Posted by: timscooking | March 29, 2010

Making “Real” Restaurant-Style Pizza

One of the most challenging aspects for the home cook of creating pizza that looks and tastes like restaurant-style pizza is getting the crust to bake just right. Restaurants have a distinct advantage over the home cook with their wood-fired brick ovens or commercial gas ovens that reach temperatures of over 900 degrees. The best most folks can do is 500 degrees, if their oven is working at optimum temp output and with older ovens, even that can be a stretch.

Oh sure, if you read the design magazines about kitchen makeovers, someone is always splurging on a $10,000 blast furnace for their newly renovated kitchen, but for most of us the dedicated pizza oven is just a dream. I’ve been experimenting with various methods and I believe I’ve been able to re-create the pizzeria style crust with some simple equipment and techniques. The key to that slightly charred, crispy crust is heat and you can achieve it by using the same technique that the old-time pizza makers use, heated stone, and this you can re-create using a pizza stone or large unglazed terra-cotta tile. Either are inexpensive and easily attainable.

Set your oven to its highest temperature (usually 500 degrees) and place the pizza stone or tile on a rack positioned near the bottom. Gas or electric ovens both position heating elements at the bottom of the box, using the natural tendency for heat to rise to ensure rapid heating within the closed environment of your oven. Allow the stone to heat for 60 minutes. This will ensure that all of the moisture is baked out of the stone as it does absorb humidity from the surrounding environment

Next, roll out your prepared pizza dough (store-bought or homemade) with plenty of flour and place on a prepared transfer surface. This can be a pizza paddle (peel), large sturdy piece of cardboard, back of a half sheet pan, or stiff silicon sheet spread liberally with corn meal. Be sure to give your transfer surface a shake to see if the pizza dough will move, if not, lift the dough and add more corn meal. Move the rack with the pizza stone to the broiler position of your oven and turn the broil on. Add the topping to your pizza, checking that the dough is still loose on your transfer surface and slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Let bake for 5 minutes.

When time has expired, use heat-proof tongs to lift the edge of the pizza and slide your transfer surface back under the finished pizza. Remove the pizza from the oven and let cool for 2 minute before serving. The crust will be slightly charred around the edges and the bottom will be crisp. Observe the picture at the right.

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Responses

  1. I have never made my own pizza before. I got as far as “take it and bake it” and I had no idea there was such thing as a pizza stone. I always thought pizza was one of those mystical things that only pizzeria can do well and an ordinary person should not mess with. I was so wrong! After reading these instructions I was inspired and attempted my very first homemade pizza. It turned out yummy, crispy on the outside with soft middle, my family is now hooked! Pizza stone is a great tool and so inexpensive! Thanks for sharing.


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