Who doesn’t like to feast on some delicious pizza now and then? I’ll tell you – none except those who are allergic, of course. But those who love pizza will even claim that it is the best dish ever created on Earth.
Since it’s the best dish ever, making a pizza from scratch usually requires a lot of time, which most people don’t have. The solution? Frozen pizza! But how to deal with the soggy crust and the weird taste that comes with them?
It’s is where a pizza stone will be of help. Keep reading to know how to turn a frozen pizza into a restaurant-quality one with just the use of a pizza stone!
What is a Pizza Stone?
A pizza stone is a circular cooking surface used for cooking pizzas, flatbread, and other food items. It’s made from ceramic, stone, or sometimes even salt and has a porous texture that allows it to absorb heat and moisture from the food. Because of this property, pizza stones help to keep the crust of the pizza crispy.
Pizza stones can also prevent food from burning due to their poor heat conductibility. Therefore, it is a better alternative than other baking dishes.
You can find them in all kinds of sizes, so it is easy to find one for your oven. Due to these characteristics and the easy cleaning methods required for a pizza stone are pretty popular.
The Method For Cooking Frozen Pizza With A Pizza Stone:
Cooking frozen pizza with a pizza stone instead of just placing it on the oven rack has many advantages. Firstly, it will not let the crust get all soggy, as it will absorb the moisture from the pizza.
Secondly, it will absorb heat from the oven, resulting in a hotter cooking area that will help cook the pizza well until it is crisp.
However, just getting a frozen pizza out of the box and throwing it on a hot pizza stone will not result in a delicious dish. So we have provided a basic guideline. Follow the methods given below or tailor those according to your needs.
1. Preparing The Pizza
An essential part of cooking the pizza is preparing the pizza. Without proper preparation, no cooking can add taste to the pizza or prevent some accident. Follow these tips to prepare your pizza.
Understand The Temperatures
Placing a frozen cold pizza on a fiery oven pizza stone might not sound like a dangerous idea. But in reality, this causes a thermal shock and might even break the pizza stone.
It mainly happens due to the rapid temperature change. This change can damage the material to the extent that you need to throw it out. Therefore, to keep your pizza stone in good condition, you can follow one of the three steps:
Thaw The pizza
It’s not a complicated process; all you have to do is leave the pizza outside for around 2 to 3 hours before cooking. Once the pizza reaches the average temperature, and the iciness melts, it is ready to be cooked.
However, this is not possible as frozen meals are rarely preplanned. You might get a sudden craving and not have the patience to wait for these many hours.
Or a sudden guest might arrive, causing you to hurriedly consider buying the pizza from a store, again not leaving the option for waiting such a long time. The other processes below might be more applicable in situations like these.
Microwaving The Pizza
Microwaving the pizza for a few minutes does the job of bringing up its temperature wonderfully. By doing this, you do not have to waste any time waiting around.
For pizzas with thin crusts, microwaving it for six to eight minutes will work well. While it is heating up, preheat the pizza stone to the necessary temperature. After you microwave the pizza, use a pizza peel and place it on the hot stone. It will decrease the chance of any thermal shock.
Cook The Pizza For Some Time
Some food experts say that microwaving a pizza can cause its taste and quality to go downhill. Cook the pizza for some time on top of the oven rack, usually after preheating the oven.
After cooking it for some time, place the pizza on the oven stone. This method keeps the risks of thermal shock at bay while not affecting the taste in any way. However, remember that opening the oven midway through cooking will drop the temperature within, so it might require some extra minutes to do it properly.
Start With A Cold Stone
The best way to reduce any chance of thermal shock is to start with a cold pizza stone. Therefore, there will be no change in temperature, and you won’t have to do any additional steps. It’s also the method that most people prefer using due to its hassle-free nature.
Make Holes In The Crust
Although a pizza stone will do the work of preventing any sogginess, if you want some extra crisp on your crust, this is a little trick you can use. Making holes in the crust ensures proper ventilation and lets go of any excess moisture.
This simple step can be the difference between a restaurant-quality pizza and a soggy one.
To do this, first, make sure that your pizza comes in plastic wrap. If it does not, just wrap cellophane around it.
Then lay the pizza face down on your working top and carefully cut off the wrap covering the pizza crust. Using a knife or toothpicks, make several holes in the crust and proceed with the other steps as usual.
Even though the frozen pizzas might be a quick option to alleviate your hunger, they are not usually the tastiest options. Most frozen pizzas taste are either very bland or weirdly sweet. There is no gooey cheese melting off from the freshly baked dish, no golden-brown crust, no mouthful of delicious meat.
So how to turn this lackluster pizza into a tasty option? You can do this by adding more toppings, cheese, and meat; whatever you feel goes well.
With the low price of a frozen pizza, you cannot go wrong. And since you have the pizza stone, the added moisture of these items will not cause any problem at all. Here are some things you can do:
Brush Some Oil
Using a basting brush, apply some olive oil or garlic-infused oil over the pizza before cooking it. You can also use some chili oil if you want that fresh hint of chili. By brushing the pizza with oil, you will get that beautiful golden look on your pizza, along with some extra flavors.
Replace the Meat
Frozen pizzas usually come with rubber-like meat, which is, at best, tasteless and oily. It causes you to think about where the meat originated. Your best bet would be to strip off as much meat as you can and add some options from your kitchen.
You can shred some pieces of chicken on the top or slice up some sausages. Seasoning the meat with a bit of salt and pepper also works wonders to make the whole dish taste better.
Throw in Some Vegetables
Vegetables are not everyone’s favorite, but if used along with cheese and meat and seasoned well, it can elevate the dish’s quality.
