Western NY Sheet Pan Pizza
Sheet Pan Pizza Recipe
Who doesn’t love a crispy, chewy slice of cheesy heaven? It’s perfect for almost any event. Family night. Game day. Birthday party. 25th Anniversary? Ha! I would not be mad. I love pizza and am almost obsessed with duplicating the sheet pan pizzas from back home.
New York style pizza gets a lot of press and recognition. NYC pizza that is. There is more to NY pizza than just that small town down state. Upstate NY has a style of pizza all it’s own, specifically the Buffalo Niagara area of Western New York. Most popular style of pizza in this area is the sheet pizza. Named such because the dough is “punched” out in half sheet trays. To bake the pizza it starts in the oven in the sheet pan then is finished or “decked” by taking the pizza out of the pan and finishing it right on the scorching hot brick oven deck. This way of cooking the pizza gives the dough a unique chewiness while the “decking” gives the crust a delicious crispness.
You will find this style of pizza in all the local pizza joints, hole in the wall taverns and long time Italian bakeries. While similar in shape to an American Sicilian style pizza, it’s not quite as bready. The WNY sheet pizza is right in the middle of the thick Sicilian slice and the NYC thin crust pie. Some might say it closely resembles the Grandma Slice popular in Long Island, just a smidge thicker.
Ok, enough of the story, lets get working on the ‘Za.
The way to start out right, is to use my Italian Pizza Dough recipe here or any dough of your choice.
For optimal flavor I suggest retarding the dough overnight. You can allow the dough to ferment and retard for up to 3 days. The longer the dough is allowed to retard, the deeper the flavor due to the fermentation process. You can allow your dough to ferment in two ways. Either method will produce the same results.
Method 1, Rise and Rest:
Place the kneaded dough ball in an oiled bowl then cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place bowl in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or it has doubled in size. Punch the dough down and hand punch the dough into shape in a well greased sheet pan. My dough recipe fits a 12×18 inch cookie sheet pan perfectly. Cover the pan with another pan, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in your fridge until ready to make.
Once pizza night arrives, pull the pan out of the fridge and allow dough to warm up a bit on the counter for about 10-20. If your dough has shrunk a bit, re-stretch now before allowing to warm up.
Method 2, Rest and Rise:
Place the kneaded dough ball in an oiled bowl (leaving enough room for the dough to rise a bit), wrap tightly and place in fridge for desired amount of time. A little bit of oil on top won’t hurt. While the dough is in the fridge, it will rise some. This is normal. When pizza night arrives, pull the dough out and set on kitchen counter and allow to warm up for about 1.5-2 hours. Once allowed to warm, punch dough down and hand punch the dough into a well greased sheet pan. Place a kitchen towel over the dough and allow to rise 10-15 minutes more.
Sheet Pan Pizza, The Finish.
Now that the dough’s are stretched out and warm, we are ready to top the pizzas. Here, I am going to describe your basic cheese and pepperoni pizza. However, the toppings you decide to use and flavors you can create are endless.
Spread your favorite pizza sauce evenly across the dough leaving about 1/2 inch border for the crust. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese across the sauce, evenly. You’ll still want to see the sauce peeking through the cheese. Top with slice pepperoni and whatever other toppings you like. Sky is the limit. I like sprinkling a bit more cheese over the toppings to make the flavors blend. Also helps secure those toppings so they don’t try and run away.
Finish off the pizza with salt, dried oregano and a moderate drizzle of good olive oil.
If using a pizza stone, allow oven to preheat for at least an hour to allow stone to come up to temp.
Pop the pizza in your preheated 425-450°F oven on the lowest rack setting. If you have a stone, place the pan right on the stone. Let the pizza cook about 14 minutes, turning 180° half way through. Let cook until cheese begins to brown, around 18-21 minutes.** For crispy crust, take pizza out of pan and let cook directly on stone for about 2-3 minutes.
Once cooked, remove pizza from oven to a large wooden board or back into the pan. Know the crust will lose some of its crispness if left in the metal pan. Let rest 3-4 minutes, slice and enjoy.
Hope you enjoy this style of pizza and than you for allowing me to share it with you.
**All ovens cook differently so these times are approximate.
Sheet Pan Pizza is the most popular style of pizza in Western New York. Originating in Italian Grandma's kitchens, now bring it to yours.
- 1 each Pizza Dough Recipe
- 1.5 cup Pizza Sauce
- 3 cup Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese shredded
- 2 cup Sliced Margherita Pepperoni
- TT Olive Oil about 2 Tbsp
- TT Kosher Salt about 1 tsp
- TT Dried Oregano about 1 tsp
Retard dough using either Method 1 or 2
Top prepared dough with desired toppings
Place dressed pizza in 450°F oven for 14 minutes, turning 180° once half way through
Allow to cook until cheese and underside of crust begins to brown, about 6 minutes more
For crisp crust, deck pizza on stone for last 2 minutes of baking
If using a pizza stone, allow stone to heat up for at least an hour before baking.