Originally (ostensibly) Italian, really good pizza can be found in almost every country on earth. Whether you are in Argentina, Poland, Germany, or right here in the US of A, you are never more than a few blocks away from pizza in any major city on earth.
Making pizza is bonehead easy, and as per the old joke, bad sex and bad pizza are still pretty damn good, so there is no downside to making it yourself. Even if the first try isn’t perfect, it’s going to be good. After all, (think the sex part of the joke) you already know what you like!
Making pizza on a Cauldron is a total crowd-pleaser, and requires exactly one piece of equipment – a pizza stone. And in fact, you don’t even need that, as a good, high quality piece of cast iron will do just as well. If you have a Butter Pat cast iron pan, you are really in good shape!
Making pizza dough is simple. Look online and there are loads of recipes. Our advice is to make the dough a few hours ahead, as it will be more flavorful the longer the yeast can work its magic. Use lots of yeast, and after it rises a bit, refrigerate it to slow the yeast bloom. This will increase the taste of your crust. That’s about it.
Sauce, cheese, & toppings. Do what you like. It’s summer. Use fresh basil. Or not. It’s your pizza.
To cook, build a seriously hot fire in the Cauldron. If using charcoal, use lump charcoal and not briquettes. Briquettes are designed to smolder and don’t get hot enough. And use gloves, because knuckle hair takes a long time to grow back.
Put the stone or the cast iron pan on and let it get really, really hot. You can put it on the grill if you are using a small Cauldron, or you can put the charcoal grate over the fire and use that to support the pan on a larger Cauldron. This will keep the heat very close to your stone or pan. Here’s a pro tip: If you are using a cast iron pan, turn it upside-down, and cook on the bottom of the pan. It’s more like a pizza stone in that you can slide the crust on and off really easily!
Get all of your sauce and toppings ready and have them in separate bowls immediately at hand. In the professional cooking world, this is called mis en place, and roughly translated, it means “Get your shit together and have it ready to go.” Honestly, this is the toughest part of making the pizza. If you do this, the process will be easy. If you don’t, well, we told you so. As part and parcel of this process, put a few beers on ice. More on this later.
Get your dough rolled out and ready. Toss it up in the air like the guys on TV to if you are good enough to pull it off.
Once you are really ready, and have everything together, put the crust on the pan or stone and let it sit for a few seconds. If your surface is hot enough, the crust will easily move around on the surface very quickly. As soon as it does, and has stiffened just enough to hold its shape, flip it over. You now have a pre-heated surface to work on. Smear on your sauce onto the hot crust, put the cheese and toppings on top, and then reach for a beer.
Opening the beer is really a timing event. Remember, you are working with a hot fire, and you’ve been working hard on getting your mis en place, so you deserve a beer.
It doesn’t take long to fish one from the cooler, crack it open, and have a swig or two. This is just about the amount of time you need to leave everything alone while the blistering heat from your proper fire does its thing. The key visual indicator for doneness will be the edge of the crust starting to brown, and the cheese getting all melty. [Even if “melty” isn’t a proper word, it fits here, so we are going with it.] Another pro tip: If your crust is browning but the cheese isn’t melted to your satisfaction, use the lid from a wok or any other thing at hand to cover the stone and the pizza for a few seconds. This will trap just enough heat to give you the full oven effect you are looking for, and will also save you the few thousand dollars that a dedicated pizza oven would cost you.
You are welcome.
Enjoy the rest of that beer.
And a killer homemade pizza!