Pizza Walk With Me

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Turn That Dumpy Electric Oven into a Brick Oven

Dan TallaricoComment

Please pay no attention to that laval field in the middle of that pizza. That’s not what we’re here to discuss (I think that splotchiness is due to an excess amount of sauce, I’ll investigate more today). What is important is dat crust. Look at it! Charred yet flaky. Crunchy yet solid. It’s the outline, the pizza border signifying where this pizza’s domain begins an ends. It’s the type of barrier you see in your dreams or in a restaurant that’s home to a brick oven. But hey, I made this pizza in an electric oven thereby throwing the entire pizza-baking hierarchy out of whack. 

The pizza you see above is from Mercurio’s. I’ve included a photo of “true brick oven pizza” for crust reference. Not too far off. 

To achieve crispness, you gotta learn to embrace the broiler in your oven. Brick ovens cook pizzas between 900 and 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and most electric ovens won’t get hotter than 550 degrees. I’m sure that limit is the result of years of brick oven lobbyist in an effort to secure their domain, but those days are over. 

The broiler is the key to excess heat. Once the oven is raised to its max, you’ll need to open the door to trick the oven into thinking it is cooling off. Meanwhile, there should be a pizza stone hiding in the oven absorbing all the heat. It’ll remain piping hot while the ambient heat leaks out. Once the oven releases some heat (usually only 30 seconds) you can shut the door and turn the broiler on. I’m not sure of the science, but what you get is a pizza stone that exceeds the temperature limit.

Keeping the stone four inches from the broiler is important so that the entire production cooks in harmony. Let the pizza stone and broiler sit alone in the oven for 10 minutes, then you can put your dough/sauce/cheese/whatever in. 

It’s a novel approach to getting a different type of pizza out of your oven. You might have to mess around with the formula, but if your'e dying for that brick oven taste give this a shot. You probably won’t be disappointed. Who knows!