When making a new dish, it's hard not to use other tricks from different recipes. Regarding pizza, you might have the idea of prebaking the crust to ensure everything comes out well. Is it a good idea? If that's your concern, we have the answer!
It depends on the recipe that you're following. If it calls for a prebaked pizza crust, do it before applying the toppings. Otherwise, it's not necessary to prebake the crust. As long as you don't overload the pizza with toppings, it should all cook evenly.
Precooking an ingredient is a step to make sure the dish cooks evenly. It's a method that some use for other meals. Can it work for pizza? Yes, but we can also use tips to prevent the pizza from coming out unevenly cooked! If you'd like to learn tips on making pizza, keep reading ahead.
What's the Purpose of Prebaking?
Precooking, also known as par-baking, is baking an ingredient before filling it with other items. You'll usually see this trick in use for baking pies. There are two reasons why people go with this method.
The first reason is to ensure a crisp crust before adding the rest of the ingredients. In some cases, the other ingredients would cook faster than the crust. As a result, they'd end up burned.
Thus, prebaking is the go-to solution. This way, you ensure the filling and the crust cook at a similar rate. The other reason to prebake a crust would relate to the filling. If it doesn't require cooking, you'd have to bake the crust and fill it in later to finish the pie.
Does It Matter for Pizzas?
Now, that brings us to pizzas. Do you need to prebake them? The answer isn't as straightforward as you'd think. It depends. Some recipes online will make it a requirement to prebake the crust.
Others would suggest not doing it as long as you meet two conditions. The first is to use the correct temperature. Cooking pizza at home means you'd have to use the oven at 475 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
The second condition is to avoid overloading the pizza with toppings. It's a mistake many make. If you overload the pizza, the toppings will weigh down the crust. As a result, it won't bake properly.
Limit yourself to three toppings if you're planning to use them. That's without including the cheese. Whatever toppings you choose, make sure not to pile them on there.
Put these tips into practice, and the pizza should cook evenly. Thus, you wouldn't need to prebake the crust. All in all, prebaking is optional.
If it's a preventative measure to make sure everything turns out well, do it. The same thought process goes if the recipe calls for prebaking. Otherwise, it won't make or break your pizza if you opt not to do it. It all depends on the situation.
What Happens if You Overload Pizza?
So, what happens if you don't follow the tips described above? Let's say you overload the pizza with your favorite toppings. How badly would it affect the experience?
Luckily enough, we have one account of such a case. Though, it happened at a pizzeria instead of home. The worker at the pizzeria had placed a load of portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, and a large amount of feta. He placed the pizza into the pizza oven. The result was undesirable, to say the least.
The toppings were undercooked. In addition, the dough was gummy and soggy. That's not to mention the center, which was lukewarm.
As you can see, this mistake is unavoidable. Even pizza ovens that reach temperatures higher than the one you have at home can't escape it. Thus, it drives the point home.
If it can happen with a dedicated pizza oven, imagine doing the same at home. You'll most likely get the same result (or worse).
What Happens if You Do Not PreBake Pizza Dough?
Now that we know that prebaking is optional, what happens if you don't prebake the crust? That result would depend on your experience with making pizzas.
Is it your first time? If so, you'll likely make a few mistakes. The crust might come out undercooked. Or, maybe the toppings will come out burnt. The reverse could happen too.
Regardless, it isn't a necessity to prebake the pizza dough. Does that mean you shouldn't do it? If you feel it will help you create a decent first pizza, it could be worth a shot.
Some pizza purists will tell you not to do it. But what matters most is seeing what works best for you. Sometimes we may not have all the tools necessary to bake a pizza.
Thus, we'd have to adapt to the situation. Try making a pizza both ways, one with a prebaked crust and one cooked together with the toppings. See what works best.
At What Temperature Should You PreCook Pizza Dough?
If you decide to give prebaking a try, you'd need to know the temperature to do so. To prebake the pizza dough, you will need to turn the oven up to 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The platform you use will depend on your situation.
If you have a pizza pan, prebake the dough on it. Otherwise, some have gotten creative enough to use an upside-down baking sheet. Let it sit in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Then, take it out.
At this point, you're free to place your toppings and bake the pizza a final time.
How Do You Make Pizza Crust Crispy in the Oven?
Working with a home oven means you're working with limitations. Thus, it's no surprise that it adds difficulty to making the crispy pizza you crave. What are some tips that can help us achieve that crispy crust despite the limitations?
The first would be to use the reminders mentioned earlier. Use the correct temperature and don't overload the pizza with toppings. Either follow the instructions of the recipe you're using or cook the pizza at 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Secondly, you will need the help of some tools. A pizza stone or pizza steel can help you achieve the texture you want.
An essential step you can't skip is preheating the pizza stone or steel. All you have to do is turn your oven on at maximum temperature with this tool inside. In general, it will take 45 minutes to preheat it.
After this period, slide the pizza onto the stone/steel using a pizza peel. The additional heat from a preheated surface helps guarantee your pizza comes out cooked evenly.
The problem with dough is how sticky it can get. So, if you need help transferring the dough to the steel seamlessly, you can use cornmeal on the pizza peel before you mold the dough into shape. Some of the cornmeal will make its way into the steel.
As a result, it does add a bit more crunch to the pizza. If you hate cornmeal, semolina and flour are alternatives you can use. As a last resort, it might make sense to consider making a style of pizza.
Some recipes will require frying the crust with olive oil in the bottom of the pan. This way, the crust crisps better than traditional ways of making pizza. It's a different way of making it. However, it could be worth a try if you're big on crispiness.
Lastly, deciding between getting a pizza stone or steel can be difficult. A pizza steel is the best choice when working with a home oven. It's more thermally conductive.
How Thick Should Pizza Dough Be Before Baking?
The thickness of the dough before baking depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you're trying to achieve a thin crust, a 1/2 centimeter of thickness should do well. Thicker crusts will require a dough thickness of a centimeter or more.
Why Is My Pizza Soggy in the Middle?
While attempting to make a pizza, the middle might come out soggy. There's no straightforward answer to why this happens. It depends on what you were doing.
As mentioned, overloading the pizza with toppings can prevent the center from cooking properly. If that isn't the case, it might be the cheese you're using. For pizzas in general, you'll want to use low-moisture cheese. Cheddar and low-moisture mozzarella are good choices.
Here's a video explaining why low-moisture cheese is better:
Aside from that, the other factors that could make the middle soggy are:
- Cooked without a pizza steel or stone
- Used a watery sauce
- The base was too thick
- Pizza wasn't cooked long enough
Wrapping It Up
Prebaking might seem like a good solution when you want to guarantee a dish cooks evenly. As we've learned, prebaking a pizza crust is optional. Still, it doesn't hurt to try. It's all up to you to determine what works best!
Before you go, do you have other pizza concerns? What about toppings? Do they belong on top or under the cheese? To find out the answer, check out this post:
Will greasing a pizza tray help with preparing a pizza? We have the answer! For more information, check out this post: