Oven or Barbecue – Pizza Stones, Pizza Peels, Pizza Wheels.
We have a daughter who has excelled at pizza making. When she gets going, dinner is always fun. Now that the weather is warm, we are moving outside and claiming the barbecue as our pizza oven. Here are her secrets and tools.
Pizza stones and steels are the flat surfaces upon which you will cook your pie – they both work. Steels get hotter than stones, so the pizza cooks 30% faster, needs careful watching to avoid overcooking, and the crust will be crispier than on a stone. Cook’s Illustrated suggests preheating a pizza steel on a pizza stone to make multiple pies in your oven or barbecue. You cook the first pizza on the steel and when you put in the second pie, the stone will reheat the steel quickly.
Experts suggest use of a rectangular baking stone because it is usually thicker so provides more consistent heat and with its greater surface, it allows for more variation in the shape of the pizza.
This pizza stone is rated for 500-degree use and it has slightly raised feet to make it easy to pick up. Old Stone Rectangular Pizza Stone. $35.77
You can use a cookie sheet as a pizza steel, but it will be thinner and hold the heat less well than this pizza steel. Pizzacraft Rectangular Steel Baking Plate for Oven or BBQ Grill, 22” x 14”. $49.99
Pizza Peels (baking peels) should be at least 14” wide and have handles which are at least 8” long to keep the cook’s hands protected from the hot oven. You will use the peel to deliver the raw dough onto the pizza stone or steel (dough needs to slide off smoothly), slide it back under the cooking pizza to rotate the pie for even heat, and remove the finished pie. If you have room to store them, the ideal is to use a smooth wooden peel or a modern peel with a polymer surface to deliver the raw dough to the oven and then use a thin, metal peel to slide under the cooking pizza to rotate it and remove it. Cook’s Illustrated recommends this EXO Non-Stick Super Peel and transfer belt. Cherry $67. White Ash $62.00.
Cut the pizza like a pro. You have choices – the classic one-handed wheel, two handed wheel, scissor-style, sharp sided pie server or a long flat knife (which you probably already own). We like the OXO Good Grips 4-Inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter. $12.99.
Pizza cooks in ovens and barbecues at over 500 degrees. These Welding Gloves will keep your hands safe. $9.64/pair.
I love a good shortcut in the kitchen. We have a local pizzeria which will sell us fresh dough in a ball. ‘Store-bought’ pizza dough may not be quite like fresh, but it is easy and fast. The following are recommended by experts. Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough, Pillsbury Canned Classic Pizza Dough (Publix), Wholly Gluten-Free Pizza Dough (Whole Foods), and Whole Foods Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.
- use a hot oven
- remove dough from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking
- stretch (don’t roll) the dough
- use thin mozzarella slices to avoid a soggy pizza
- precook vegetables
- brush the edge of the crust with olive oil
- spin and elevate (turn the pie while cooking
- put pizza on a rack after cooking
- add the herbs at the end.
A friend suggested using cornmeal under the dough instead of flour to keep the dough loose.
Perfect Cauliflower Pizza Crust. Note: Whole Foods and Traders Joe’s have cauliflower rice in both the produce and frozen food sections, so you can skip several steps in this recipe.