When I put my pizza in the hot oven, the top crust gets blackened, but the bottom crust doesn't really cook enough. I want the bottom crust, the part that is underneath the cheese and tomato sauce, I'd like that to cook well and the very bottom of the crust to be CRUSTY. It's always too limp for me and even a little raw, but if I keep it in the oven longer, the top gets black and is not good.
In general, getting a crispy bottom crust for home made pizza with typical home ovens can be very, very challenging, as home ovens do not generally get much hotter than 500-550 F (260-285 C).
In side the home oven, you have several options to improve your crust:
- Use a pizza stone
- Use a "pizza steel", essentially a slab of food grade steel used much the same way a pizza stone is used. Kenji alt of Serious Eats rates this very highly.
In either case, you pre-heat your oven to its maximum temperature with the stone or steel in it, and then slide the pizza (from a peel) onto the preheated surface. The absorbed heat in the stone or steel helps cook and crisp your bottom crust.
If you have a grill, you can also make grilled pizza outside.
Taking it even further, you can buy accessories for some grills that turn them into improvised pizza ovens.
Lastly, there are other styles of pizza where you allow the crust to essentially fry in olive oil in the bottom of the pan, to crisp up. This is a very different pizza experience, but can be hugely enjoyable.
This is a common problem with residential ovens and pizza.
One thing you can try is double baking it:
- Spread a not-too-thick layer of pizza sauce on your dough and stick it in the oven.
- After a few minutes, pull it out and put the rest of the toppings on.
You can also try moving the pizza tray to lowest rack in the oven. That way the heat from the bottom element dominates and helps making the pizza crust crispier. Be careful though, it may turn black and you wouldn't even know it until it's too late!
If you are overloading the pizza with wet ingredients (sauce, cheese, etc) then they are going to soak and fight making the bottom crispier, try using thicker sauces and less cheese. It helps to run the oven as hot as it goes (usually 550°F).
You may also want to experiment with placing an inverted lasagna tray over the pizza for the first 10 minutes or so to prevent the top from going black.
Finally, a pizza stone or steel can help but only if you're making one pizza (per hour or so) and you'll have to leave them in the top rack under the broiler for quite some time to store enough heat to make your dough crispy.
I've found that the following keep my pizza dough crispy:
Preheat the oven as high as it'll go with the pizza stone (or, if you don't have one, an upside-down cookie sheet, but it might warp the cookie sheet) in it for about a half hour
Drain the tomatoes (if using canned) for the sauce for as long as humanly possible. Then add garlic, red pepper, salt, whatever, blend it - but don't cook it, and don't get much liquid in it.
Don't use bufala mozzarella. It's too wet. Use aged cheeses.
Don't put too much on your pizza. If you're using things like mushrooms, saute them briefly to dry them out a tiny bit.
Make sure your dough is thin enough.
Lightly coat a piece of parchment paper with cornmeal or semolina flour. Put your pizza dough on that. Add the toppings, drizzle with a little olive oil, and then when it's ready, put the whole thing - paper included - on the pizza stone. Cook 10-15 minutes. It hasn't failed me yet.
Very simple! First you pre-heat your oven, 475-500 degrees. Once it is heated, you take your pizza pan, spray it with some non-stick cooking spray, then spread your dough out onto your pizza pan. *If after you spread your dough out on the pan, you then spray your pizza dough with the same non-stick cooking spray, that will help seal the dough, so that your sauce & cheese don't make it soggy. Cook your pizza dough for 6-7 min. depending on the heat of your oven, you may want to keep an eye on it. Take it out and immediately spread your sauce, toppings etc, and bake for 10-?? minutes, again depending on the oven heat, and desired "doneness".
I have worked on getting my crust really crispy and have found the following steps have really worked. Just an FYI, I use a pizza stone so my tip assumes you have a pizza stone. I put the pizza stone on the middle rack of my oven.
Preheat your oven with the pizza stone inside the oven to the highest temperature it goes up to (mine reaches 525F). When it is done preheating, let the pizza stone sit in the hot oven for 45 minutes to an hour. You want the pizza stone to be as hot as possible before putting the pizza in.
Roll the dough out as thin as possible. I use a rolling pin to ensure the dough is thin and does not break in the middle.
Before putting anything on the crust (sauce, cheese, toppings), cook the crust in the oven for 3-4 minutes. This will limit the amount of moisture on the crust allowing it to get a little more crispy. Also, since traditional ovens do not get as hot as pizza ovens, the dough needs more time to get crispy.
Take the crust out of the oven and add the sauce, cheese, and toppings to the crust. Put the pizza back in the oven, cook for 3-4 minutes, turn the pizza 180 degrees, and cook another 3-4 minutes.
This should really crisp up your pizza!!!
The ONLY way is to use a pizza stone, the thicker the better. Let the oven heat up (as high as it will go) with the stone in it and then wait another 30-60 min for the stone to fully absorb the heat around it. If you can find some, get something called Pizza Crisp (google it) Pull your stone out, toss some pizza crispy down on it and put your already made pizza on top of it. Put the stone back in the oven. The pizza crisp actually heats up and "explodes" leaving tiny pockets and raising the dough up a little which aids in the crisping process. You can achieve the same effect with some short grain rices. There will be tiny ashes left under your crust but they just fall away after you slice and grab your pieces of pizza. I've owned and operated a pizza place for over 15yrs, so I guess my answer should have been ….call a pizza place.
Most of the cooking method solutions have been covered (i.e. pre-heated pizza stone). One thing I'd like to add, is that you can get a crispier crust by using bread flour to make the dough, due to it's higher gluten content. The dough will be more elastic, so you'll have to spend a bit more time rolling it to get it thin, but it's worth it.
I've always found pizza stones awkward, and I've never developed the skill for transferring a raw pizza from peel to stone. Now I use the method taught by Chef John. Chef John's Pizza He prepares the pizza on an aluminum sheet pan, and cooks it in a 450 F oven. He starts it on the floor of the oven, not the lowest rack. After 5 minutes there, he moves it up to the middle rack for about 5 more.
He does this in a gas oven. I do it in an electric oven, and it works great. I rest the steel rack on the heating elements, and the sheet pan on the rack. I like a little bit of golden brown on the underside of my pizza, and this does it. No more spilling cornmeal all over the oven, or accidentally making my pizza into a calzone. You can adjust the top vs. bottom doneness by the relative time on the oven floor vs. the middle rack.
He uses the dough recipe from W. Puck.