Pizza is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, homemade pizza in your oven isn’t a game-changer.
Cooking a homemade pizza in your oven will always disappoint. Even when using a combination of broil and bake, your oven lacks the heat needed. The dough requires a quick cook at high temperatures in order to produce all the qualities we expect in a great crust.
A cooking temperature of 500°F doesn’t quite cut it.
When taking the time, effort, and spending money to make a pizza from scratch, it should taste better than if you picked up the phone and dialed Pizza Hut.
The Problem with Your Oven
Your oven at home lacks the heat needed to get the dough to bubble up, just right, as its cooking; this process is known as the oven-spring. During the oven-spring, air and vapor fill the dough quickly to expand it, as a result the dough becomes fluffy and full of holes or creators.
High levels of quick heat are responsible for a good crust: a perfect mix of crispy, slightly seared bottom and a soft, chewy fluffy goodness…mmmm
Solutions to the homemade pizza problem
You may never order a pizza again, once you've tried any of these options below. Okay, well, maybe that’s not true, but you’ll be able to yield better pizza than any chain pizza place. All the devices/ovens below, have been tested to be ideal alternatives to overpriced outdoor ovens.
1. Baking Steel Cooking Sheet
The great benefit of Baking Steel is you can avoid spending the money and dedicating space to an outdoor oven; while still producing a great tasting pizza with your existing oven. Baking Steel is the latest and greatest, it is the next progression from stone cooking surfaces. Baking Steel produces fluffier and all around better pizza than you would get from a stone cooked pizza. The Baking Steel has been revolutionary to the progression of homemade pizza.
Baking Steel -$90
Baking Steel was developed as a Kickstarter project. Due to the latest trend of making homemade pizza the project was a success. Now you can find the Baking Steel available for purchase with shipping from Amazon.
2. Kick-butt conversion kits
This is the next best thing to a dedicated pizza oven. One of the biggest knocks on a pizza oven is the space that it takes up when you’re not using it (that and the cost, some dedicated pizza ovens can run upwards of $5K). Whether you have a traditional charcoal grill (Webber Kettle models) or a gas grill, here are two of the most popular conversion kits that produce great tasting crusts, and in turn, a great tasting pie.
Pizza Oven Box Gas Grill Conversion - $119
The Pizza Oven Box is a universal gas grill conversion kit that will fit most any gas grill. Boasting 700 degrees in less than 3 min.
KettlePizza Weber grill conversion - $140
Transform your Weber charcoal grill into an efficient pizza oven.
3. The Uuni Mini Outdoor Pizza oven
The Unni wood-fired oven does a great job without taking the next step into a full sized pizza oven. This small lightweight oven can reach about 900 degrees in less than 10 min. While the cooking area is small, it can turn over a well-cooked pizza in less than 3 minutes.
Uuni Outdoor pizza oven -$300
A transportable outdoor pizza oven that can produce results of a true outdoor pizza oven.
4. DIY Outdoor Pizza Oven
Looking to come up on a real outdoor brick oven without dropping 2,000 greenbacks? This may be easiest DIY outdoor oven that has all the makings of a true brick oven; and you can make it for under $200.
Create your own outdoor oven - Under $200
Step-by-step walk-through to create an easy, inexpensive outdoor wood burning pizza oven.
5. Pizzza on the grill
Nothing fancy here, but it works. There's a level of finesse required but that's the fun part, right?
The challenge in using a grill without a conversion kit is the temperature; unless you have evenly disbursed heat, sections of the crust will burn and/or the toppings won't be cooked. There are many factors that affect cook time: heat, thickness of dough, amount of toppings and the duration of time the lid is off the grill while the dough is cooking. I feel like every time I'm using a Weber or gas grill to cook a pie, I'm at a friends house where we are grilling multiple personal sized pizzas; the biggest challenge is quickly adding the pizzas and quickly removing them. There's a fine line between doughy, crispy and burnt crust.
A hot preheated grill is key; about 550°F. Cook the pizza dough on one side for three minutes without toppings. Then pull it off, add the toppings to the side with the grill marks and toss it back in the grill. Be sure to close the lid and cook for another 3 minutes. Other small details I find helpful: brushing the dough with olive oil, going light on the sauce, and owning a pizza peel.
Weber has a pretty good video on this process (see below). In the end, you'll discover your preferred method to get the perfiect combination of crispy crust and cooked, juicy toppings.
With these homemade pizza making ovens you'll be well on your way to great tasking pizza, at home!
Here are some choice recipes to try with your new pizza oven: