Pizza is a celebrated meal for many. It is the go-to meal when we are too tired to cook after a long day at work. Pizza is simply one of the most delicious meals in the world. However, there are times when you want a pizza but, at the same time, want to eat food that feels homey.
The process of preparing pizza from scratch is a lengthy one and requires a lot of expertise. This should not discourage you, as we have guidelines on using frozen pizza, making it easier to have your home-cooked pizza. You might wonder what a frozen pizza is.
What is a frozen pizza?
Frozen pizza is ready to cook frozen or refrigerated pizza. The world first heard of frozen pizza in the 1950s. This was after the second World War ll, during the pizza boom. It is an invention purposed to make it easier and faster to cook pizza at home with just an oven and a microwave.
With frozen pizza, one does not have to worry about making the dough for the pizza. When making the pizza bread from scratch, there is usually the worry of not having the right consistency, irregular appearance, with unwanted moisture penetrating the dough, making it soggy.
Usually, the holes are punched on the dough to avoid air bubbles while baking. This, however, leads to some part of the pizza to be hard and others gummy.
Frozen pizza solves all these issues as the right consistency and appearance are all taken care of. With a frozen pizza, it is easier to get the right texture. What makes it even easier to make pizza at home is the pizza stone.
What is a pizza stone?
To cook the best pizza, you need the heat of at least 800F in an oven. This will make a lovely crispy flatbread in only two minutes. This high heat is almost impossible to achieve in our home ovens. That is why you need a pizza stone.
Pizza Stone is a flat item; usually, a cooking surface made of stone or ceramic and is put in an oven. It has a porous texture. It soaks up the heat when an oven is switched on and holds on to it. You put your frozen pizza on a pizza stone, and the heat is transmitted to the pizza dough. This technology tries to emulate the floor of a wood-fired oven.
Pizza stone has crevices that allow steam that is evaporating from the toppings to escape; hence a crispy crust is made. A pizza stone is very affordable and can quickly reproduce the kind of heat needed to make a perfect pizza.
Are Pizza stones baking stones?
Yes, pizza stones are a type of baking stones. But it is important to note that most baking stones are rectangular. Pizza stones are circular.
It would be right to say that pizza stone and all other baking stones fall in one category called baking stones. Note that not all baking stones are pizza stones. Unlike other baking stones and dishes, pizza stones have poor heat conductibility, making them better for baking as they will prevent the food from burning.
How to choose the best pizza stone?
Always choose a thicker pizza stone as they are more durable. The thicker ones take longer to heat up, but they soak up the most heat for a longer time. However, the most deterministic factor is what you can afford.
Advantages of using a pizza stone for frozen pizza
A pizza stone soaks up and absorbs heat from the oven. To make a perfect pizza, the oven needs to be extremely hot. The surface where you will place the dough has to be hot to avoid the chewy texture. The heat absorbed by the pizza stone cooks the pizza up until the crust is crispy.
The crust will be crispy. A pizza stone has a porous characteristic which aids in absorbing any steam produced by the frozen pizza, ensuring the crust does not become soggy; hence, the fresh, delicious pizza taste is maintained.
How to cook a frozen pizza with a pizza stone
As you have seen above, frozen pizza and pizza stones are inventions that were made to bring comfort and ease to your kitchens. But you cannot unwrap the frozen pizza and put it on the pizza stone just like that. There is a process to follow to ensure you get your delicious, homemade pizza.
This is like the foundation of a house. Without this step, then the process of making your pizza will be an epic failure. Like everything else, you need first to prepare yourself as the cook, prepare the oven and prepare the pizza. Read the instructions.
Defrost the pizza
It is risky to put a frozen pizza in a hot oven. This is because there will be a significant temperature difference between the frozen pizza and the pizza stone, which will cause thermal shocks. The thermal shock will most likely make the pizza stone crack or, worse, break.
Let the frozen pizza rest outside for two to three hours so that it can thaw. After the two hours, the temperatures of the frozen pizza will be room temperature. At this point, it is ready to be cooked.
In today’s lifestyle, time is a significant factor. The two hours might seem like an awful lot of time to wait. If you do not have two hours to wait for the frozen pizza to thaw, you might consider using a microwave to defrost.
- Defrosting using a microwave
Using a microwave, you can quickly defrost frozen food. A microwave uniformly defrosts food in a short period. Depending on the crust size, you can microwave the frozen pizza for six to ten minutes. Do not forget to implement the instructions given on the cover of the frozen pizza.
Preheat the oven and the pizza stone
As you wait for the pizza to thaw or defrost, it is wise to turn on the oven and let the pizza stone preheat to the required temperatures. The required temperature is usually the maximum temperature.
