Getting that perfect pizza, with its signature chewy crust and perfectly melted cheese, usually calls for a specialized pizza oven. But what if you were told that you can achieve an almost similar result using your ordinary kitchen oven? Yes! All you need is to know the correct emulating steps and the right tools. This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of emulating a pizza oven using a regular kitchen oven.
Understanding the Power of a Pizza Oven
Before we delve into the emulation, it’s essential to understand why pizza ovens are exceptional. They provide extreme heat, averaging between 800°F-900°F, which gives pizza its unique characteristics. Moreover, pizza ovens promise to achieve a crisp crust, perfectly melted cheese, and uniformly cooked toppings, which regular ovens typically struggle to match.
With this knowledge, let’s explore some techniques and tools you can use to mimic a pizza oven.
Choose the Right Baking Equipment
Emulating a pizza oven starts with equipping your kitchen with the suitable baking tools. Here are two primary tools you will need:
1. Pizza Stone
Having a pizza stone is a must for any home chef that’s serious about making restaurant-quality pizza at home.
What is a Pizza Stone?
A pizza stone is a flat baking stone that absorbs heat from your oven and transfers it directly to your pizza dough. This can help achieve the crispy, blistered crust that is typical of pizzas from a pizza oven.
How to Use a Pizza Stone
To use it, preheat your stone in the oven at the highest temperature setting for about an hour. Then carefully transfer your rolled-out pizza onto the hot stone and bake.
2. Pizza Steel
While a stone is great, a pizza steel plate is even better.
What is Pizza Steel?
Pizza steel, like a pizza stone, is a flat cooking surface for making pizza. However, it heats up faster and holds heat longer than a stone, allowing for quicker cooking and more crispiness.
How to Use a Pizza Steel
Like the pizza stone, preheat your pizza steel at the highest temperature of your oven for approximately 1 hour. After heating, you can then place your pizza on it for baking.
Mimicking the High Temperatures of a Pizza Oven
The extreme heat in a pizza oven is challenging to replicate in a conventional kitchen oven. However, with preheating, you can get closer to the temperature needed.
Preheating Your Oven
Most home ovens can only reach up to 550°F on regular settings, which is considerably lower than the ideal pizza baking temperature. To circumvent this, preheat your oven for an hour before baking your pizza. This helps your pizza stone or steel reach a higher temperature, close to that of a pizza oven.
Another tactic is employing your oven’s broiler to provide a blast of direct heat on the top side of your pizza.
Utilizing the Broiler Method
To use this method, once your pizza is about halfway done cooking, turn on the broiler. This will caramelize the cheese and toppings, mimicking the fast, high-heat cooking of a pizza oven.
Rotating your Pizza
Unless you have a convection oven, chances are the heat in your oven doesn’t circulate evenly. Rotate your pizza 180 degrees halfway through cooking to ensure all areas get equal amounts of heat.
Although a conventional kitchen oven cannot fully replicate a professional pizza oven, with the right tools, methods, and a bit of preparation, you can come pretty close. Utilizing a pizza stone or steel, preheating your oven, and employing your oven’s broiler can mimic the extreme heat and uniform cooking a pizza oven offers. Start experimenting, and you’ll soon be turning out pizzas that rival your favorite pizzeria.