1. The temperature
The oven temperature is the main parameter to consider . Different furnaces reach different temperatures and transmit the heat to the pizza in different ways: a domestic electric oven hardly reaches 250 degrees, while a wood-fired oven can exceed 500. Moreover in the dome of the ovens on an open flame (in addition to the wood there are even gas and hybrid) create warm air currents that arise from the flame and then spread from top to bottom, cooking the pizza a lot even above, lowering the cooking time which can be even a minute or so.
The humidity of the cooking chamber is important to prevent the dough from drying out too much, which could be dry after cooking. To avoid this you can use many tricks, for example, the use of water with a spray, or leave a pot of water in the corner of the electric oven, or a pass with a wet rag after moving the embers in the wood oven, a few minutes before baking.
3. The cooking time
Obviously, how much pizza is cooked depends on the type of pizza we are making and the oven we have. We mentioned the concise time of the wood-fired oven (less than two minutes), thanks to the very high temperatures it reaches. A gas oven can exceed the temperature of the electric oven, but usually not much, so the cooking of the pizza can take around 5 minutes. In the electric oven instead, the temperatures are lowered even more, especially if in the kitchen we have a slightly dated model, which disperses a lot of heat at the opening and struggles to return to the maximum temperature (230 – 250 degrees). Consequently, in these ovens, pizza cooking can even exceed 10 minutes.
4. The power supply
How much the pizza must cook depends on the temperature, and this depends on the oven, wood, gas, or electric supply. In our blog we talked about the differences between the various types of ovens and what has already been said about the temperature, time and humidity of the oven, we add that the wood gives the food fragrances impossible to imitate with the other ovens, giving an extra edge to our culinary creation.
5. The quality of the oven
Regardless of the type of power supply, the ovens can be very different in terms of construction quality and cooking capacity. Professional ovens reach higher temperatures (even electric ones), keep the temperature more constant and consume less (because they are always designed to work). Domestic ones, on the other hand, usually have limited performance and capacity, both due to the reduced needs of those who use them and to contain costs.
Plate tray VS: what changes?
In the first part of this article, we have already mentioned some important differences between the pizza-in-the-plate and the pizza-in-the-pan technique. Let’s look at this aspect in detail, because the two preparations can be similar in terms of ingredients and taste, but they are very different for the preparation method. We quickly summarize the two preparations explaining the differences that exist between them.
Pizza al Piatto
It can be made in all types of ovens, as long as they exceed at least 350 degrees. The high temperature, as we have said, lowers the cooking time a lot and therefore the pizza does not have time to dry too much, even if it is very thin. For this reason, and to make it easier to spread the dough, the pizza dish has a hydrated dough up to 60 – 65 %.
The dough recipe can do without sugar, which is not included in the official disciplinary of the Neapolitan pizza UNESCO heritage, because the flat pizza is a quick recipe and very often the dough is made a few hours before use, for example, because it is midsummer and it rises at a high ambient temperature.
The process of kneading the pizza on the plate involves various leavening phases: the first consists of one or two half-hour breaks before finishing kneading, to favor the creation of gluten. The second, called episode, is the phase in which we move the mass from where we kneaded to where we will make it rise altogether. Finally, the third is the phase of the starch, which takes place after dividing the leavened mass at least a couple of hours in the various cakes that will be our round pizzas. At this point, the leavening resumes, and after a few hours at room temperature, our balls will be doubled and ready to be used.
The preparation of the round pizza can be tricky the first few times, but with a little practice, it is possible to give a regular shape without too much effort. Remember that the dough should be spread with curved hands to mark the edges with the back and with circular movements in which they move away from each other, without ever touching the central point and the outermost part of the edge.
Pizza in the baking tin
Pizza in Roman pan or focaccia, are different types of pizza in many aspects from round pizza to shovel. The phases of manual preparation of the dough are similar, except for the quantity of sugar and the highest hydration. The use of stronger flours (even 0 instead of 00 is enough if you do not overdo it with yeast and rising time) will allow the pizza to have a strong gluten mesh and therefore to grow and cook well.
