What is the best temperature for pizza baking? Well, this can be a loaded question depending on who you ask. That being said I always feel that any pizza is better than no pizza. Here are some observations based on using the same dough(which is a mixture of semolina and flour) baked in the same revolving brick oven at several different temperatures.
First: we baked at about 650 which takes about 4 minutes and allows the top of the pizza adequate time to dry while the dough has time to set up and bake slow and even. This allows for a very consistent crust with a chewy texture. A softer consistency for your outer crust with a nice bottom cook, similar to the smooth New York Style type of pizza .New York is usually baked in the 500-600 degree range. This temperature is ideal for heavy toppings , multiple toppings or heavy sauce pies since it allows for drying of the extra moisture associated with this type of pie.
New York Style Brick Oven Pizza
Second: We baked at our favorite temperature of about 770 degrees which takes about 2 and a half to 3 minutes bake time for a small standard pizza (12” 9 oz dough ball). This happens to be our choice for what we call a New York style Brick Oven Pizza. New York Style Brick oven pizza is crispy and can be picked up by the slice . At this temperature your getting a consistently golden colored crust across the bottom of your pie and a slightly crisper outer crust that has time to rise and set up. The crust will rise even more if you move the pizza one time about one minute in. The extra heat from moving it boosts the crust higher and you get some nice bubbles too.
New York Style Brick Oven Pizza
This pizza is best when evenly topped without overloading the pie with toppings. This allows for some drying of ingredients and the heat to penetrate the whole pie and crust. .This temperature also creates a pie that is well suited for pick up and delivery. At this temperature, you can still make a well-done pie that is not burnt but slightly covered with the black blisters.
Neapolitan Style Pizza
Pizza Neapolitan Cooked in 90 seconds in the Inferno Series Brick Ovens
Third:This is the hottest Temperature category and the traditional Neapolitan pizza comes in this range 850 to 900f . Using the same dough with an extra 5% hydration . We get a different style of pizza!
Due to the High temperature, you get a quick “delicate’ puffy rise of the crust. The dough is airy due to the extra water and steam that creates air pockets. The traditional charring associated with Neapolitan Pizza occurs due to the high heat and expansive dough. This also creates bottom with dark spots “leopard spots” on the bottom as well as the top.
Toppings need to be very light and sparse, due to the short cooking time the pie still needs to cook through. Also, the lighter crust structure and lack of bake time can not evaporate additional moister from the topping a cook them through. This style of pizza can have a tremendous flavor profile. But due to the moisture in this pizza, it’s not well suited for pick up or delivery .
Traditionally Neapolitan style pizza is made from a very fine flour a double 00 Italian flour with greater hydration content and result in a much lighter softer pizza than the ones tested. This type of pizza requires a knife and fork to eat.
Regardless of bake time each pie was very well received and enjoyed thoroughly by the participants in this project. Depending on your location you can visit many types of pizza places using many kinds of ovens and dough. Then begin to narrow down the type of pizza you would like to make and that your customers will enjoy.
Of course, you will have to experiment a bit to create your own recipe and see what temperature, moisture content, and toppings that work best. Or you can come to the pizza school of New York and learn all the styles. You will also need a great oven like a revolving brick oven that can do it all. Happy Pizza to you.