(Please excuse this question from someone who doesn't make their own pizza...)

I have a thawed (originally frozen-bought) pizza of about 25.5cm diameter, a microwave, and a convection toaster-oven, whose internal space' dimensions are 38cm x 30cm x 23cm WxDxH. The pizza is neither super-thick nor super-thin.

When I heat my pizza in the convection oven, I can't the different parts to be done simultaneously: Either the surrounding crust has its brown color slightly deepening, so it's a bit toastier than originally but not totally dry - buth then the middle is still barely warm and very much liquid-laden; or the surrounding crust has blackened, charred, and inedible while the middle is just about properly done.

You might be wondering what temperature I'm using. Well, it's 180 degrees celsius or so, but actually I have no idea what to set it to. I was wondering perhaps playing with this setting would help, but I don't even know whether to increase or decrease it.

  • Just to be clear, are you heating a previously cooked delivery pizza, a previously cooked frozen pizza from the grocery store or never before cooked frozen pizza from the grocery store? – Ross Ridge Dec 31 '17 at 17:46
  • @RossRidge: Bought frozen from a store. Edited to clarify that. – einpoklum Dec 31 '17 at 20:46
  • If it's never been cooked before (eg. the cheese has never been melted) you just need to follow the instructions on the box. – Ross Ridge Dec 31 '17 at 21:24
  • @RossRidge: That's what I did, actually. That didn't even properly get the crust done. The box is fake news! – einpoklum Dec 31 '17 at 21:34

The key here is that you said you’ve thawed the pizza. Frozen pizzas are designed to be baked from frozen. The instructions on the box should reflect this.

  • But wouldn't doing so only excerbate the problem? I mean, the edges have less water content, so they would take less time to defrost, while the middle would take even more time to defrost and evaporate the water. I mean, I could try it, but what's the rationale here? – einpoklum Jan 2 '18 at 9:32
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    @einpoklum When baking from frozen, the water in the ice evaporates as it melts, which allows the crust to crisp and the cheese to melt, leaving you with a fully cooked, delicious pizza. However, if you thaw the pizza first, the water from all the melted ice soaks into the pizza itself. That means that when you bake it, you have to remove water from a soggy pizza, which is much harder to do than simply melting the ice in an environment hot enough to evaporate the resulting water almost immediately. Starting with a soggy pizza, you'll never get the entire thing crisp before something burns. – senschen Jan 2 '18 at 12:51
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    It usually doesn't help to second-guess what food manufacturers tell you about their products. Modern industrially prepared food is highly engineered and they know exactly what works for their products, and have invested time in writing simple instructions for user-friendly processes (sometimes even to create the products in such ways that they are suitable for these user-friendly processes). You can still try some variations out of curiosity, but if they don't work out, sticking to the original instructions is the way to go. – rumtscho Jan 2 '18 at 14:37

How big is the pizza in relation to the toaster-oven? If it takes up most of the interior area I could see this possibly happening. Have you considered cutting the pizza into smaller dimensions to see if you get a more even cook?

  • I've edited my question with the oven dimensions and corrected the pizza's diameter. I haven't considered cutting it up before because it seems it's mostly the crust-vs-filling difference, and because of aesthetics. – einpoklum Dec 31 '17 at 16:02
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    A little bit of fussy work (as Cooks Illustrated likes to say), but have you considered forming a protective "collar" of tin-foil to put around the perimeter and remove it partway through cooking? – Lorel C. Dec 31 '17 at 17:30
  • @LorelC.: No, but you could make that an answer I suppose. – einpoklum Jan 2 '18 at 9:33

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