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Convection for Crisp Crusted Pizza

Freshly baked crisp crusted pizza with perfectly melted cheese enhanced with savory toppings is a taste sensation but one that can be challenging to perfect in a home oven. The key to success in baking the perfect crust is a consistent powerful heat source and your convection oven may have just the tools you need.

Creating the perfect environment in your oven can be enhanced by using a pizza stone or baking steel, but success also depends on choosing the right convection mode.

Convection for Proofing Pizza Dough

Great pizza begins of course with a good crust and pizza dough is perhaps one of the easiest dough's to prepare. Once the dough is mixed and ready for proofing it is set aside for the first rising and the perfect environment for proofing the dough is your convection or steam oven.

In the Proof mode the ambient air in the oven is circulated by the convection fan and the temperature remains at a consistent temperature of approximately 100F. The advantage of proofing in a steam oven is of course added humidity which aids in activating the yeast. When proofing in your oven the dough does not need to be covered.

Once the dough is punched down it goes back into the oven for a second rising then it is time to prepare the dough for baking.

How to Create the Ideal Oven Environment for Baking Pizza in Convection

Whether you are baking pizza with dough made from scratch or using a store bought dough, planning the timing is key. Preparing and proofing a homemade dough takes approximately 2 hours and bringing a store bought fresh dough to baking temperature can also take 2 hours as it is kept so cold.

Once the second rising is complete the oven can be heated to bake the pizza. First arrange the oven racks placing one rack on the bottom rack position unless your oven user guide recommends a different rack position. Definitely use an extension rack if your oven is equipped with one and place a baking stone or steel on that rack. Never place the stone or steel on the floor of the oven, always use the oven rack. For ease of handling the pizza it can help to remove the other oven racks.

Some ovens feature a Pizza mode and while that mode may be good for baking frozen prepared pizza, choosing a mode that has more intense heat will give the best results when baking fresh pizza. The Convection Roast, Convection Bake or Turbo mode, if your oven features one, are the best choices for baking pizza. In these modes the direct heat from the bottom heating element will ensure the stone or steel is thoroughly heated while the circulating heat ensures even cooking. Always choose the highest oven temperature to heat the oven for baking pizza.

Gas ovens provide an ideal environment for baking pizza and breads, as the heated moving air creates a natural convection that is not as drying as an electric oven. The Bake mode in a gas oven gives great results although if your oven has a Convection option that would be ideal for baking thicker crust pizza.

An electric oven with a concealed bake element can take approximately 20 minutes to come to temperature for baking the pizza while a gas oven may come to temperature slightly faster, the hotter the oven and the baking stone or steel are, the better the result will be.

The great thing about baking pizza is of course that each pizza cooks so quickly, in 6 - 8 minutes you can be enjoying a delicious freshly baked pizza customized to your liking. Then, you can bake another one or maybe bake some bread or a rustic fruit tart on that nicely heated stone. Remember when it comes to cleaning your pizza stone it should never be cleaned with water, any baking debris can be removed with a wire grill brush.

Pork shoulder roast is a versatile cut of meat that can be braised or slowly roasted but it is also delicious when filled with a savory stuffing and roasted. One of the best things about roasting a stuffed pork roast in convection is that you can also cook the side dishes at the same time. Check out my next post to learn more.

Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

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