Some frozen pizza boxes have instructions on the recommended heat. It would be wise to ignore these instructions and let your oven reach the maximum temperature. For most home ovens, this is usually 550 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the pizza cooks so fast, which is what we want to achieve the right texture.
Create holes in the crust
The pizza dough can trap air bubbles, which are responsible for a chewy, soggy texture. To make a perfect pizza, make holes in the crust for ventilation. This will ensure that your pizza is extra crispy. Yes, the pizza stone helps absorb the steam to avoid sogginess, but you can go this extra mile to ensure the crispy crust.
Creating holes is a simple step that makes the difference between pros and amateurs. Take the wrapped frozen pizza and lay it on the working surface, face down. Cut off the plastic wrap covering the crust. Make holes using a toothpick or knife.
Make it more delicious.
Frozen pizzas are not as delicious when cooked just like that. They are bland. Some are sweetened with sugars, making them have a weird taste. You want your pizza to resemble the one from a top-notch restaurant, but frozen pizza has no melting, gooey cheese. It has no variety of toppings like meat and vegetables.
If you want to make them tastier and inviting, you can add toppings. Follow these steps to have the most delicious pizza:
- Replace the meat
Remove the meat that comes with the frozen pizza. Most people find that meat tasteless, unfresh, and unnatural. If you want a fresh-tasting pizza, remove this meat and replace it with fresh meat. Depending on your desire, you can add sausages, pepperoni, minced meat, or chicken meat.
If you are a meat lover, do not be afraid to mix different types of meat. Put as much meat as you desire. Remember to cut or shred this meat to desirable sizes, not too large a piece. Then season the meat with your favorite seasonings.
- Add vegetables
Vegetables are a great way to ensure a fresh taste in a pizza. Not everyone likes vegetables, but if complimented well, it can change your pizza from basic to restaurant-worthy. Plus, you are trying to make the pizza as healthy as possible. You need some vegetables to balance your diet.
You can add some lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli, baby spinach, sliced almonds, zucchini, boiled corn, artichoke hearts, or pineapple to your pizza. Be sure to add some onions, garlic, olives, pepper, and tomatoes too.
If you are brave enough, throw in any vegetable leftovers that are in your fridge.
- Throw in cheese and more cheese
People who know good food appreciate cheese so much. You can never go wrong with cheese. The more cheese, the better. Cheese makes the difference between average pizza and the pizza you dream of cooking.
Add mozzarella cheese to your pizza. For frozen pizzas with a sweet taste, it would be best if you added a salty cheese. There are different types of salty cheese. Additionally, put the sauce of your choice, but there are the common ones used, for example, tomato sauce, white sauce, marinara sauce, garlic sauce, and bbq sauce. Put as much sauce as you wish. It is your pizza. Go as wild as you want.
- No salt!
Do not add salt. Frozen pizza usually has a lot of salt. You do not want your pizza to be overly salty.
- Glaze with oil.
Now that we have our toppings ready, apply some oil to the pizza. You could use a garlic-infused oil to add flavor. Just brush in a little olive oil over the pizza to achieve the brown, golden look.
Some people add eggs to the pizza. This is highly dependent on you. If you adore eggs, you can crack the eggs over your pizza. But it is not a must. Additionally, eggs increase the risk of sogginess. Ensure you do this only while using a pizza stone.
Let the pizza cook for some time, take it out and add the egg. Wait for the pizza to be golden brown. This achieves a runny soft yolk effect.
Alternatively, you can add the eggs before glazing with oil and let it cook from the beginning. Others have added scrambled eggs as a topping just the way you add meat. Choose the method that works for you.
Place the pizza on the stone.
After the pizza stone reaches the required temperatures, use a pizza peel to place the pizza on the hot pizza stone.
If you microwaved the frozen pizza, put the pizza on the oven rack first in a preheated oven. Let it cook for a while before you place the pizza on the pizza stone. This is because microwaved frozen foods are not as delicious, according to experts, and that extra time that the pizza cooks on the oven rack improves the quality and taste of the pizza.
Some people prefer to start with a cold pizza stone from the beginning. This method is faster, and there would be no need for the previous additional steps. But this might lead to your pizza stone breaking.
Cooking the pizza
Ensure you use a pizza stone in a preheated oven to cook your pizza. You need a baking sheet, too, as well as a pizza stone.
- Use a pizza stone.
To achieve the best, crispy pizza, you must not only use a pizza stone but know how to use it. A pizza stone has two different surfaces. One side of the stone is a flat surface, and the other is usually ridged.