It is also an excellent way to get some vitamins in there and make you feel a little less guilty about consuming all those cheese and carbs.
You can’t go wrong with vegetables. Whatever you have- tomatoes, peas, spinach, everything tastes good on a pizza. Fry some mushrooms, season some broccoli, add carrot shreds, and go crazy with olives and pepper!
Another upside of using vegetables is that you can always find them somewhere in your kitchen or herb garden. Some vegetables often go to waste for not having any good use, so why not make the most of them?
Layer with More Cheese
A common trait of food lovers is that they believe you can never have enough cheese. Nothing beats the hot gooey, creaminess of cheese on top of a pizza. But that is quite impossible to achieve simply by heating a frozen pizza.
Therefore, take matters into your own hands and some more goldenness to your dish. Stuff some more mozzarella, or add some Italian cheese slices. If your frozen pizza has a weirdly sweet taste, you can take it up a notch by adding some salty cheese like parmesan cheese or blue cheese to cut down the saltiness.
Pour Some Sauce
You can always use a sauce as a remedy to tasteless food. From hot sauces like sriracha to some regular tomato sauce, any sauce will add a kick of flavor to your dish. Even some traditional tomato puree works well.
Crack An Egg
Eggs go well with everything. Crack an egg on the pizza if you want that extra gooeyness on your pizza and don’t have that much cheese at home. But if you do this without using a pizza stone, things can get soggy and bland.
To do this step, let the pizza cook for a minimum of time, and then take it out of the oven. Add an egg on top, and wait until the pizza looks well done. It will give you a soft runny yolk.
If you do not prefer that, add the egg earlier, so it gets cooked properly. You can also add shreds of scrambled eggs on top of the pizza as a different topping.
Even though you’d want to sprinkle some more salt on your pizza along with all these different toppings, don’t, even though these frozen pizzas lack a lot of things, salt is usually not one of them. Therefore, skip the salt.
Plus, all those additional toppings are likely to have amounts of salt in them that will balance out your pizza, even if it has a sweet taste. So extra salt is entirely unnecessary to make it taste better.
2. The Cooking Part
Now comes the central part- cooking the pizza so that you can eat it up. Cooking the pizza also compromises following some basic steps. The steps are as follows:
Use the Ridged Surface
A pizza stone usually has a flat surface and a ridged surface. Use the ridged surface while cooking, as that prevents any thermal shock.
Use a Baking Sheet
Using a non-stick baking sheet will help get the pizza off the pizza stone quickly.
Place the baking sheet on the stone first, then place the pizza so that it is easy to pull the paper out later without touching the pizza. Arrange all the toppings on the top, and they will be all ready to be put in the oven.
Put it in the Oven
After you have positioned the pizza on the stone, you can place it in the oven. Choose the middle rack for cooking the pizza to avoid direct heat from the top or bottom parts of the oven. The middle rack will give the pizza a nice, crispy but not burnt finish.
Set the Temperature to Max
Cooks have sworn by this life-saving tip: Heat the oven to the maximum temperature, usually 550 for ovens used in homes. It will let the pizza be cooked faster and ensure a crisp crust.
One downside of this is that you have to keep an eye on the pizza. It will usually take 8 to 10 minutes to cook. But the cooking time might vary, depending on whether you added extra toppings or took the pizza out of the oven midway.
Whatever may be the case, keep an eye on the pizza, so it does not go past the best golden brown stage. The only thing worse than a bland pizza is an overcooked pizza.
Let it Cook
After doing all the steps, you have to wait for the golden goodness to come out. You might need to take it out midway only to add some extra toppings. Take the pizza out once it has reached a golden brown color.
3. Post-Cooking Steps
Your job is usually not done after you have finished cooking the pizza. If you are not careful with the pizza stone, you might end up damaging it, or worse, hurting yourself. Therefore, you need to follow these steps after cooking the pizza.
Get The Stone Out With A Mitt
The pizza stone is usually scorching after being in the oven at such a high temperature. Therefore, do not even think of taking it out with a dish towel unless you want to give yourself a severe burn. With the help of your thick oven mitts, reach inside slowly, and take the whole pizza stone out.
Use Pizza Peels To Take It Out Of The Stone
Cutting the pizza into slices on the stone might damage the materials of the stone. Therefore, it is necessary to remove the pizza from the stone first. Using pizza peels or a metal spatula, remove the pizza from the stone and put it on a plate. Do not touch the pizza or the stone with bare hands at any cost.
Wait Before Slicing
Although it might seem tempting to dig into the pizza without a moment’s delay, doing so will only make the whole affair messy. If you do not wait until the cheese sets on the pizza, attempting to slice it will result in all the toppings coming off. Now you do not want that, do you?
To keep your pizza stone in good condition, you need to clean it out every after using it.
Do not use soap
The texture of the pizza stone is porous, meaning it traps moisture and small particles.
Using detergent or liquid soap on a pizza stone will backfire for this reason, as the detergent will get trapped in its surface. The taste might pass down later to other food, and no one wants a dish tasting like soap.
Do not dip it in water
Keeping the stone in water causes the quality of its materials to deteriorate over time. Therefore, you should clean the stone with a thick bristled brush to dust off any particles and wipe softly with a damp cloth. That will clean the stone thoroughly, and no additional steps will be required.
So here it is, a complete guide to cooking frozen pizzas on a pizza stone. Next time you feel starving but not craving the soggy taste of a frozen pizza, you know which equipment to use.
And if you have any questions for us, leave them in the comments section. Happy cooking!