Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to Make Homemade Pizza, Part 4: The Baking

Read about pizza dough, pizza sauce, and pizza toppings, too!

For the better part of my pizza making career I've been baking my pizzas on a jelly roll pan with a Silpat underneath. It worked just fine, but the crust was inconsistent. Sometimes I'd get a nice crispy crust, but sometimes I wouldn't.

Then I read on Tammy's Recipes how she makes pizza and it made a huge improvement on my crust. I started buttering a round pizza pan, which helped the crust not to stick and to brown up. Instead of pre-heating my oven while I made the pizza, I first made the pizza and then let it sit while the oven heated up. This let the crust rise a bit and created a nice fluffy pizza crust. This is definitely the method I recommend if you don't have a pizza stone.

About a month ago I gave in a purchased a pizza stone and pizza peel and they have revolutionized my homemade pizza. Seriously. There is nothing that crisps up pizza crust and makes your homemade pizza taste like it came from a pizzeria like a pizza stone. I made some for my dad and he couldn't believe it wasn't take out. I'm still perfecting this method, but I can tell you that you have to use corn meal on the peel and you have to use a lot of it!

To bake a pizza on a stone, you pre-heat the stone right in your oven. I bake all my pizzas on 500 degrees. If your oven goes hotter, then bake as high as it goes. Regardless of what you are baking on, pre-heat the oven to get it HOT. Back to the stone -- You make your pizza on the peel and slide it off the peel on to the stone (the tricky part!). Pizzas will bake on stones twice as fast as in a pan. I love, love, love my stone and I wish I had gotten one sooner!

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