There’s nothing better than eating a handmade pizza in your own garden but there’s nothing more annoying than a burnt pizza. If you’re just starting out making your own pizzas then you may be wondering how you can avoid a burnt pizza base when the topping is still uncooked.
A burnt pizza base is usually caused by the temperature underneath the pizza being too hot along with a number of other factors which are listed below.
Why Is My Pizza Base Burning?
There are a number of other reasons that can also cause a burnt pizza base including having too much flour on the pizza base, using too much sugar, or not rotating it enough. Below we’ll cover each of them in turn and give you some ways you can solve the problem.
1) Monitor the Pizza Stone Temperature
The temperature of your pizza stone and pizza oven is of great importance when it comes to cooking or burning your pizza base. Ideally, the temperature should be somewhere around 400 degrees centigrade.
Anywhere higher than this for a prolonged period of time and you will be left with a burnt pizza. Much lower will mean that your pizza will fail to cook properly.
To achieve the correct temperature you must monitor the temperature of the pizza stone which is on the floor of the pizza oven. In order to do this, you will need a thermometer and the best sort to get is an infrared gun. One of the best-infrared thermometers on the market and our thermometer of choice is the Ooni Infrared Gun.
2) Rotate the Pizza
Turning your pizza is one of the key points to cooking a pizza without burning the base. Each part of the pizza oven will heat to a slightly different temperature so leaving the pizza in one place will mean parts will cook quicker than others.
The easiest way to turn a pizza is by using a turning peel. Although you can use your normal peel, a pizza turning peel is much easier as it has been specifically designed for this purpose in mind. Don’t forget to try and keep your pizza in the same location once you have turned it so you get an even bake.
After your pizza has been in the oven for 10-20 seconds you’ll need to start to turn it. Ideally, try and turn it a quarter of a turn every 5-10 seconds or so to ensure your base doesn’t cook too quickly and then burn.
3) Adjust Cooking Times and Temperatures
Not all types of pizza will cook at the same temperature and at the same time. You will need to adjust the temperature slightly and will also have to cook some pizzas for a longer period of time than others.
Obviously, it is more difficult to adjust the temperature of a wood-fired pizza oven but you can adjust the amount of fuel you use to achieve this. You may also need to rely on turning it more often.
4) Thick or Thin Base
Don’t forget that along with the cooking time and temperature, you’ll need to think very carefully about the thickness of your pizza base. A thin base will cook quicker than a thick deep pan base so again you’ll need to adjust the temperature and time you leave your pizza in the oven.
5) Too Much Flour On Your Peel
If you are one that likes to spread lots of flour on your pizza peel before you shove the pizza in the oven, you may frequently suffer from burnt pizzas.
This is because flour is a dry ingredient and as such it will burn very easily leaving burnt deposits not only on your pizza but also on your stone.
If you insist on using flour, either use it sparingly or use a perforated pizza peel and give it a shake before you slide your pizza into the oven.
The other option open to you is to use semolina. Semolina will help stop your pizza from sticking to the peel but is also less likely to burn. However, again please use sparingly!
6) Too Much Sugar in the Dough
Some pizza dough recipes use sugar in order to help the crust brown. The problem with sugar is
that it can burn at higher temperatures causing your base to be burnt.
If you are cooking in a pizza oven that uses high temperatures we would always suggest you find an alternative recipe that does not use sugar.
7) Too Much Oil in the Dough
Many pizza dough recipes say to add oil into the mix. Now although oil can help produce a nice base, it causes the dough to cook quicker.
When using a pizza oven the oil will quite often cause the base to burn quicker which is something that you really don’t want. When the base cooks quicker than the topping, you either end up with a burnt pizza base or uncooked toppings!
8) Cooking with Cold Pizza Dough
Pizza dough should always be taken out of the fridge and left at room temperature for at least 2 hours before cooking.
The reason for allowing it to warm up is that when the dough is cold and then exposed to high heat such as in a pizza oven, the starch in the dough will burn quickly.
9) The Wrong FLour
If you want pizzeria quality food you need to use quality 00 flour. This is because 00 flour is much better for pizzas and is less prone to burning than standard flour. You can read more about What is 00 Flour and Why Use It? in our article.
Now we’ve covered some of the main points to consider to stop burnt pizza, we hope you find that you don’t burn as many the next time your cook your pizza.
The best way for you to learn is to try it yourself so get your pizza oven out, make some different types of pizza, and experiment with cooking them.