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How to bake pizza in your kitchen’s oven - some guidelines

So when you bake pizza, the rule of thumb is just one: crank UP your oven as high as possible. Whatever its maximum temperature is, that’s the temperature you want to set.


There is a video version of this post, in case you prefer watching or if you want to listen in background.


My goal is to give you an information as complete as possible, but please don't hesitate to ask questions if you notice that I forgot something.


I will tell you at what temperature to bake pizza, how hot your oven should be to and I will try to give you some suggestions to try and make the most of your kitchen oven.


I will NOT refer to those very powerful purpose built ovens, the likes of Ooni or Roccbox. Even less I will discuss microwave ovens. We don’t cook real pizza in the microwave oven.

Now there are LOADS of different ovens and of course I can’t possibly cover how all of them work, but I know that some ovens have one heating element, while others have two and others have an upper grill (or broiler) which turns out to be very helpful for our purpose, in fact I use it every time I bake pizza.


But nevermind all the technical differences, we need to use our oven with one single goal in mind: make it as hot as possible.


Ask the pizzaiolo at your favourite pizza place, they would probably say that they bake at around 330° - 350°C (626° - 662°F) just like I did in my pizzeria days. Even at home, pizza must be baked as quickly as possible.



 

Is pre-heating the oven necessary?


Yes.


But it takes time to reach the temperature we set, how long? An exact answer is impossible, let me give you a few pointers!


Most ovens have a control light on the panel that turns on when you switch them on. That little light will turn off once the thermostat will measure the desired temperature.


The problem with home ovens is that their temperature is not constant: during the first 45 to 60 minutes, it oscillates like a sinusoid.


Yes, I’m a nerd.


Usually one hour is enough for this oscillation to decrease and become less wide, so you basically achieve a farily constant temperature. This could lead us to conclude that we should pre-heat the oven for one hour or so if we want predictable, consistent results.


This is actually what many pizza “experts” state - not sure if they know why, but it doens't matter, now you do 💪


By the way, in my opinion pre-heating for one hour could be a little overkill especially if you only have to bake just one pizza. So here’s what I suggest: turn on the oven, wait for the little control light to go off - usually 20 to 30 minutes.


Then wait another 10 minutes and you should be ready to bake.


Consider these numbers with a grain of salt, you need to put some work in and figure out exactly how your oven works


What about the baking time?


The precise answer should take into account the style of pizza, the dough, the procedure you follow, etc etc. Let me make things easier and define a starting point.


I will tell you about the baking times for the pizza I make, using my dough.


The oven temperature will be around 270° - 275°C (518° - 527°F) that is the max temperature my oven can reach.


The size is not too important, but the thickness is. I will consider a pizza stretched reasonably thin, let's say 2 or 3 millimetres in the middle, while the cornicione, will be definitely thicker - but it doesn’t really matter because it has no toppings so it’s easier to cook it fully.




All this considered, the baking time will be four, four and a half minutes.


I tested the very same dough in another oven, less powerful, at a temperature of around 220° Celsius. It took a bit longer than ten minutes.


Consider these as two extremes.


I know for a fact that ovens less powerful exist, but it seems to me that they are less common.

If you own of of those, the kind of pizza I’m talking about would be really hard to make but my high hydration pizza dough could be worth a shot.


By the way, the temperatures stamped on the panel of our ovens are usually approximations. I don’t think that they are too different from the reality but if you want to make sure, consider buying an infrared thermometer like the one I own [affiliate link].


What shelf?


Guess what? It depends!


Using an oven for the first time, assuming to bake straight on the rack with a baking sheet or some parchment paper on it, I would bake in the middle shelf.


This way, a similar amount of heat will come from above and below.


Once the pizza is ready, I would assess how well it is cooked and adjust accordingly next time, moving the rack up or down if the bake seems somehow off.


I would do the same if I wanted to use a baking stone or baking steel. Put them on the middle shelf while the oven pre-heats so they become nice and hot.


Since I mentioned stones & steels, I’ll give you my opinion: I prefer a baking steel over the stone, as I pointed out in this video.

This works fine when the oven has two heating elements, top AND bottom. But if the heat comes only from one side, you should consider moving your rack in the opposite direction, to find some kind of balance.


If your oven only radiates heat from the bottom and it has the upper grill/broiler then turn it on to try and find this balance.


This leads to another issue that may happen: when the cheese and/or the toppings are overcooked, if not burnt, before the bottom of the pizza is actually done. One of the common reasons is that the oven only has one heating element, the one on top.


So you should try baking your pizza on a lower shelf or even straight on the floor of the oven.


Ok, that's a wrap up! I think this article covers enough possibilities, but again, just let me know if I forgot something.


If you have found some value and you feel like supporting me, keep scrolling down and you will see several ways to pat my back!

Ciao, see you next time 🍕




 

Here's how you can support me!


🌾 You can simply buy me a bag of flour



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