When finished kneading, the phases of betting, intaglio, and starch are, in theory, the same, but the movements that we will have to do for various reasons change. First of all, we will have to go and divide our dough according to the size of the trays (calculating a thickness of about half a centimeter for the area of the pan), forming larger loaves than the round pizza, therefore greater than 300 – 400 grams for the trays small of domestic ovens.
The preparation of the rectangular mixture is perhaps easier than the round one, but even this phase can hide pitfalls. We use fingertips to move mass by spreading it in both directions. It is important to use the flour to prevent the dough from sticking, but it is also necessary to shake it off carefully without turning out the dough, to avoid having the taste of the flour over the pizza. You need to place the dough lying on the greased pan and let it adhere well to the edges. If the dough is very elastic because it is still cold or not very mature and you can’t get it to stand on the corner, just wait a few minutes between each attempt, and you will see that you will succeed. At this point, it is important to let the dough rise again before cooking it, waiting at least half an hour. To prevent the dough from drying out, you can put the tomato for the red pizza pans and a light brush of oil on the white pizza pans.
The seasoning of the pizza to the cut is done in two or more stages, except in the cases of the pizza only tomato or focaccia with rosemary. This is because prolonged cooking times would burn the ingredients that do not bear too much heat for too long, for example the mozzarella which as soon as it has dried starts to scorch and therefore it should be put only the last two or three minutes, along with the other condiments that cook little (or preparations that you have pre-cooked separately).
Conclusion: problems and advice
We conclude this article by going to see what are the main problems and the most common mistakes that can be had in the preparation of pizza at home. In our discussion, we have already given several suggestions for both types of pizza, but it will be useful to summarize them and distinguish the two preparations based on the oven, to better concentrate on our initial question: how much should pizza be cooked?
If we have a wood or gas oven and we want to prepare some pizzas worthy of the Gulf of Naples, we have to consider that cooking is more difficult because it is very short and you cannot be distracted for a moment. The main tricks for a perfect blade cooking are:
- A very hot oven preheated several hours before and which has accumulated a lot of embers, which will maintain the temperature over time ;
- Temperature management as you work, adding pieces of wood that are getting smaller and smaller if the flame loses vigor, a complication not found in other ovens but necessary to obtain pizzas with an intoxicating scent given by the living flame and natural fumes;
- After moving the embers to one side, give a quick wipe with a rag wet only with water, to clean but above all to increase the humidity of the cooking chamber, as well as to avoid burning the first pizzas;
- Pay attention to the phases of the impaling and the bake, of the gestures that the early times could cause difficulties; it is necessary to make small and delicate but snappy movements, to make the pizza slide first on the blade and then from this on the oven surface;
- Balance the cooking of the various points of the pizza based on the distance from the flame and from the mouth of the oven, because each position has a different temperature that you will have to learn to know;
- Align the cooking of the lower and upper parts by moving the pizza or keeping it raised;
As for the preparation of pizza in a pan in an electric or gas oven, we summarize the suggestions for perfect cooking (thinking of a traditional kitchen oven not too new):
- Turn on the stove at least an hour before, to give the oven time to raise and stabilize the temperature;
- Use a refractory stone, which allows you to accumulate a lot of heat and will help your oven keep the temperature high;
- Use a pan that is not too thick, so that it heats up quickly in contact with the refractory stone, or on the bottom of the oven;
- Avoid opening the door too many times, every time you do it it is a disadvantage for cooking: try to do it only to bake at the beginning and to season and check below when you put the mozzarella and other seasonings;
- Adjust the kitchen by moving the pizza on the grill at the top of the oven, if it cooks too far below it;
We have seen many ways to prepare pizzas in a workmanlike manner, speaking of both pizza slices and flat pizza and seeing how much the pizza must cook in different types of oven. As the last tip, we tell you that practice and experience are worth a thousand words: you must try and try again, again and again, and the results you will get will give you great satisfaction.
Applying our suggestions, you will see that you will be able to churn out delicious, soft but fragrant pizzas, cooked to the right point and that will make you look great with your guests.