Too many pizzas

by Jon Sullivan - 2019-12-26

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After posting my pizza dough recipe I decided I really wanted to get the baking method dialed in. So dinner has been mostly pizza the last few weeks.

I'm not sure eating pizza (even homemade) most nights is the best diet. But it certainly has been delicious. I think I need more healthy food for a few days though. Maybe some salmon curry with mint chutney. Or more pizza.

The pizza cooking method perfection is eluding me. I prefer a pan style pizza, and enjoy American style over Neapolitan. I'm using a convection over which doesn't really get hot enough for a crispy pan style. My regular gas oven is crap, leaving the convection as what I have for baking. So I need to figure out how to get a perfect crust at 450 degrees. Which may literally be impossible. The breakpoint seems to actually be minimum 500 degrees which is just out of reach.

I've considered getting on of those pricey baking steel things, which would probably be very close. But they won't fit in my oven. The best I've come up with so far is (obviously) a pizza stone, but that still only works if I preheat it for an hour or more. I've tried lots of other methods as well. I've toyed with the obviously dumb idea of getting an $800 counter-top pizza oven. Just no. I've read about building the pizza in a screaming hot cast iron pan, but I already have enough holes burned through my skin, so again, no.

As a scientist I know the perfect solution : Preheated 1/2' steel sheet, cook in steel pan, 7 minute convection cook time. But all steel sheets I can find are too big.

The stone makes delicious pizza, but I want to do better. To be clear, I'm getting way too picky about this. I'm getting 9/10 already, and complaining it's not 10/10. And I'm not setting the bar by what I'd get out of a real commercial or wood fired pizza oven. I know that's just not a realistic goal. But if there is a way, I'll find it. Options I'm looking at :

  • - Thicker pizza stone, and more preheat time. I suspect this is how it will end up.
  • - Going halvies with the landlord on a really good oven. This seems stupid to me. And I'm sure the landlord will think it's stupid too. Because it's stupid.
  • - Finding a baking steel that fits. Surely someone will sell me a quarter inch piece of stainless steel, 12.5' x 14'.
  • - Hybrid method. Build pie in a pan. Put the pan on a full-on gas stove-top burner for a few minutes. Then transfer to convection oven. So crazy it might work.
  • - Pre-bake in a pan without toppings, add toppings, finish in the oven. Which is obviously a pain in the ass. And seems prone to burning.

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