NEPA Pan-fried Sicilian-style Pizza Dough
Specially made to serve as the base for Pan-fried Sicilian Pizza, a Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) regional specialty, this dough recipe makes enough for two large pizzas — or ”trays” in the local vernacular. This is a same-day dough with about seven hours of fermentation time, but it’s a good idea to get started in the morning if you plan to cook in the evening.
Formulated by Jim Mirabelli, the owner and chief pizza officer at NEPA Pizza Review, this dough mimics the many pan-fried Sicilians he’s had in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of this particular pizza style. Jim’s recipe calls for a few rounds of dimpling the dough with olive-oiled hands, followed by resting it in a pan coated with peanut oil. Don’t skimp on those steps — they make the dough airy, extremely crisp and chewy in the center.
Jim’s recipe calls for General Mills Full Strength Flour, a bread flour (12.6% protein content) that comes in 50-pound bags, typically used in professional settings and pizzerias that make this regional style, but you can use King Arthur Bread Flour (12.7%), Ceresota (12%) or another bread flour with a comparable protein content (11 to 13%) for similar results.
This recipe appears in A Love Letter to Northeastern Pennsylvania-style Pizza by Jim Mirabelli and Pan-fried Sicilian Pizza
Notes: If using baker’s percentages instead of following the recipe exactly, the percentages are as follows:
flour (100%), water (58%), instant dry yeast (1%), salt (2%), olive oil (3%).
If you’re looking for an alternative to peanut oil for frying, try canola or sunflower oil.
7 hours total
6 hours passive
1 hour active
2 x 500-gram dough balls
389 grams (1 ⅔ cups) water (70°F) (58%)
7 grams (1 ¾ teaspoons) instant dry yeast (1%)
671 grams (5 cups) bread flour (100%)
13 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt (2%)
20 grams (4 teaspoons) extra-virgin olive oil (3%), plus
More extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle for to drizzle on top
30 grams (2 tablespoons) peanut oil, for greasing the pan (canola or sunflower oil are suitable substitutions)
Put water, yeast, flour and salt into a stand mixer bowl and mix for 1 minute. Pause the mixer and add the olive oil. Continue to mix for 6 to 8 minutes until all ingredients are integrated, the dough is smooth and the sides of the mixing bowl are clean.
Remove the dough hook, cover the dough in the mixing bowl and allow it to rest (bulk ferment) at room temperature for 2 hours.
Portion dough into 2 x 500-gram pieces. Shape into smooth dough balls and place in a covered container. Allow them to rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours or until they double in size.
Prepare the pan. Pour in half the peanut oil and work it around to coat the bottom and sides. Place a dough ball in the pan, then coat your hands in olive oil to prevent them sticking to the dough. Stretch the dough out by pressing it gently and creating dimples in it with your fingers — similar to what you’d do when making focaccia.
Drizzle and rub olive oil on top of the dough, then cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Remove the covering, then press your fingers into the dough in a random way to make dimples and push some of the air out (as you did before). Cover again for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, remove the covering, dimple the dough one last time and press the outside of the dough against the sides of the pan to create a slightly raised-edge crust.
Done! For cooking instructions, refer to our Pan-fried Sicilian Pizza recipe.