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Pizza Temp - why so hot?

WWSisWWSis Posts: 1,448
edited 2:58AM in EggHead Forum
I've read many posts about high-temp pizza cooks; am now assuming this is to get the crust crispy...I am perplexed. Recognizing that I am still a newbie, I have done probably 20 pizzas already and never got the temp over 450, usually keep it about 425 and my crusts seem to be great, nicely browned, cooked evenly...I'm just not sure what the advantage is... :S Am I missing something here? :huh:


  • Helps 'em rise, as the water turns to steam and forms holes in the crust. Or so I hear.

  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,407
    Julia, your further than me by far. Are you making your own dough, or store bought?
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  • BConkBConk Posts: 72
    It's not really to get the crust crispy - it's to have a higher rise and a more tender crust. The idea being that the longer the crust is in the oven (or grill), the more the steam in the dough is lost.

    At temps of 700°+ with a sparsely topped pizza, the edge will puff right up when it hits the stone and the pie will cook completely within about 3 minutes. The crust doesn't have time to dry out. When done correctly, the crust has a crispness on the outside but is very tender - you can fold a piece in half and the crust won't crack.

    In Naples, Italy - true Pizza Napoletana must be cooked in wood fired ovens at temps that are high enough to cook a pizza within 90 seconds. If not - they literally cannot call it true pizza Napoletana - by law.

    The hi temp approach to pizza doesn't work well at all if you like pizzas with lots of toppings. If you want lots of stuff - stick with the lower temps and longer cooks. At Hi temps the bottom of the crust will burn long before the toppings are done.

    I make a 12" pie with 12 ounces of dough, about 2.5 ounces of San Marzano tomatoes, and no more than 3-4 ounces of diced fresh mozzarella. Topped with a sprinkling of salt, a drizzle of EVOO, some fresh basil, some fresh minced garlic and nothing more. It's all I'll ever want for pizza - and when it's done right it's perfect.

    The dough I use has nothing besides flour, salt and water. I use a starter dough with a wild yeast culture - which itself is only flour and water.

    Most recipes for pizza dough call for the addition of olive oil. I think that's to try to get something like that tender crust keeping in mind that most people cook pizza at home at temps no higher than 550°.
  • WWSisWWSis Posts: 1,448
    BConk; thank you so much for this very helpful info! It makes total sense, and I will certainly experiment. As you said, I think what makes it different for me is that we tend to like a bunch of toppings as a I made a BBQ chicken pizza - ranch dressing for the sauce; carmelized red onion and chicken mixed with swamp venom and BBQ sauce. Topped with fresh mozz slices, thinly sliced tomato, fresh cilantro, black olives and jalapenos! Loaded but yummy!
  • WWSisWWSis Posts: 1,448
    Molly, I cheat and buy fresh store dough, though I am finding that some are definitely better than others. I'm sticking with one called "beer dough" from one of our local specialty grocery stores. It's only $1.49, and it's really good; nice air/fluffs up nicely/a little chewy...mmm :)
  • loco_engrloco_engr Posts: 3,673
    Great explanation! Thank You.
  • cahuckcahuck Posts: 31
    Ditto these comments but add you'll also get enough char in the crust to enhance the flavors and a bit of color to the cheese that builds a bit more texture and flavor.

    Also my experience that drier no oil doughs will cook much quicker, oiled doughs take longer so don't set a timer, just cook until done!

    I like having a batch of "artisan bread in 5 minutes a day" oil dough in the fridge at all times. It can spontaneously turn in to focaccia, pita, boules, batards or pizza crusts! Pull out of the fridge then shape, top and bake. This is a very wet dough that takes a little bit longer to cook and is very, very convenient!
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