Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cast Iron Pizza Update

The 'Analog Camera Farewell Tour' will continue soon.  Some of the stories still to come:

  • A duplicate of my very first video rig - a VHS-C camcorder from the mid 1980s
  • A really expensive (in 1994) S-VHS camcorder that got me my first job in video
  • A 35mm rangefinder that could qualify for Social Security
  • and maybe a zombie video!

But tonight it's all about pizza!

We've had a few weeks to perfect our cast iron pizza process.  And I think we've just about got it.  I wrote a few posts back that pizza is a big deal, so there was no way we were going to settle for just 'ok'.

But before I get to the pizza update, I want to tell you what I've learned about the pan we're using.  I'm not an expert on this, so I'm only going by what I've read online.  On the back of the larger pan, it's stamped 'Long Life Skillet' and '1758a'.  Initially, I didn't pay much attention to the marking, since I didn't see a brand or a logo.  In truth, I figured that it was an imported piece with no real history.  Oh, how wrong I was. There are people who collect cast iron, and they have a presence on the web, just like pretty much every other hobby in existence.  This site has quite a bit of information on identifying cast iron cookware, including my pan.

I'm not going to go into all of the history here, since I'd like to keep the post moving, but here's the short version:  'Long Life' was a store brand of cast iron cookware produced by Wagner.  1758 is the design number, and the 'a' means it was from the first run of pans made of that design.  The even shorter version is that the pan is from somewhere in the 1930s and from a known American manufacturer.  I'm more than a little pleased that it is actually a vintage piece and over 80 years old.  Pretty cool.

We've added one more piece to the cast iron collection: a round griddle. I don't like buying new if I can help it, but the price was really good, we make eggs a lot, and I want to try pancakes soon.

Back to pizza.  The mistake we made the first time was simply using to much dough for the size of the pan.  This time, we made the same amount, but split it in half.  Instead of one really bready pie, we get two that are just right.  The new griddle is almost exactly the same size as the skillet, so we can make two at a time now.

Lisa has got the dough production down to a science.  She's using the same recipe as before, but letting is rise for a couple of hours and mixing seasonings right into the dough.

With the dough issue settled, it was time to experiment.  We made two different versions tonight: Mexican and Hawaiian.

The dough doesn't hang over the side of the pan anymore!

I'll probably cut the pineapple smaller next time.

Before and After

Not bad for a first attempt! 

The Mexican pizza is a favorite from back when out daughter was a baby and I was making pizzas for a living.

80 years worth of seasoning - you better believe it doesn't stick!

Damn, that's pretty!

Just add a little hot sauce if you're so inclined....
We don't even talk about ordering out for pizza anymore.  We can whip a couple of these beauties up faster than we can drive to any of the local pizza joints.

If anybody is interested in recipes, or maybe a video of how we make these, let me know in the comments.

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