Rich and I eat pizza a lot. A couple of years ago we started making our own dough and have a pretty reliable recipe. Our favorite toppings are salami, black olive and mushroom. Yum! Yesterday Rich texted me around 4:30 pm asking where the dough hook was. I told him then asked if it wasn’t a little late in the day to start making pizza dough? He said no, so I let it go. When I got home about an hour later the dough was rising. At about 6:30 Rich took the dough out of the oven, where he was letting it rise, and started making pizza. The first thing he noticed was the dough at the bottom of the bowl seemed a little “cooked.” Apparently he heated up the oven slightly so the dough would rise faster. So part of the dough had to be thrown out. That meant the pizza had to be smaller or thinner. Rich opted for thinner. We have a pizza stone which does a great job, but it barely fits in the new oven. Rich sprinkled some corn meal on the stone, shaped the dough into a rectangle, and then topped it with marinara, salami, black olives, mozzarella and feta. Into the oven for about 15 minutes and voilà! Undercooked pizza. Back into the oven for another 10 minutes and … mostly done pizza. By that time we were hungry and were worried we’d wasted a bunch of propane cooking one pizza. So we ate the mostly done pizza. It was underwhelming.
Always the Monday-morning quarterback, I think a couple of mistakes were made that could have been prevented.
- Make the dough early enough so it has time to rise properly
- Don’t heat the oven to rush the rising process and inadvertently cook part of the dough
- Experiment with the oven a little more so we know how it heats
- Try cooking the pizza one level lower in the oven
- Verify the oven temperature (other than the dial that sets the temperature we have no idea how hot it is)
- Try par-cooking the dough before adding toppings.
This is the first time we’ve used the oven, so I think we did pretty well. The stove has been a breeze to use. It fires right up, stays lit, and has a nice range on the flame (meaning it goes from boil and simmer nicely). The oven might be a little trickier. Time will tell.