Burnt Pizza Bottoms And How To Fix Them


You can get a burnt pizza bottom from many ways – cooking in a wood fired oven, on a pizza stone, or using a grill. The bottom ends up blackened while the toppings remains under cooked. This article looks at some reasons why you get an over cooked base.

A burned pizza bottom could be caused by a few reasons but it is likely that you have too much heat coming from underneath. Other burning issues could be a result from too much sugar in your dough, or too much flour on the under side.

If you need a fool proof dough with detailed step by step instructions then check out my best pizza dough recipe to give yourself the best start.

Lets look at some solutions in this article.

Too Much Heat Underneath

If you are using an oven which has a heat source from below, you are probably getting too much direct heat on your pizza stone or steel. This will cause the pizza to cook unevenly – the bottom being much too quickly.

To make the best pizza you do need to cook your dough on something very hot. A pizza stone is more well known, but a pizza steel is a newer method which will produce even better results. The steel conducts heat more efficiently, cooking the base through very quickly. They also don’t shatter like a stone does. I have this pizza steel and can fully recommend it (click to see on Amazon). If you’d rather get something a bit cheaper, then at least get a pizza stone made of cordierite like this one. It is less likely to crack like other pizza stones.

Try moving your cooking surface up higher from the heat source if possible. Such as moving the rack of your pizza stone higher in your oven. If you are using a grill which has heat from beneath then you can try lowering the heat so that there is less direct heat, and more surrounding heat.

If possible you can try putting an object in between your heat source and your pizza stone, for example another baking sheet or stone. This will take most of the direct heat and leave your cooking surface the correct temperature.

If cooking in a pizza oven, the oven floor is always coolest where there has been a previous pizza. So if you are getting burning issues on the oven floor, you can try replicating the position of the pizza each time you cook. The first pizza may be burned, but the following pizzas should have a more evenly cooked base.

Too Much Sugar

Sugar in a dough recipe will add browning to the crust. If you’ve got too much sugar then this is going to go too far and give you the wrong results. Sugar is needed for recipes which are cooked more slowly, at lower temperatures as it doesn’t have sufficient heat to create good color – higher temperatures don’t need this sugar.

Try lowering the sugar or cutting it out completely if you are cooking at high temperatures. Follow my pizza dough recipe which has all the instructions to produce perfect dough time after time by using the right quantities.

You do not need to include sugar in your pizza dough if you are cooking in a wood fired oven. The high heat will cause enough browning of the crust on its own.

Too Much Flour On Your Peel

If you put too much excess flour on your peel when you transfer it to the oven, as it is a dry ingredient, it can burn more easily. Try using only the required amount of flour to stop your pizza sticking, and no more.

You can get special peels which have perforated holes in them. This allows you to use flour, semolina or cornmeal on the peel to stop it sticking, but then allows the excess mixtures to fall away and not burn on the oven floor or pizza stone. See this one on Amazon for an example of how it is different.

Cold Dough

Using cold dough can cause the pizza toppings to not cook as fast as the bottom, especially if the dough is thick.

You should bring your dough out of the refrigerator for around 2 hours before you stretch and cook it, as often dough is too cold when being placed in the oven.

See my article on a guide to proofing pizza dough to learn about the best ways to proof and handle your dough for cooking.

Toppings Not Cooking

If your toppings aren’t cooking inline with your base then it might indicate you need to adjust your toppings to cook evenly. This will allow your toppings to be done, and your pizza bottom won’t get burnt.

Some toppings you should consider cooking before you put them on your pizza. Experiment with your equipment and toppings until you find a good balance. You can check your base throughout cooking to monitor burning.

Generally, you should try and aim for nice even temperatures for pizza cooking. If you have too much heat from above or below you will encounter problems with one side of the pizza cooking faster than the other.

Conclusion

Try out some solutions made in this article if you are getting a burnt pizza bottom. A good test to see if the pizza base is cooked, is to lift and check. A nicely browned surface indicates it is done and can be removed, too pale and it can be left for longer.

Moving your cooking equipment around so that there is not so much direct heat from below should fix the issue. This direct heat is too intense for cooking the pizza dough which needs more ambient temperatures.

If you are struggling with cooking pizza at home, then see my page on troubleshooting pizza dough for some essential tips.

4 thoughts on “Burnt Pizza Bottoms And How To Fix Them

  1. This may help people. I have an Ooni wood fired pizza oven and had issues with very burnt pizza bases underneath. Anyone that has this issue then I have the solution. So the best temperature for cooking a perfect Naples style pizza in this particular Ooni oven is about 300 degrees Celsius as measured on the pizza stone itself with an infrared thermometer. When you cook a couple of pizzas at this temperature they come out perfect but then after a while you find the base underneath is starts to become black.

    This is because these oven are not temperature controlled so the pizza stone keeps rising in temperature until it peaks at around 550 degrees Celsius!!! You may be thinking that you can leave it a while to cool down to 300 again but the fire will go out long before this and then your pizza top will be raw if you cook it with no fire going over the top. The only solution is to remove the stone once you cook the first few pizzas (when the oven is 300 degrees celsius). Then you keep adding fuel to keep the fire going as you would normally do. Then put the stone back in when you are ready to cook more and wait until it gets back to 300. I have 2 large pizza peels and I use one of them to slide underneath the stone to remove it and just leave it next to the oven on my patio. So if you have a non-temperature controlled outdoor pizza oven like an Ooni you will never get a burnt pizza again!

    1. Another way to scrub Ooni heat is to put in a cast iron pan. It will quickly stop the temp of the stone by as much as 100 degrees.

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