Pizza Making Hints and Tips
Learn how to make perfect pizza with our helpful guides to make homemade pizza and pizza dough at home. We have gathered many great hints and tips to teach you to make amazing homemade pizzas! What is a dough docker and what is a pizza peel? All these are items that are used when making pizza.
Learn about the History and Legends of Pizza.
How To Use Pizza Stone – How To Use Unglazed Tiles – How To Clean Pizza Stones
Pizza Stones – How To Use Pizza Stones:
A baking or Pizza Stone, you can find one on Amazon, should be placed on a oven shelf and preheated with the oven. Preheat the stone to the temperature you will be cooking the pizza at BEFORE you put the pizza dough on the stone. Pizza stones need at least 20 minutes to heat up fully. Once preheated, the stone evenly transfers intense heat to the food being cooked, ensuring a particularly crisply baked base. NEVER put a cold stone in your fully heated oven unless you want it to crack.
I have a large stone that fits on oven rack in my oven. Either this stone or some unglazed terra cotta tiles are usually in my oven most of the time as they are also great for bread baking. Casserole dishes can also be set on top of the stone.
Linda’s Comments: As to if it might crack, this I do not know, as I have never had it happen. I always place the cold pizza stone in a cold oven. I then turn on the oven to preheat oven and stone. Once the stone is hot, I do not remove it from the oven. I place my prepared pizza on the hot stone in the oven.
How To Clean Pizza Stones: Think of your pizza baking stone as a sponge; it will soak up everything put on it. These “stones” are actually molded sand, tightly compacted under high pressure. Like sand on the beach, they will suck in any liquid exposed to the surface. Anything else in the water – including soap – goes right into the stone. Manufacturers warn you to use only clear, plain water to clean a baking stone.
First, completely submerge your baking stone in warm, clear, plain water for 15-20 minutes. This should thoroughly saturate the stone with clean water and dilute the soap residue. Next, remove the stone from the water and place it on a pie cooling rack on your kitchen counter. Allow the stone to dry completely overnight.
Repeat the same soaking and drying process five or six nights in a row. After the last round, bake some pizza dough on the stone. If the pizza stone still smells, I’m afraid your stone is destined for the trash.
How To Use Unglazed Terra Cotta Tiles:
I, personally use these tiles all the time in my oven. You must make sure that they are “unglazed” tiles only. They are very cheap to buy (You can find them at any hardware/home store. I buy them at my local Home Depot). I even leave them in my oven when using the self-cleaning cycle. I bought enough to line the bottom shelf of my oven. Most of the time, I just leave them in the oven all the time as these tiles don’t effect the oven’s performance and are great to help stabilize the heat when cooking or baking.
Hints from Shelley Booth of Phoeniz, AZ: For bread and pizza baking, I use inexpensive unglazed terra cotta tiles. From experience as a potter I know that terra cotta is food safe when unglazed and not for storing liquid. Terra cotta in general is fired at a lower temperature when not glazed and has not vitrified, thus it is porous, which makes it ideal to use as plant pots but not for liquid storage.
I preheat the oven for one hour, tiles on lower rack, where it stays unless something bulky is baked. Dust the tiles with cornmeal and slide the pizza skin or bread and bake until done. I often prebake the pizza skin to a point where the skin is done and just starting to brown. Cool and then add whatever desired and baked again until brown and cheese bubbly.
Another thought, when baking anything I will put the container on the preheated tiles. The concept behind this that ovens, especially electric cycle on and off in order to maintain the set cooking temperature without spiking. This result in a variable oven temperature and when baking bread this could effect the end product. The tiles store heat and thus help maintain a consistent temperature. A gas oven, which I use, does the same cycling but not as often and maintains the temp profile better.
Thin pizza crusts (known as cracker dough) usually needs to be well docked to help control blistering and bubble formation during baking. This just means to prick it all over the middle part (not the edges) so that it doesn’t inflate. Either use a Dough Docker, you can find one on Amazon or use a fork to prick the dough thoroughly. In a home setting, it is also common to use dough dockers if the pizza dough is to be pre-baked or par-baked before finishing. That applies mostly to cracker style pizzas.
Also known as a pizza shovel. Pizza Peels, you can find one on Amazon are a long-handled, wide wooden or metal spatula-like implement that slides quickly and easily under the pizza, keeping hands safely out of the fiery oven. It is used for moving pizzas to and from an oven. Sprinkle cornmeal all over the surface of a baker’s or pizza peel before using.
Pizza Cutters/Pizza Wheels:
A good Pizza Cutter or Pizza Wheel, you can find one on Amazon, will save you time when cutting your pizza into slices. The use of a pizza cutter instead of a sharp knife avoids the dislodging of loose toppings through the back-and-forth motion of the blade typical of a knife. Pizza cutters press their blade down vertically instead.
A helpful hint is to put a piece of parchment paper on the peel instead of using cornmeal. I place the rolled-out pizza dough on the parchment paper and then add the toppings. The parchment goes into the oven with the pizza. This makes it easier to slide the pizza off the peel and onto the baking stone. If you don’t have a peel, an upside-down cookie sheet will do if you use parchment paper. Just slide the pizza onto the stone with the paper.
Does pizza have to be a circle? – You can make them triangular, square, diamond, or anything else you can imagine. Just change the shape of your pan to the shape of a crust that fits your imagination.