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Old 08-13-2006, 05:28 PM   #11
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This thread is going to get big!!

At home I'm more for 500 with a 20 min wait before throwing it in, top shelf, 11 -12 mins max with a Julia Child dough recipe and some herbs thrown in and a pan with holes, and I'm swearing by that, even when I've got about 2# of crap piled on there. Works every time. Crispy and good crust height. I'm sure this is just one of about 20 failsafe ways we're going to read over the next few days. But then it is pizza after all.

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Old 08-13-2006, 05:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DaCook
Do you sprinkle your pan with cornmeal? I find that really helps.
I like to do the same thing too (whether or not it does a ton to help the crispness is up for debate, but I do like the taste and texture that it adds). Also, I've found that when cooking pizza in your average kitchen oven, it seems to crisp up better if the crust is more the thin side.


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Old 08-13-2006, 06:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ChefScotty
Just driving by - don't ever waste money on a pizza stone - get unglazed quarry tiles, they're a fraction of the price. And jaspa by hot she means don't throw the pizza in when it goes beep beep, leave it at 500 for a while. There's a whole bunch of things you could do including par cooking the crust before adding toppings. We'll get you crispy!

If all else fails I've got a particularly forgetful cook I can lend you. It'll be black as coal when he's done with it, but it'll be crispy.

chef Scotty,

Where do you get these unglazed quarry stones?? I went to my local Lowe's and Home Depot and asked for these and they looked at me like I was "crazed". Can you tell by looking at them if they're unglazed since I also live overseas most of the time and speak NO Russian???
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:45 PM   #14
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I think, like Michael said, it has to do with the thickness of your crust. I only make thin-crust pizza, and use a teflon pizza pan. Make sure your oven is hot, I set mine to 400 degrees.
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Old 08-13-2006, 08:25 PM   #15
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I was lucky enough while vacationing in Italy a few weeks ago to get to have a pizza dinner in an Italian home in Varese (northwest of Milano). Alberto has a wood fired pizza oven on his balcony... his wife makes the dough, tops each pizza per order, and Alberto cooks them. In a 350°C (662°F) oven they take about 2-3 minutes to cook, crisp and wonderful. With such toppings as aged prosciutto, salami, buffalo mozzarella, lots of fresh tomatoes and olives from their garden, it made anything I've ever had here seem bland. With 4 different wines to choose from, and great company, it was a fabulous evening. And a shot of grappa to cap it off.... well I could have done without the grappa...

Now I may have to spend the rest of my life trying to replicate the pizza I had over there...
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Old 08-13-2006, 08:27 PM   #16
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Get a thick pizza stone. It has worked great for me, for many years. I still have the same one. Make sure you preheat your oven at 450-500 for at least 45 minutes. I cook at 550 and it takes me about 7 minutes to get a crisp pizza. When you slide that pizza onto a hot stone, it allows the moisture to escape the crust giving it that crunch when you cut it.

Corn meal will help you "slide" your pizza off the peel, and thats about it.

Unglazed quarry tiles are nice from what I hear because you can stack them beside each other, and on the rack in the oven above the pizza. I have not tried them yet... I would go with a stone because they are easy to find.

Preheat that stone for at least 45 minutes and you will get a crispy pizza crust.
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Old 08-13-2006, 08:42 PM   #17
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I love my pizza stone. I just got one about a year ago and wish I'd purchased it 15 years before.
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Old 08-13-2006, 09:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by jaspa
ive started making my own pizza istead of ordering them in the only fault is i cant get to middle of the base to crispen ive tryed a tray with holes and a solid tray can someone help please cheers
If I understand correctly, you're saying that the middle of your pizza isn't getting cooked as much as you'd like it. My son worked at a pizza place a few years ago - I used to go in & help out - mostly to spend time with him. One thing he kept trying to pound into my head: keep the center of the pizza clear of toppings or it won't cook right. I wanted to put toppings over the entire pizza, including the middle, but he had to keep moving my stuff & telling me to leave the center alone - NO toppings!
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:06 AM   #19
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btw, this is a great thread, i'm learning a lot! thanks! i HAVE one of those pizza stones...unfortunately i've used it only once because i didn't get one of those needed paddles to transfer my prepared pizza to the preheated stone. does anyone know how else to transfer the pizza, without using a paddle?

meanwhile, i'm using those trays with holes and making my pizzas really thin. but i do find that if you pile a lot of toppings onto the pizza, it does make the middle soggy, so i tend to make my toppings few as well.

**one suggestion from a friend but i've never done this: bake in oven till toppings are bubbly, then transfer to a non-greased frypan placed over high heat on the hob ...and cook till desired crispness of bottom is achieved...sounds like cheating to me, but it could work
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:06 AM   #20
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Pizza baking is all about thermodynamics. The more heat you can get to the bottom of the crust, the better the oven spring, the puffier/crispier/tastier the final product.

There are a great number of home cooks that are perfectly happy with home style pizzas. These pizzas take on quite a few variations, including pre-cooking the shell, using a thin stone, a cookie sheet, a pan with holes, parchment paper, broiling, grilling and pan frying, just to name a few. As much as these techniques produce good pizzas, none of these will produce a pizzeria style pie. There's a pretty good reason why Americans eat about a billion slices of pizzeria pizza every year. Pizzeria pizza, for the most part, tastes phenomenal.

With pizzeria pizzas, thermal mass is key. You're talking about 3 inches of baking stone underneath the pizza, on the ceiling and all four walls. Compared to 3 inches, a cheap 1/4" stone is meaningless. For that matter, so are 1/4" unglazed quarry tiles. Recreating that much thermal mass in a home oven is close to impossible, but you can definitely create enough mass to duplicate pizzeria style pies.

If your goal is a good home style pizza, then the suggestions here are excellent, but if a pizzeria style is what you're attempting to achieve, I can help. This is something I've spent about 20 years learning to do. It's not that expensive, but it does take some time and effort.

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