Picture this: You’ve just made the perfect pizza dough, rolled it out into a perfect circle, and you’ve topped it with your favorite toppings.
The whole time your pizza has been in the oven, your taste buds are tingling and all you can smell throughout the house is the scent of homemade pizza.
The time has come – you’ve taken the pizza out of the oven. The crust is golden brown, the cheese has melted, and your toppings are baked to perfection.
You waste no time in slicing that bad boy and eating some of your creation. Problem is, the middle of the pizza tastes raw.
We’ve all been there. Cooking homemade pizza is always easier than it sounds, and it’s unfortunately quite common to undercook your dough.
Can’t I just put it back in the oven until the dough has properly cooked? In theory, yes, but that risks overcooking and burning the crust, cheese, and toppings of the pizza.
Can I eat undercooked pizza dough anyway? While it might seem harmless, consuming undercooked pizza dough can actually make you sick.
Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about how to fix undercooked pizza dough to make sure it’s safe!
How To Fix Undercooked Pizza Dough Quickly
If your pizza looks absolutely perfect but still has a soggy bottom, chances are your oven is not at the right temperature.
It sounds like there’s too much heat coming from the top, sufficiently cooking the top half of your pizza, and not enough from the bottom, rendering the rest uncooked.
The first thing you should do is to try and cook your pizza for longer. This might seem like a simple suggestion, but it’s worth a try.
You’ve just got to keep an eye on the pizza’s toppings because cooking your pizza for longer will lead to overcooking.
And don’t bother turning the temperature down a lot, as this will only prolong the process and will still burn the toppings if you’re not careful.
If you’re looking for a quick fix halfway through cooking your pizza and realizing that the dough might cook unevenly, there is something you can try.
Lower the temperature of the oven by 70 °F (20 °C) and lower the shelf that the pizza is on by one rack. Then, cook your pizza for 3 minutes and check to see if the bottom of the pizza is cooking.
Of course, not everyone is going to be hanging around to touch the bottom of the pizza to check that it’s cooking.
Surely, if you’ve followed the instructions and you’ve put your oven at the right temperature, then it should all cook evenly, right? Wrong.
Every oven is different and almost every homemade pizza dough is unpredictable.
This is why we always recommend checking how your pizza is cooking halfway through to avoid burning the top and undercooking the bottom.
If you have tried this method and the dough is still undercooked, or perhaps you’re wanting tips on how to avoid undercooking your pizza dough, here are some other ways to fix undercooked pizza dough!
Make Sure The Bottom Of The Oven Is Hot
Ovens are always hottest at the top, which is why your pizza is likely to cook unevenly.
If you have your pizza lying on the shelf of the highest rack, this will almost certainly burn the toppings and still undercook the dough underneath.
For pizza dough to cook at the same time as the toppings, all aspects of the oven have to be at the same temperature.
This also goes for the baking sheet – putting the dough on a cold baking sheet will immediately make the dough cold, which will take longer to cook.
The aim is to mimic a real wood-fired pizza oven that produces an even amount of heat throughout the whole oven.
Ideally, you want the bottom of the oven to be the hottest part while the surrounding temperatures slowly cook the toppings, as this will prevent undercooked dough and burnt toppings.
The best way to mimic a real wood-fired pizza oven is to cook the pizza on something extremely hot, such as a pizza stone or a pizza steel.
Pizza steels are a fairly new invention, but it’s probably the most reliable method of cooking a pizza as the steel conducts heat quickly and efficiently, allowing for an evenly cooked dough.
Plus, pizza steels don’t shatter like stones. If you cook homemade pizza often, these are a worthy investment!
The key is to preheat the pizza stone or pizza steel for about an hour before cooking the pizza dough.
This will allow enough time for the stone or steel to get hot and conduct the heat, allowing it to evenly cook the dough.
To ensure that your pizza dough won’t be undercooked, we recommend using two stones or steels. The more heat from the bottom of the oven, the better.
This is because once you put the dough on the stone or steel, regardless of how hot the stone/steel is, the dough will immediately cool the surface down.
As this will promote heat loss, you can then move the dough to the second stone/steel halfway through cooking.
However, if you’re looking for a more immediate quick fix, you can always try cooking your pizza on top of a preheated thick baking sheet. This is only a temporary fix, however.
Pick The Right Temperature
Home ovens work differently to wood-fired pizza ovens. While wood-fired pizza ovens are designed to be extremely hot, this doesn’t mean you should cook your pizza at similarly hot temperatures in your home oven.
However, if you can’t get the bottom of your oven hot enough, then the only other option is to cook the pizza slightly longer than intended.
If the toppings aren’t close to being burnt, then continue cooking it at the same temperature.
If the toppings are perfectly cooked and close to overcooking, then you can drop the temperature by 70 °F (20 °C) and put the dough on the shelf one rack lower.
