In our opinion, the only thing better than a regular pizza from a parlor is a huge pizza cooked at home, so we upgraded the traditional pie to make this super-sized version. A dense, sturdy dough, a well-seasoned crust, and a crisp, browned bottom are just a few reasons it’s so tasty (don’t even get us started on the cheese and sauce). While it’s large enough to feed a dinner party of twelve, we won’t judge you if you make it just for yourself.
STEPS TO MAKING A SHEET PAN PIZZA
1. MAKE THE DOUGH: Mix warm water, oil, sugar, flour, yeast, and salt in a mixer fitted with a dough hook; knead briefly in the machine.
WHY? Kneading builds gluten, which gives dough its structure. For a tender crust, knead for just 3 minutes or so.
2. LET IT RISE: Move the dough to a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
WHY? All yeast doughs need time to create carbon dioxide, which causes the dough to rise.
3. OIL THE BAKING SHEET: Coat the baking sheet with ¼ cup of olive oil.
WHY? This oil, in combination with the oil that’s in the dough, helps the bottom of the pizza brown and crisp as it bakes.
4. ROLL AND PRESS: Roll the dough into a rectangle, place it on the baking sheet, and stretch and press the dough into the corners.
WHY? This dough is stiff so it requires rolling out before stretching the corners to fully line the baking sheet.
5. LET RISE AGAIN: Brush the dough with oil to keep it moist, cover it with plastic, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
WHY? This waiting period allows the gluten in the dough to relax, which prevents the dough from shrinking and helps optimize a nice, fast rise in the oven.
6. START SAUCE: Sauté garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes in hot oil for 30 seconds.
WHY? By “blooming” the aromatics, we bring out their full flavor—and with a thick crust like this one, the sauce needs to be potent.
7. BROWN PASTE: Stir in tomato paste and brown it lightly, for about 2 minutes.
WHY? Browning deepens the flavor of the tomato paste.
8. SIMMER SAUCE: Add the canned, crushed tomatoes and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
WHY? Simmering evaporates moisture, in turn thickening the sauce and concentrating its flavor. A thicker sauce reduces the chances of a soggy crust.
9. BAKE WITH PARMESAN: Dimple the dough, sprinkle it with Parmesan, and bake it at 450 for 7 to 10 minutes.
WHY? This thick crust needs parbaking. Baking the Parmesan onto the crust creates a ragged surface the sauce can stick to.
10. BAKE WITH SAUCE: Remove the pizza from the oven and spoon on the sauce, leaving the edges bare. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes longer.
WHY? The crust needs more parbaking time; for this stretch, we top it with the sauce so it can concentrate even further.
11. FINAL BAKE: Top with mozzarella and more Parmesan and bake until done, about 12 more minutes.
WHY? Now that parbaking has firmed up the crust and the sauce has further reduced, it’s time to load on the cheese and cook the pizza through.
12. REST AND SLICE: Wait 5 minutes before you slice and serve the pizza.
WHY? This oversize pizza needs time to set up and cool slightly so that you can serve tidy squares: If it’s too hot when you slice it, the toppings will slide off.
MAKE IT NOW: Our recipe for Sheet Pan Pizza is free through April 1, 2013.