When you’ve been looking forward to a delicious pizza crust with melted cheese and a variety of toppings, there’s nothing like a burnt crust and bottoms to dampen your day.
Cooking pizza can be tricky and can leave you with a burned pizza easily, whether you’re using a pizza stone, a wood-fired oven, or a grill.
In this article, I will explore the different reasons why your pizza bottom burns and will cover the solutions and preventative measures you can take to stop this from happening in the future.
So, let’s get into it.
Why Is Your Pizza Bottom Burning?
You could be burning your pizza bottom for a variety of different reasons, which I will explore in more detail below.
The Pizza Dough Contains Too Much Sugar
Adding sugar to your dough will encourage browning. Adding too much sugar to your pizza dough will cause the dough to brown quicker than you had intended it to.
Sugar is generally called for dough recipes that are cooked more slowly at lower temperatures. It doesn’t have sufficient heat to create good color.
On the other hand, higher temperatures don’t need the same sugar content. The dough will brown within the oven without the extra help.
When you know that you’re going to be cooking at higher temperatures. You should try lowering the sugar content or cutting it out completely to prevent your crust from burning.
The Pizza Dough Contains Too Much Oil
Oil, and other fats, hold heat well, which will speed up the baking process when it comes to cooking pizza.
This can be beneficial in a situation when you are baking a thick-crust pizza at a lower temperature. However, it’s crucial to note that this will also make your pizza burn faster.
Baking pizza in a wood-fired oven. The aim is to get the dough to bake and brown as little as possible to stop it from burning. This is when a dough that contains no fat is useful.
Too Much Heat From Underneath
If there isn’t any sugar in your dough, then your pizza might be burning. This is because you have too much heat coming from underneath.
If you are using an oven that 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 cooking much too quickly and burning before your toppings have had a chance to cook properly.
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.
You Are Using Too Much Flour On Your Pizza Peel
You might think excess flour is a good thing. It can help you get your pizza off the peel and into the oven. But if you put too much flour on your peel when you transfer it to the oven. It is a dry ingredient, it can burn more easily.
You Are Using The Wrong Type Of Flour For Your Pizza Dough
Everyone likes to experiment when they’re making pizza. Especially when it comes to the endless toppings you can try for different flavor combinations.
However, when it comes to the type of flour you use to make your pizza dough. Keeping things simple is proven to produce the best results.
If your pizza is constantly burning. You will also want to consider the type of flour that you’re using. This can affect the pizza-making process.
How fast any excess flour will burn in the oven will depend on the type of flour that you use.
You Are Using Cold Pizza Dough
Baking a pizza when the dough is cold is never a good idea.
The reason for this is that when the cold starch is exposed to a high temperature within the oven, it causes the dough to burn at a quicker rate.
You will need to make sure that your pizza dough is at room temperature, and not fresh from the refrigerator when you go to place your pizzas in the oven.
You Are Overloading Your Pizza With Too Many Uncooked Toppings
Experimenting with different pizza toppings is what makes making your own pizza at home so fun!
However, there are some toppings that you will need to consider cooking beforehand to ensure that they are cooked through at the same time that the pizza is.
For instance, chicken is a great pizza topping, but it isn’t sensible to put raw chicken on a pizza as it won’t be cooked before the pizza dough is burned to a crisp!
When it comes to adding meat, such as chicken, always make sure that you pre-cook it beforehand.
It’s also important that you don’t overload your pizza with too many veggies, as you want an even cook over the entire pizza. The bottom ends up blackened while the toppings remain undercooked.
How To Prevent Your Pizza From Burning
When you’re constantly burning your pizza and it’s not just a one-off occurrence, you will find some tips handy. There are a few preventative measures you can take to stop your pizza from burning.
Establish Your Baking Method & Control The Cooking Time And Temperature
When it comes to making your pizza, you will need to establish your baking method before you get started.
This is important, as different baking methods can require different cooking times and temperatures.
While some have a higher risk of burning the top of the pizza, other baking methods have a higher risk of burning the bottom.
Bearing this in mind, it’s important to understand your baking method before you get started.
When it comes to cooking pizza at home on a baking sheet, the main reason for burning your pizza is to leave it in the oven for too long.
However, when you’re using either a pizza steel or a pizza stone, you will need to get the balance between cooking the top and the bottom just right.
This can be challenging, especially when on your first couple of tries.
Alternatively, when it comes to grilling your pizza, the main challenge you will face is the heat from underneath the pizza as this can cook your pizza at a much quicker rate.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to use indirect heat and shut the door to trap as much heat as possible that can bake the top.
An infrared thermometer is important to invest to check the temperature when using a wood pizza oven. Using a turning peel is important to reach the pizza to check that the bottom doesn’t burn.
If the bottom looks as if it is browning faster than the top, lift the pizza up towards the hot dome using your pizza peel to help it along.
Use The Right Type Of Dough Recipe And Flour For Your Pizza Dough
When it comes to cooking an even pizza, choosing the right dough recipe and flour for your pizza dough is incredibly important.
You should be open to reducing or cutting any oil and sugar out of your dough completely. Oil will get very hot in the oven and will therefore bake the pizza faster.
On the other hand, too much sugar in your dough will caramelize and burn if you’re not mindful of this.
It’s important to note that this is very much a trial and error process and can take a few burnt pizzas before you decide on a pizza dough that you like and will stick with for future pizzas. However, this is all part of the process.
If you want to bake pizza with the peace of mind that it’s not going to burn, then you will want to opt for an Italian pizza flour that is specially made for higher temperatures.
As this flour has been made for this very purpose and has been tried and tested by pizza chefs, it’s much easier to get an even bake on your pizza.
Never Use Cold Pizza Dough When Making Your Pizza
Another preventative measure that’s important to take if you want your pizza to cook evenly is to never use cold pizza dough when making your pizza.
This simply comes down to the fact that the starch in the dough will burn at a quicker rate if the dough is cold and has been taken straight from the refrigerator.
Generally speaking, if you store the pizza dough in the refrigerator, you will need to take it out and allow it to come to room temperature for at least 2-3 hours prior to baking the pizza.
Make Sure That Your Pizza Isn’t Covered In Excess Flour
Excess flour can burn quickly and can therefore burn your pizza more easily, so you should always get rid of excess flour from your dough.
To prevent your pizza from burning in the future for the same reason, you can reduce the amount of flour that you use to the amount of flour that is required to stop your pizza from sticking, no more.
If you’re experiencing this problem, when you’re in the market for a pizza peel, you can look for special types of pizza peels that are designed with perforated holes in them.
Using a perforated pizza peel provides a win-win situation, and is a super convenient tool to have in your kitchen when it comes to making pizzas.
You should also try using semolina, as opposed to fine wheat flour or cornmeal, as this won’t burn nearly as easily.
Pizza bottoms can cook unevenly and burn for a variety of different reasons, from the dough recipe you use to the cooking method that you choose to use.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of why this can occur, and the preventative measures that you can take next time you’re making pizza.
Good luck and happy pizza-making!