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Old 11-01-2009, 09:05 AM   #11
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Another vote for parchment paper. Makes clean up a snap.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:39 AM   #12
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I have an old pizza pan, kid of dented on the rim, just metal, like my dookie sheets. They get blacker with use. (like 25+ years...). I don't have to worry about ruining them.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:53 AM   #13
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My first concern is, what is causing black gunk on your pan in the first place? I can't think of what, in pizza crust, should be leaving that kind of residue. It almost sounds like the gunk that cooking spray leaves on pans, but I'm not sure from your post.
A good way to avoid the cooking spray residue is to switch to a refillable oil mister (like Misto), which is also more environmentally friendly. But if that's not what's causing your black gunk, it won't help this particular problem, of course.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by apple*tart View Post
My first concern is, what is causing black gunk on your pan in the first place? I can't think of what, in pizza crust, should be leaving that kind of residue...
I'd bet it was some of the liquid from the toppings that ran off the crust into the pan.
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:09 AM   #15
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Ah yes, that could be. I wonder, is the residue around the edges of the pizza, or underneath, or...?
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:27 AM   #16
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Hey y'all, thanks for the great response, and all the ideas. Surely I'll find a solution from all this info.

I'm pretty sure the black gunk is super-caramelized toppings that come off the pizza and melt around the edge of the crust.

I have an oven thermometer, and had checked the oven in my old house, but I moved in February and haven't checked the new one yet. I'll do so.

I'd researched a pizza stone, but every one I saw advertised a crisper crust, which was confirmed by by the people I'd spoken to who have them.

I have an old non-stick pizza pan with crusted black gunk on it, i like the idea of just using that and accepting the black gunk. The corn starch idea is also appealing, as it is the least wasteful. After that, i'd say the misting oil, and then the parchment would be the next I'll try. I like the idea that the parchement is bio-degradable. While foil can be recycled, you have to wash it or you run the risk of insect problems until you transport the aluminum to the recycler. I have a can crusher and crush my used aluminum cans and store them in a 30 gallon trash can. When it's full, i take it to the recycler and usually get 30 bucks or more for the aluminum. The first time I did it, though, i didn't rinse the cans out, and even though the trash can is sealed, ants got to it. Now, I rinse every can and let them dry before crushing them, and there are no bug problems.

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:28 AM   #17
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...I'm pretty sure the black gunk is super-caramelized toppings that come off the pizza and melt around the edge of the crust...

Another sure fire way to solve the problem would be to use more care in putting your toppings on the crust so they don't run off onto the pan...
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:46 AM   #18
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The corn starch idea is also appealing, as it is the least wasteful.
Just wanted to make sure you buy the right stuff...it's corn meal you'll need, not corn starch.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:42 PM   #19
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For a more tender crust, like you are looking for, I use a plain old aluminum pizza pan I picked up at a restaurant supply store several years ago. It works great. I have a pizza stone for when I want a nice crispy crust. And, trust me, that pizza stone does not look like it did the day it came out of the box - it's dark and has black spots baked on it - I just scrape it off and it does fine.

Never use a non-stick spray on a non-stick pan unless it specifically says you can. Usually, it just makes a sticky mess.

One other thing - the color of the metal your pan is made of. A dark color will result in a crisper crust (the dark color absorbs more heat) than a light shiny one, which reflects some of the heat.

And, unless you are using your pizza pans for decorations, don't worry about the dark crusty stuff - just scrape it off and go on. That's even greener than anything.

The corn meal is used to keep the pizza dough from sticking to the peel so that it will slide off when going into the oven - sort of like a bunch of little ball bearings. You can also sprinkle some on your pan to help keep it srom sticking to the pan IF you don't grease the pan.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:03 PM   #20
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The corn meal is used to keep the pizza dough from sticking to the peel so that it will slide off when going into the oven
Not to mention that it adds a great element of texture.
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