There are few things more tempting than a freshly baked pizza straight from the oven, but recreating an authentic pizza from home can take skill and finesse. Buying the best pizza oven is a great start, but it can take a few practice runs to get the hang of ensuring the pizza is perfectly cooked and knowing how hot the pizza oven should be.
With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start working on your pizza skills. Commonly asked questions include 'what is the right pizza oven temperature?' and 'how long shall I leave my pizza in the oven?' We spoke to Marco Biasetti, Pizzaiolo master chef at DeliVita, to find out his top pizza-making tips.
The best temperature for a pizza oven
'The best wood-fired oven temperature to cook the perfect pizza is between 340˚C and 400˚C,' says Biasetti, 'and my preferred temperature is 350˚C”.' This temperature will cook your pizza in just 90 seconds, resulting in a crisp base and perfectly melted mozzarella.
'The temperature doesn’t vary between types of pizza,' which means whether it’s a Neapolitan or a New York style pizza, this should be the pizza oven temperature you’re aiming for.
Preheating your pizza oven
A temperature of 350˚C is pretty hot, and it’s important that this is the ambient temperature of your oven. That means not only your pizza stone but the inside of the oven itself needs to be consistent in temperature, or you’ll be left with a pizza that’s cooked unevenly in some areas.
The DeliVita pizza oven takes under 30 minutes to heat to up to 500˚C, but other pizza ovens may take different times. As for how to know when your pizza oven is hot enough, according to Biasetti 'it’s really simple'. One of the best pizza oven accessories we can’t live without is an infrared thermometer. Simply pointing this at the centre of your pizza oven will give you an instant reading and let you know just how hot your oven is. 'We use a temperature infrared gun but after a few attempts you will become an expert,' he says.
Allowing the oven to come back to heat
Some pizza ovens will lose their heat after cooking a pizza, but this depends on the oven. Some people opt for a pizza stone that can be placed on the BBQ. Biasetti’s DeliVita oven is made of traditional clay. 'It retains the heat and you won’t need to wait in-between pizzas.' If your pizza oven is less insulated or not made of clay then it’s worth checking with your infrared thermometer before going in with your next pizza.
Cooking pizza in a kitchen oven
While there’s nothing like a bespoke oven to cook your pizza, it’s possible to improvise in the kitchen too.
'In a conventional kitchen oven, you need to put the oven to its hottest setting, usually around 220°C-240°C and it cooks a pizza in around 5-6 minutes,' says Biasetti. 'I would advise pre-baking your base for three minutes and then topping it and putting back in the oven for three minutes. This ensures a crisp base.'
Assembling your pizza
There are a few things anyone should know before making a pizza. Our top tip is flouring the base, especially if you’re using a traditional oven. Mix together semolina and regular flour and stretch out your base on top of a generous handful of this mix to make sure your assembled pizza will slide off the pizza peel and into the oven easily.
When you’ve reached the right temperature for your pizza ovne, Biasetti advises to 'always put your tomato and basil on the pizza before you put on the mozzarella. This prevents it burning and ensures you get a perfect Margherita pizza.'
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