Author Topic: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?  (Read 4711 times)

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Offline Puzzolento

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Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« on: January 19, 2010, 10:38:50 AM »
I'm sort of new here. Joined in '06, but this is my third post.

Yesterday I somehow managed to make the Sicilian pizza of my dreams. Problem: it was way too big. I made it in a steel pan. I'd like to use a 12" round steel pan for this, but they're hard to find. Has anyone here made Sicilian in a cast iron skillet? I have a second-rate Lodge skillet I would be willing to dedicate to this purpose.

I made yesterday's pizza by putting the pan directly on a stone in a 550 oven. The pan was thin. I have some concerns that a thick, badly made Lodge skillet won't heat up fast enough, so maybe I should get a quality vintage skillet with a thinner bottom.

I have a round 14" cast iron pizza pan, but it has no rim to speak of, so it won't give me the kind of crust I want. And I got bad results with it when I made thin pizza on it. It also has rings on the bottom of it, which would probably screw up the thermal contact with the stone.


Offline steel_baker

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2010, 03:32:27 PM »
Yes, I bake a variety of fried Sicilian pizza in a 12" cast iron skillet all of the time. I use blue steel sheet pans for larger batches. Cast iron is great for baking pizza. Browns just like steel and can withstand any temps you want.

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Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2010, 09:49:31 PM »
I appreciate the response. I tried a skillet, and I wasn't happy with it. Then I found cheap quarter-sheet pans at Gordon Food Service. I season them and use them on the bottom rack, and the Sicilian is so good I almost can't stand it.

Offline apizza

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 11:07:53 AM »
I appreciate the response. I tried a skillet, and I wasn't happy with it. Then I found cheap quarter-sheet pans at Gordon Food Service. I season them and use them on the bottom rack, and the Sicilian is so good I almost can't stand it.
Can you post how you seasoned the sheet pan ?
I am going to try my cast iron skillet, which is well seasoned.

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2010, 11:32:36 AM »
Be forewarned: I am not a pan-seasoning expert.

First I used WD40 and acetone to remove the ridiculous stickers and adhesive from the pan. Then I washed it to completely remove any residue. I dried it and smeared it with a very thin layer of lard, although I'm sure any oil will work. I like pork fat, because it doesn't stink when it burns.

I baked the pan at 475 until the lard dried, and for no real reason, I switched to cheap olive oil and recoated it a few times, baking it to dry the oil between coats.

I think this pan is stainless, but I'm not sure. I haven't tried a magnet on it; I would imagine Wear-Ever (the maker) uses a cheap grade of stainless that would attract a magnet. I didn't sand it to make the seasoning stick. It didn't need it.

I ended up with a greenish-yellow layer of stuff on the pan. I did not heat it enough to make it black.

The first time you bake in a pan like this, it may stick in a couple of places, but after that, it should be totally nonstick.

I don't wash it. I just wipe the oil off.

Offline scottfsmith

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 12:13:27 PM »
One method I have used with cast-iron skillet Sicilian is after the pizza is in the skillet put it on the stove and get the pan super hot.  When it starts bubbling at the sides pop into the oven.  It makes a nice crust this way since you have all that heat on the crust, something like a pizza stone.

Scott

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 11:29:46 AM »
I have found that the best cast iron skillets to use are the Lodge pre-seasoned skillets. I use my cast iron skillet whenever I'm making a small amount of pizza, usually for just two of us. I also use it when I'm experimenting with different doughs and toppings to get a recipe down. Otherwise, I use my Paderno World Cuisine blue steel baking sheets. They come in various sizes and are 1-1/8" high. Wish I could find some higher ones. These work very good but occasionally the oil overflows and smokes up the kitchen.

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Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2010, 08:45:59 PM »
I have some Lodge pans, and they are extremely crappy compared to my antique pans, which cost about the same amount of money. Old Griswold and Wagner pans heat more evenly and weigh less, and they don't stick as much. The cheap, low-quality, rough finish of Lodge pans is a giant step down from the beautiful polished finish of cast iron pans that are manufactured correctly. And the old pans are much easier to clean, since food doesn't stick as badly to the smooth finish. I hope this information will  be helpful to other people who may be about to make the mistake of buying Lodge products.

I'm planning to give all of my Lodge pans to my cleaning lady, as I replace them with competently manufactured pans.

I also have a newer Wagner skillet which is a modern rough casting, machined to a shiny finish on the inside. It, too, is vastly superior to Lodge pans. I sanded the insides of my Lodge pans, but that is no substitute for machining. I have a milling machine, but machining a big cast iron skillet is a real chore, so it's better to buy old iron.

