Creating A Crispy Pizza Crust
Occasionally aspiring “pizza chefs” decide to create their favorite pizza pies at home. Firstly, the home pizza maker proceeds to gather all necessary ingredients for the highly anticipate pie. Once all ingredients are carefully arranged on the kitchen counter, the pizza maker prepares to commence the master pizza creation process.
Emphasis is placed on selecting the “perfect” blend of cheese and toppings. Also the precise blend of ingredients for the savory pizza sauce is selected. Typically, all eyes are on the pizza pie as it evolves in the kitchen. Once the pie has been carefully crafted, it is placed on a “pizza pan” and the master pizza baker slides the pie into the oven. Yes, into the oven it goes!
Some 7-12 minutes later, the pizza pie is removed from the oven. The master home pizza maker grabs the pizza cutter…. only to find that the crust is “doughy”, soggy, somewhat soft and certainly not representative of the crispy crust that you hoped to create. This is not the crunchy crust that you remember from the pizza parlor. What happened? Where did I go wrong?
If this sounds familiar, today is your lucky day because I’m going to solve this problem for you with two simple words.
A pizza stone is a flat stone or piece of ceramic or earthenware used to evenly distribute oven heat to pizzas or other baked goods. Pizza stones more or less mimic the effects of cooking a pizza in a masonry oven. The thermal mass and porous nature of the stone used also helps absorbs moisture, resulting in a crisp pizza crust.
Distribution of heat is important when baking pizza, especially when using conventional ovens found in most homes. If heat can be evenly distributed across the bottom of the pizza, moisture from the dough can be absorbed and the crust begins to take on that well loved crispy characteristic that most pizza lovers crave.
Small pizza stones can be purchased to fit in just about any conventional cooking oven. High-end ovens sometimes offer optional pizza stones that are specifically designed for specific oven models. These sometimes include a specialized heating element.
To prevent cracking of the stone due to thermal shock, the pizza stone should be placed in a cold oven and heated over at least 45 minutes, and it should be allowed to cool down slowly inside the oven after switching it off. Proper use of a pizza stone is critical Due to the possibility of rapid temperature change, pizza stones should not be left in an oven while it is in self-cleaning mode.
Sprinkling cornmeal, semolina or breadcrumbs on the pizza stone to prevent the crust from sticking is also a great idea when using a pizza stone. Never oil your pizza stone as the surface of the stone needs to remain dry. Place the pizza directly on the stone. When using a pizza stone do not leave the pizza in a pan. I suggest that you make the pizza directly on a pizza peel that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. This will allow for an easy transition from the pizza peel to the pizza stone when you’re ready to bake the pie.
The porous nature of pizza stones does have a downside — the stone will absorb just about anything, including soap. Use a clean, dry brush or plain water to clean the stone. Avoid using soap or submerging you stone into water. Generally this is not a good idea due to the absorption factor as it relate to a pizza stone.
Cure your soggy pizza crust blues. Learn how to use a pizza stone correctly and enjoy your favorite pizza creations, especially those that require and deserve the crispy pizza crust that many pizza lovers crave. Invest in a pizza stone, you’ll be glad you did.