It would be wise to use the ridged surface. This ensures that there are no thermal shocks. Additionally, you might want the bottom of your pizza to look like the pizza you buy in the restaurant. The ridged surface makes this possible.
- Use a suitable baking sheet.
Experts advise that you should always use a baking sheet. A nonstick baking sheet makes it easier to remove the pizza after it cooks. Put the baking sheet on the pizza stone, then put your pizza on top of it. After that, could you put it in the oven?
Where to put it in the oven
It would be best if you put your pizza in the middle section. Ensure it does not come into contact with the sides of the oven. This ensures that the pizza does not burn but instead cooks well and achieves a crispy brown look.
Keep an eye on the pizza.
It should take an average of 10 minutes to cook. This time will, however, vary depending on your toppings. You should also factor in the time you took if you removed the pizza midway. Remember, every time you remove the pizza, the oven cools down a bit.
Be careful and keep checking the pizza to ensure it does not burn. Remove when the golden-brown look is achieved.
Remove the pizza
Remove the pizza stone with the pizza on top. Remember, the stone is scorching hot at this point, and you do not want to burn yourself. Remove the pizza stone and place it on a flat surface using mitts.
Sprinkle some lemon juice and olive oil on the pizza if you are going for a more savory taste. Remember, these tiny details make the difference between a basic pizza made from just the frozen pizza and the tasty pizza you are trying to achieve.
Remove the pizza from the pizza stone.
Using a pizza peels, remove the pizza from the stone before you start slicing it into pieces. Some people cut the pizza on the stone, but it is smart to remember that this might damage your pizza stone.
Let the cheese set
Your pizza looks so inviting and delicious at this point. All you want is to cut it into slices and dig in, but not so fast. Wait a few minutes for the cheese to set on the pizza. When the cheese sets, it will hold firm the toppings onto the pizza. Otherwise, it will be a messy affair while trying to eat with the toppings falling off the pizza.
Enjoy your pizza
After the cheese sets, you can now slice your pizza into slices as you desire. Sit down and enjoy your delicious pizza. You might like to have yours with a dish of salad, or maybe a soft drink, beer, or cocktail. Whatever you choose, there are no rules. It is your pizza. Enjoy it the way you deem best.
Caring for your pizza stone
Your pizza stone is your holy grail when it comes to cooking pizza. You would want it to last as long as possible. It is therefore vital to ensure you take the utmost care for it.
Different pizza stone manufacturers will give different guidelines on how to take care of your pizza stone. For this reason, it is essential to read the instructions manual attached to the box whenever you purchase a pizza stone.
But generally, always ensure that your pizza stone stays and is stored in a clean oven. Never take your pizza stone out of the oven unless you are doing to clean or remove a cooked pizza from the oven.
Furthermore, a pizza stone always equalizes the heat in an oven. This is because it soaks up the heat. Although it takes longer for the oven to heat up with a pizza stone, it is worth it since you can avoid or minimize hot spots.
Handle the pizza stone with care. Pizza stones can break. You should always be careful when handling it because it will break if dropped—the more reasons to store it inside the oven.
Always clean. To ensure the durability of your pizza stone, you must ensure that it is always clean.
Dos when cleaning the pizza stone
- Do clean with a bristle brush.
Using a thick bristle brush, brush over all the particles off the pizza stone.
- Do clean with a damp cloth.
Use a damp cloth to wipe off any dirt and stains on the pizza stone. Wipe gently, towards one direction. After this, store it in a clean, dry place, preferably the oven.
Don’ts when cleaning a pizza stone
- Don’t dip it in water.
Because of the nature of a pizza stone, dipping it in water will allow it to soak. This makes the material of stone deteriorate over time.
- Don’t use soap
As we have seen above, a pizza stone is usually porous. This means it has minute spaces that allow liquid and, in our case, soapy water to pass through. Therefore it will trap this soap, and the pizza stone will pass on this soap taste and smell to your pizza as you cook. Have you ever eaten food that has a soapy taste? Disgusting! You want to avoid this at all costs.
We have given you the best guidelines for preparing your frozen pizza and how best to use your pizza stone. We have also outlined how to take care of your pizza stone.
Remember, pizza stones are susceptible to thermal shocks. It is important to note that you should never put a cold stone in a hot oven. This will make the stone crack.
Additionally, it would be best to put a frozen pizza on a hot pizza stone. You should never put a hot pizza stone on a cold surface. These extreme differences in temperature between a pizza stone and the surface will easily make the pizza stone crack.
With all this in mind, the next time you are craving a delicious pizza and feeling creative, or maybe you want to clear up all the leftovers in your fridge; you know exactly what to do and make your pizza like a pro. Remember, all experts use a pizza stone!