by William Lockhart
From time to time the one thing that home pizza makers want to accomplish when baking pizza is a nice crispy, crunchy pizza crust.
It’s quite difficult for a pizza lover to resist the crispy texture of flavorful pizza crust layered with a blend of savory toppings.
A common question asked by newbies and veteran home pizza makers alike, is simply this, “How can I make my pizza crust crispy?” Today is your lucky day because I’m going to give you a couple of ways to achieve crispier pizza crust.
One of the most important aspects of making good pizza at home relates to oven temperatures. Oven temperatures vary when using typical home ovens. Though some home pizza makers have access to brick ovens or more elaborate forms of home ovens, many pizza lovers do not. These types of ovens are fantastic for pizza baking but the typical conventional oven found in most home kitchens require a slightly different approach.
Generally, typical conventional ovens do not compare, in terms of temperature generation with commercial ovens found in professional pizza parlors. Don’t worry pizza lovers, there’s still hope for home pizza makers.
Due to the “temperature factor”, there are a number of things you must consider when preparing your pizza dough and baking your pizza pies at home, especially if you want a pie that’s delightfully crispy, crunchy and irresistible.
The first consideration is water content when mixing the pizza dough. If you use olive oil as a fundamental ingredient for your pizza dough, consider using slightly less olive oil and replace this with a little more warm water. Adding a little more water to your mix of pizza dough will contribute to a crispier and flaky crust.
In addition, it’s a good idea to roll your dough to a “paper thin” thickness. You can do this by “rolling out” your pizza dough directly onto the pizza peel. Of course before doing this, sprinkle cornmeal on the pizza peel to insure an easy transfer to the baking surface you plan to use.
Next, you’ll want to use one of two techniques for baking your pizza to make sure your completed pizza boasts that delicious crispy pizza crust that we all crave. You’ll want to choose a suitable “baking platform” or “baking surface”.
Try one of the two techniques below for baking your pizza pies:
1- Use a “pizza stone”
If you decide to use a pizza stone, make sure you give the stone plenty of time to heat before transferring the pizza from the pizza peel to the stone. You’ll want to follow the instructions provided with the pizza stone very accurately.
The transfer from pizza peel to pizza stone will be much easier if you lightly cover your pizza peel with cornmeal. This makes the transfer process from pizza peel to pizza stone a breeze.
When using a pizza stone, the goal is to have the ingredients of the pizza complete the cooking process about the same time the crust “completely” browns. Depending on your specific oven, temperatures, 425 to 450 should suffice. Of course you’ll have to experiment with cooking times for your specific oven.
Be careful not to remove the pizza to early, as this is a common mistake. Allow plenty of time for the crust to brown, without burning the cheese. If need be, CAREFULLY take a peak underneath the pie to check your crust if you like. Remember, ovens are extremely hot!
2 – Use a “pizza screen”
The second way to achieve a nice crispy crust is to use a pizza screen. Though this can be a bit messy, this baking platform produces wonderful crispy pizza crust. The porous nature of a pizza screen allows heat to pass through the screen directly to the bottom of the pizza.
This helps with the moisture absorption process. Direct heat helps reduce the moisture content within the pizza dough and adds to the crispy nature and texture of pizza crust. Mmmm…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…
Pizza screens are fairly cheap, and that’s great because they get a bit “clogged” with toasted cheese and ingredients after several uses. Clean them thoroughly after each use to extend the life of your screen. Besides, you’ll forget about the mess when you slide that first slice of crispy pizza into your mouth, I promise.
Try these techniques to improve your pizza making adventures and remember to save me a slice!