by Jess M
I have long been making my own pizza at home, making my own crust and occasionally my own sauce. But then I cooked it like I thought everyone did: put it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. And it was fine. It was good and tasty. But it wasn’t anything particularly special. It still wasn’t quite worth going to the trouble to make instead of sending my husband to stop for pizza on his way home.
So I started reading about what makes pizza really good. And after good ingredients, the key to really great pizza is high, high heat. That’s why pizzas cooked in commercial ovens or wood-burning ovens are so good: they have been cooked at extremely high heat. And unfortunately our home ovens usually top out at about 500 degrees. So with this article from Serious Eats as my guide, I started toying around with my pizza cooking method.
Here is what I do:
- Start with a homemade crust, I like this simple one from Smitten Kitchen, but any will do. Roll out your crust and have your sauce and toppings ready, once you get started the pizza will cook very very quickly, in under 5 minutes.
- You’ll need a cast iron pan. I use a cast iron pizza pan (I have this one from Lodge Logic), but you can also use a 12-inch frying pan. Put the pan on the stove and heat it over high heat for 10-20 minutes, until it starts to smoke. Turn off the burner, and turn the broiler in your oven on high.
- Then, very carefully, lay your rolled-out dough on top of the hot pan and follow with your sauce and toppings. As you put on the sauce and cheese, the bottom of the crust has already started cooking. With the best oven mitts you have, put the pizza into the oven as close to the broiler element as possible and shut the door.
- After 45 seconds to 1 minute, open the oven and rotate your pizza 180 degrees. Cook for another 45 seconds to 1 minute and then check on it. If it’s not quite ready, check on it in 20-30 second increments, it will cook and also burn fast. When it’s crispy and bubbly and starting to brown on the tops of the cheese bubbles, you know it’s done.
Have you tried broiling your pizza? Or tried any other high heat methods?