The Secrets to a Crispy Pizza Crust
The local pizza shop down the street from your house has a couple advantages when it comes to making their pizza's nice and crispy. But, with a couple of changes to your kitchen tools and techniques you can make a great tasting, homemade crispy crust pizza for your friends and family also.
The restaurant down the street uses a commercial oven that reaches temperatures of 800 degrees or hotter. This gives them an advantage of cooking a high temperatures for a short period of time … resulting in a crisp crust. Often when we make pizza at home we set the oven at 350 degrees either because that is always what we do, or because the "recipe" calls for this temperature.
Here is the first secret. Turn up your oven as high as it will go! Our home oven says 550 degrees and runs a little hot, so we maybe we are pushing 600 degrees. I think most home ovens will get to 450 degrees if not hotter. Turn your oven all the way to high.
The commercial ovens also use a stone deck, or some type of heat conducting surface. These surfaces get very hot and trap the heaters heat, resulting in a surface that is actually cooking the crust from the bottom, as the oven heat is cooking the toppings and top of the dough.
We have all experienced one of those take-n-bake pizza's we the soggy bottom crust. They typically use some type of paper tray as a vehicle to carry the pizza home and to cook the pizza in. The problem is that the paper can not get hot enough to cook the bottom of the pizza, and worse, traps the moisture in the dough … not allowing for the bottom to be cooked let alone turn crispy.
Here is the second secret. Buy yourself a baking stone. These are relatively inexpensive items that you place into your oven, pre-heat to as hot as your oven will go, and then place your pizza (or bread) directly onto the surface to cook. These provide even heat distribution and their porous nature allows the moisture of the dough to escape, resulting in a perfectly crisp crust.
One last tip. Because we are baking at a higher temperature, we will not need to bake the pizza as long. In some cases we may only need to bake it for 10 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of the crust.
There you have it, the secrets to a crispy homemade pizza crust. Increase the heat of your oven, purchase a baking stone, and reduce the time you cook your pizza, and you will re-create what the restaurant down the street is doing … and I bet you will be making pizza that will rival yours in no time.