ for an hour with my baking steel in place, then did the bake, rotating the pan 180 degrees half-way through. I used convection in the last couple of minutes, as the sides appeared to be more brown than the top, and I was concerned that the par-baked crust would be done on the bottom but not on the top. After the crust cooled for about 20 minutes, I began the process of extricating the dough from the pan, which was complicated by the fact that it was adherent to the pan---not burned, just adherent, which, I assume, was due to the lack of seasoned equipment. The final product was made with Trader Joe's whole mild mozzarella ( VERY tasty--almost like a Monterey Jack) and the Sicilian-style tomato sauce. It was quite excellent, but I have NO idea what to look for in a Sicilian-style pizza. I liked it because it was mildly oil-flavored with a light crunch to it. It reminded me of focaccia that I have had, only better. So can anyone try to describe what characteristics a good Sicilian-style pie crust should have? The crust thickness varied but averaged about 5/8" in thickness. I used Giusto High Performance flour. Thanks, Ken

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Ken K.
posted over 2 years ago

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You've done a phenomenal job. A few thoughts:

After your pan gets seasoned, it won't stick as much. You should also be using quite a bit of olive oil on the pan- enough to where you think it's excessive and might be a little bit uncomfortable. When I look at your second pic, the pan looks pretty dry. There should be a bit of olive oil left over.

I've seen Sicilian pies ranging from a very open crumb structure to one that is quite dense. My preference is for a very open one. You end up with a light, fluffy pie that, while thick, isn't super heavy or filling. For that, you'll want to stretch your dough out in multiple steps. But, be sure not to degas your dough after the first stretch or two. Otherwise you won't get a proper rise during the bake.

The other thing you can do is let your dough rise somewhere warm. Since I don't use my home oven for baking pies, I turn on the light inside the cabinet and place my dough/pan in there for a couple of hours. If you're preheating your oven, maybe place it on top the oven. The amount this step takes might vary, but don't be afraid to let it sit and rise for a few hours.

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Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 2 years ago

Thanks, Raj. After the sticking of the first bake, I removed the crust and let it sit for about 1 1/2 hours. I then baked it after it was topped, and at that time I only put down about 2 tablespoons of oil, so perhaps I should have used more oil during both bakes. I was concerned that the crust might become oil-laden, but apparently that is not of concern?

- Ken   over 2 years ago

Try doubling it. You'll definitely taste the oil, but it doesn't end up being too oily. Also, up the rest time to 2-3 hours, just to see how much of a difference it makes with a rise. There will be some trial and error involved.

- Raj   over 2 years ago

One other thing I just thought of. There was a comment in the directions to not cover the dough. But during the resting/rising stage, which took about 2 hours, the dough definitely developed a skin. Is that intentional or should the dough be covered? I was not sure that it might have limited the rise...

- Ken   over 2 years ago

The extra oil should prevent the skin. Once you place the dough on the pan, flip it over so both sides are nicely oiled. No need to cover it.

- Raj   over 2 years ago

Thanks. I did not oil both sides. I will be making another this weekend despite not having a pan.

- Ken   over 2 years ago

I made a second Sicilian this past weekend. I followed your suggestion about coating the dough on each side by turning it over in the pan prior to letting it proof in the pan. Unfortunately, there was still a skin that developed on the dough but at least it did not occur until the dough had risen to almost 1" in height....

- Ken   over 2 years ago

Ken, I've made about a half dozen Sicilian pies in the last month or so and haven't had a problem with the skin. It's possible there's other variables involved, but I'm guessing it's the amount of oil. Do you know how much oil you poured into your 12"x12" pan? I believe I used an ounce, or an ounce plus one tablespoon. It's a very generous amount. But once you flip the ball of dough in it, you'll end up with less on the bottom.

- Raj   over 2 years ago

3 tablespoons. There was plenty of oil both top and bottom. I will see what happens next time. If I need to, I can invert a 1/2 sheet pan over the pan to see if I can create a more humid environment, although I would have expected the oil to have worked. We live about 3/4 mile from the ocean, and it is rarely low humidity. I did put the pan on the top of the stove, although the stove was not turned on until about an hour before I baked the pies. I will work it out--I was just surprised that the oil did not seem to do the trick

- Ken   over 2 years ago

That is definitely enough oil. Was there a breeze or any sort of air flow that could have caused it? You should be totally fine with some loosely placed plastic wrap on top. I do this for my New England Greek style pies.

- Raj   over 2 years ago

We do keep the windows open most days, as the weather is usually fine. I think next time I will use plastic wrap--it should not stick to the oiled dough, as you say. Regardless, the pie was delicious and the pan is a gem. Thanks for the recommendation.

- Ken   over 2 years ago


That looks amazing! Great job!

Steve Mason
posted over 2 years ago

Thanks. I had some for lunch at work today, and we finished it off at dinner tonight. Good recipe for the crust and the sauce.

- Ken   over 2 years ago


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