Making the perfect deep dish pizza at home can be simple, as long as you have the right tools. Using a pizza pan, is simple, you build the pizza in the pan and place the pan in the oven. For pizza novices a pan pizza maybe a little more convenient to start with. This will eliminate the need for a pizza peel and a pizza stone. The taste difference is also preference based. I love both so I have both to cook with, as I am sure many of you will eventually have as well. Pan pizza vs. Stone pizza is like comparing apples to oranges they are just two different types of pizza.
While using stone, your pizza shapes will be freeform and does not always look so pretty. I am the queen of making oblong shaped pizza, but you will have that sometimes. You can make them any size or shape as long as the pizza fits on the stone; this is the beauty of using a stone you are a tad more creative. You can buy square and round stones that can allow you to really create the pizza shape you desire. When using a pan pizza you will conform to the size and shape of your pan. This will give you a better looking crust. When picking out a pizza pan you will want to get a pan for each size you will want to cook. I have a family to feed so a 16" pizza pan works out great for me.
When cooking in a pizza pan you will want to cook your pizza quickly. When using a pizza stone the crust will begin to cook as soon you place it on the stone. With a pan there is a delay in cooking the bottom of the crust so pre-heating the oven is really important. If you have a thicker crust or have just loaded your pizza up to the max it will insulate the crust from the heat flowing from the top down so the heat coming from the bottom is really important in order to keep the pizza from a soggy crust. That delay of cooking can be minimized with a perforated pizza pan.
Another great investment when purchasing a pizza pan is obtaining a pair of grippers. Having this wonderful little tool will help you pull your pan pizza out of the oven eliminating burns during transfer.
Pans are simple to clean out and can be stored right in the oven along with your stone. However, unlike your stone you will need to remove it before pre-heating.