For my first attempt at stuffed crust pizza, I shredded a ball of fresh mozzarella and heaped it up in a ring just inside the edges of a rolled-out circle of dough. Then I folded the dough over the cheese, baked the pizza as I always do, and cut through the crust to discover that no more than a trickle of cheese remained inside . . . like a dwindling creek running through a culvert. Rookie mistake. A quick internet search revealed my missing ingredient: string cheese (or, low-moisture mozzarella). Unlike fresh mozzarella, which has a higher water content and gets all puddly when melted, string cheese remains intact and transforms into an elastic, oozy-but-not-dribbly melted cheese experience. So, armed with a bag of shiny white string cheese, I gave it another shot.
Here's how it works:
STEP 1—Preheat the oven to 475°F with your pizza stone (if using) on the center rack.
STEP 2—Roll the dough out to a 14-inch circle. If using a pizza stone, dust your pizza peel or inverted baking sheet with cornmeal or flour and place the circle of dough on top. If using a baking sheet, rub it with a little olive oil and place the dough on top.
STEP 3—Cut 4 pieces of string cheese in half lengthwise and arrange them in an octagon, touching end to end.
STEP 4—Fold the dough over the cheese, pressing as you go to create a seal.
STEP 5—Brush the edges of the dough with olive oil, making sure to get it in the seams all the way around the pizza. Press the dough again to seal.
STEP 6—Add your toppings.
STEP 7—If using a pizza stone, run a long, flat spatula under the dough on the peel until the dough moves easily when you jerk the peel back and forth. Transfer the pizza to the hot stone and bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese and/or other toppings are beginning to blister. If using a baking sheet, bake the pizza on the center rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
STEP 8—Remove the pizza from the oven, slice, and serve. (Usually you should let the pizza rest a bit before slicing, but if you want to capture the stuffed crust at its ooziest moment, dig in right away.)