For pizza, I get my best results with a steel nonstick pan (not Teflon) from my local grocer. It blows cast iron away, and it's even better than the cheap Wear-Ever pans I use at church. The crust fries perfectly on the bottom, so there is no need to finish baking on a stone, and the pizza always slides right out, even if I clean the pan in a dishwasher.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2010, 08:52:32 PM »
My lodge pans have been perfect. No sticking since day 1 and they turn out great pizza. Never wash 'em, just wipe 'em out with a paper towel. I have 3 different ones (12", 10" and griddle) and they are all that good. My wife & I use them a lot for all types of cooking.

Sorry to hear about your dislike of them but they have been excellent pieces of cookware for me.

steel_baker
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Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2010, 06:35:18 PM »
If you haven't tried Griswold and Wagner pans, you might want to check Ebay or your local Salvation Army and give antique iron a shot. You can probably find one for ten bucks if you look. My rough modern pans seemed okay, but only until I tried the old ones. What a difference!

It's my understanding that the older pans were cast with a much finer type of sand, known as jeweler's sand. This is said to account for the superior finish.

I'm pretty disgusted with Lodge. First, they try to tell you that the cheap finish (which clearly costs less to make) is an improvement, when everyone knows better. It's just a penny-pinching move which degrades the product. Then they tell you to season pans at 350 degrees, which is not only wrong, but impossible. My aunt straightened me out about that; she took one of my sad brown pans and seasoned it at 500, giving it a proper hard black finish. I season at 450 now because the finish can burn a little at 500, but she knew a lot more than the people at Lodge, who seem to know very little about their own products.

I think the strangest thing they say is that you should use vegetable oil to season pans. It makes blue smoke that drives you out of the house! Pork fat is much better. The pans work great, and when you season them, it makes your house smell like delicious bacon.


Offline apizza

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 07:02:54 PM »
My aunt straightened me out about that; she took one of my sad brown pans and seasoned it at 500, giving it a proper hard black finish. I season at 450 now because the finish can burn a little at 500, but she knew a lot more than the people at Lodge, who seem to know very little about their own products.

/quote]

My 8" Wagner pan instructions, cast in the bottom, say use 500 deg to season. My two Wagners are the best.

Offline apizza

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2010, 07:04:50 PM »
I always do the quote wrong.  ???

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2010, 09:55:27 PM »
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I get great results from my lodge pans. Totally non stick. Agreed that the lodge pans have a rougher finish, but the idea is to fill those pits & holes with seasoning and grease from the food. It doesn't take long and the pans turn smooth. The browning characteristics have been consistent from the start. As far as pizza goes, I only do my experimental and small batches in the lodge skillets. Full trays are in well seasoned blue steel pans.

Here are some pics of a "scrap" pie I did to experiment with 75% hydration & no oil or sugar in the dough. I had no sauce made so it's marinara on top & the cheese (50/50 mozz/ white cheddar) was the bottom of the container so I just wanted to use it up. The texture and browning of the crust was wonderful, although the dough at 75% was hard to handle, it didn't stick at all. Have never had anything stick in my lodge skillets.

Like I said, I get great results, love 'em.

steel_baker
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2010, 11:10:20 PM »
mmmm, that looks yummy steel baker.   Mind sharing the recipe?  I'll give er a test drive and let you know if it's a winner or not.  I'm sure it is. :chef:

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2010, 07:42:13 AM »
Very simple really, the dough was just an experiment and was just bread flour, water (75%), yeast, and salt. The cheese was my regular blend, 50/50 mozz/ white cheddar. Put 2 oz of peanut oil into a cast iron skillet. After mixing & kneading the dough for a bit, put it in the skillet & stretch to cover about 2/3 of it. Let it rise, then stretch again to the edges. One last rise, then top and bake for 10-12 mins on the bottom rack of a 475 degree oven.

This one was just an experiment. I wanted to use up the last of a batch of cheese so figured I would "play" and make the 75% hydration dough with no oil or sugar and see how it turned out. It had a good flavor and was nice & crispy. Here's a pic of the dough just before topping.

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2010, 08:26:31 AM »
Thx steele baker!  I experimented with making a Sicilian with left over NY style dough at around 70% hydration, no oil or sugar and it turned out very good as well.

Does anyone know if Sicillian pies require a completely different recipe or are most ppl essentially using any basic dough recipe and baking it in a pan with oil.  I know I could probably get any dough to work but wasn't sure if there were actual Sicillian recipes out there. The few I've briefly looked at look like NY style dough with a higher hydration ratio.   

Offline gabaghool

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Sicilian?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2011, 08:13:19 PM »
Chau
in commercial settings, the same dough is used for thin or sicilian pizza.  You gotta press it into the pan and let it rise, so its airy and not dense.

Im thinking about adding a grandma's pie and or a sicilian.  Theres a bakery in main that does sicilian SLABS with 90% hydration.  But thats all he does for pies.

I think MOST commercial places will try to make all pizzas with the same dough.  Me, personally, I would do thin peel pizza and grandmas with the same hydration....but i would be more than tempted to make an 80-90 hydration for my sicilians....


 

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