Pizza ovens, whether they are wood-fired, gas-burning or electric, bake at extremely hot temperatures. Many restaurant pizza ovens cook pizzas at temperatures ranging from 700 to 800 F, and backyard pizza ovens can easily maintain the minimum recommended temperature of 500 degrees to produce crispy, delicious pizza. The extreme temperatures of pizza ovens produce pizza with qualities that lower temperatures simply cannot mimic.
High oven temperatures quickly remove just enough moisture from the dough to produce a crust that is crispy but not too dry. Lower oven temperatures combined with longer baking times can dry out the crust too much and make it dense and chewy. The high temperature also adds a lightly charred flavor to the crust without burning it.
Heating the Stone
Pizzerias bake pizzas on baking tiles or pizza stones to transfer the heat from the pizza oven evenly to the pizza crust. The high temperature of a pizza oven heats the tile or stone more quickly than an oven with a lower temperature capacity, and the heated surface efficiently retains the heat, meaning the oven doesn't have to cycle on as often. When the tile or stone begins to lose heat, the high temperature of the pizza oven quickly reheats it.
The high temperature of a pizza oven ensures that the cheese melts evenly across the pizza as the crust bakes. Pizzas baked in lower temperatures often emerge from the oven with fully baked crusts and half-melted cheese. The high temperature of a pizza oven leaves the cheese bubbling and slightly browned, enhancing its flavor.
A pizza can be completely baked in an extremely hot pizza oven in as little as three minutes. This accelerated cooking time allows a pizzeria to bake more pizzas and give dine-in, carry-out and delivery customers fast service. The fast turnaround time of a hot pizza oven combined with efficient heat retention means that the pizzeria can cook several pizzas at a time.
- "Baking Illustrated"; America's Test Kitchen; 2004
- "Pizza: From Its Italian Origins to the Modern Table"; Rosario Buonassisi
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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