The crust. The perfect sought after crust. Crispy but not too crispy. Soft but not too soft. Crispy and soft? Yikes. Pizza. Homemade delicious pizza. I love to make homemade pizza. It’s always an adventure. The ingredient possibilities are endless. The crust, however, always stresses me out a little. On a recent episode of MasterChef, the wannabe MasterChefs had to use a pizza stone for their challenge. It had me thinking about pizza pans vs. pizza stones. So I started researching.
- Traditional pizza pan– You can buy traditional pizza pans in stainless steel or hard anodized aluminum. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if you can’t resist using a metal pizza cutter, do not buy the hard anodized non-stick. If you buy the hard anodized non stick, you really need to get a non-stick pizza cutter (which works very well- I have a Kenmore one that I love). Traditional metal pizza pans can be as cheap as $4.99 and go as high as $50 (which, quite honestly, seems insane).
- Pizza Crisper – The perforated bottom of a pizza crisper pan allows maximum heat to get to the bottom of the pan while allowing air to circulate and steam to escape, so pizza browns on the bottom and prevent a soggy crust. Use this type of pan if you really like a crispy crust. Bed Bath and Beyond carries the AirBake Ultra Insulated pan for $9.99. Amazon.com also has a great pan, the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic pan for $13.95.
- Pizza Grill Pan-This seems to be the latest trend in grilling. With the thought being that anything and everything can be prepared on a grill. Personally, I have not tried this technique, although I am intrigued. If any of you have tried this, please leave your feedback in the comments section. Pans you like? How did the crust turn out?
- Pizza Stone– While slightly more complicated to use, I highly recommend a pizza stone. If you want a perfect crust every time, use this. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Perfect. To begin with, never put a pizza stone in a hot oven, it will shatter. You need to place your stone in a cold oven and then turn the oven on. This allows the stone to heat to an even all over temperature. Please note that traditional oven mitts will not withstand the heat of the stone. You can slide your oven rack out in order to place your pizza on the stone but do NOT touch the stone with the oven mitts. Another option is to buy special tools that are made for pizza stones. Let your stone come back to room temperature naturally. Do not let a hot stone come in contact with cold water. Side note-it is important to season (or oil) your stone frequently. You can find pizza stones at most major retailers. Target carries the Chefmate pizza stone for $29.99. Although I have not personally used it, I have heard very good things about the Pampered Chef Pizza Stone which sells for about $32.00 (the large round stone w/handles).
Hope this helps you make THE perfect crust. Now on to my quest for the perfect pizza dough recipe.
Happy pizza making!