This will better control the temperature flow at the top of the oven – while it won’t heat up the bottom of the oven, this, in theory, should prevent the toppings from burning while the dough catches up.
Of course, each oven varies in strength. Some ovens are strong and generally need less than the advised time to cook food thoroughly, while others might need much longer.
It all comes down to practice and understanding how your appliances work!
Don’t Immediately Add Sauce
So this is a tip that is only applicable before you put the pizza dough in the oven, but it’s worth mentioning regardless.
If you have cooked your pizza and the dough is undercooked, it might be because you put the sauce on the dough too early.
Putting sauce on the dough too quickly will only add moisture to the dough, which only increases the cooking time of the dough.
Luckily, it doesn’t take too long to slap a load of sauce and toppings on a pizza. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or over-decorative, after all.
As soon as the sauce and toppings are on the dough, put it in the oven immediately. Just make sure not to leave the sauce on the dough for too long!
If you’re making the tomato sauce from scratch, we recommend putting the sauce through a sieve before putting it on the dough. Stir the sauce in the sieve with a wooden spoon.
This will separate the unnecessary water from the tomato sauce, leaving you with a dryer sauce consistency with a higher (and more flavorsome) concentrated sauce.
Be Careful With Wet Toppings
Just as with the sauce, try to limit the number of wet toppings you put on your dough.
Wet ingredients are one of the main causes of soggy dough, so it’s important to properly drain wet toppings before putting them on the dough and sauce.
For example, if you’re putting olives or tomatoes on the pizza, ensure that these are drained properly.
Keep in mind that some vegetables like raw tomatoes and mushrooms will also release water when they are cooked.
This is pretty unavoidable, so it’s just worth putting these veggies on sparingly. It might also be worth pre-cooking them before putting them on the dough.
Don’t Put Cold Dough In The Oven
Cold dough takes longer to cook than proofed dough. As a result of this, the dough cooks unevenly, with the toppings and cheese cooking perfectly while the dough remains raw.
To avoid this issue, ensure that you keep your dough at room temperature before you put it in the oven.
Proofing your dough is super important, and because the most common method of proofing is to keep it in the fridge, we recommend leaving the dough out on the kitchen counter for 1-2 hours.
Don’t keep it out any longer, as this can accidentally overproof the dough. This should allow enough time for the dough to warm to room temperature.
Is It Dangerous To Eat Uncooked Pizza Dough?
Unfortunately, it’s not okay to eat uncooked pizza dough. People won’t often assume that flour is uncooked food, but flour is technically uncooked and requires cooking to kill off any germs and bacteria, including E. coli.
Once grains contain bacteria, these bacteria will continue to spread amongst other grains in the same field. Sure, flour is milled and bleached, but these steps won’t work to kill germs and bacteria.
As flour is technically an uncooked food that contains bacteria, it is unsafe to eat uncooked foods that contain flour. This includes uncooked cookie dough, cake dough, and pizza dough.
So, if you’re tucking into your homemade pizza and deciding to ignore the uncooked dough, you might want to think again.
When you eat a certain amount of uncooked dough, you may become sick.
Everyone will have their own tolerances to an uncooked dough (as some will say that it doesn’t matter if you have a little while others can’t tolerate even the smallest amount), but the general rule is to not eat raw foods at all.
Eating raw and uncooked foods leads to food poisoning, which is a nasty sickness that varies depending on the bacteria you consumed.
If the bacteria was E. coli, for example, you will experience vomiting and diarrhea.
E. coli can take three to four days to affect the system, whereas other bacteria like salmonella take around 6 hours.
So, to put it simply, it’s never worth taking the risk and eating uncooked pizza dough.
Aside from the fact that consuming raw dough can make you sick, it also doesn’t taste half as good as cooked dough. For the sake of your taste buds and your immune system, never eat raw dough!
How Do I Know When My Pizza Dough Is Cooked?
The golden rule is to always check the bottom of the pizza to see if the dough is cooked or not. Bring out the pizza from the oven and touch the bottom of the dough in the middle.
You can also look underneath it to see any wet patches. If it’s still wet or damp, then it’s undercooked. If it’s dry, crispy, and looks brown, then it’s cooked!
Unfortunately, the top of the pizza won’t give you any indication about how cooked the dough is.
While the sauce, cheese, toppings, and crust look golden brown and ready to eat, the dough underneath is another story. This is all because of the uneven distribution of heat in a regular oven!
So, there you have it! Unfortunately, there are not many ways to fix undercooked dough without burning the top of the pizza while it’s still in the oven.
It all comes down to preventative measures and ensuring that you’re cooking the pizza at the right temperature.
And remember, no matter how tempting it may be, never settle for eating uncooked pizza dough!