Pizzas are only worth eating as long as they are crispy and fresh out of the oven. For many years, pizza specialists have been using pizza screens to make top-quality pizzas with a universal quality. Pizza screens are basically flat mesh disks that are designed to bake and cook crispy crusts. There was a time when pizza stones were the preferred option but the disadvantages outweighed the advantages.
The mesh of pizza screens not only makes crispier crusts but allows better circulation of hot air as well. As a result, the chances of pizza burning or turning soggy are comparatively less. Therefore, if you are someone who loves pizzas but is not aware of how to use a pizza screen, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss how to use a pizza screen in detail so that you are able to create a professional quality pizza whenever cravings kick in.
Things to consider when buying a pizza screen
Although a pizza screen is a simple cooking and baking item but there are several factors you need to consider.
Firstly, you need to consider the size of the pizza screen required. The size will depend on the surface of the cooking area or oven. If you are a beginner, a 12-inch pizza screen will suffice. As you grab your head around using pizza screens, you can move up the ladder, that is, use bigger pizza screens.
The next factor worth considering is the preparation of the dough. It is recommended that you prepare pizza as soon as you prepare the dough. If you wish to cook pizza the next day, then store it inside a plastic container with some flour at the bottom. This way, the dough will not stick to the surface of the container.
Lastly, pizza seasoning is the key to making the best-quality homemade pizza. It is easier to cook pizzas on pizza screens that are seasoned as compared to new pizza screens. Try to get your hands on some seasoned pizza screens, if not, then be patient with the new pizza screen. Initially, there might be some trials and errors but eventually, you will get it.
How to use a pizza screen
Now that you are aware of the factors you need to consider when buying a pizza screen, it is time to shift our focus towards using it.
- The process of using a pizza screen starts with selecting the right size. Measure the oven area or the cooking surface to decide what size will be appropriate. If you have a small cooking surface then a 12-inch pizza screen will be appropriate, however, if the cooking surface area is large, then a 16-inch will suit better.
- Then, it is time to knead the dough. Kneading the dough takes time, therefore you will have to practice patience. If you intend to prepare the dough for an event the next day, store it inside a plastic container by adding a bit of flour at the bottom to prevent sticking.
- While preparing the dough, be conscious about its hydration. The dough should be squishy enough for shaping but should not be sticking to the surfaces as well. If you observe that the dough is dry, add water to it but make sure not to add excessive water.
- Now prepare the pizza balls. This is where you get to decide the thickness of the pizza; therefore, you need to make pizza balls of the same weight. If you want a thick pizza, make heavier pizza balls otherwise if you prefer a thin pizza, make lighter pizza balls.
- Pre-heat the oven before the guests start to arrive. The pre-heating time depends on your oven. If it is an old version, then it might require a bit of time, whereas, if it is a newer model, then 10-15 minutes would be sufficient. Just make sure to pre-heat the oven upto 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Now start creating circles of your preferred thickness and lay them gently over the pizza screen. If you are a beginner, you might observe some warped edges. Do not be afraid to fix them. However, make sure that you do not rip the dough.
- Shower a bit of olive oil over the cover screen. This will prevent the pizza from sticking considering that you are learning and the chances of the pizza sticking are comparatively higher.
- Once the pizza is in the oven, monitor it to make sure that it does not burn. Rotate it so that the pizza sides are equally cooked. Once the pizza is done, do not leave it sitting inside the oven. Instead, take it using a hot plate and the same goes for the pizza screen as well. Pizza screens take time to cool down, therefore, do not use water. It might disfigure the pizza screen.
As the title suggests itself, The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish is the ultimate guide explaining everything you need to know about making a pizza. From pizza dough to the toppings, every detail has been comprehensively outlined. A key feature of the book that differentiates it from others is that it allows you to create a pizza of your liking. There are no pizza standards in the book. The ingredients and techniques have been explained, while the result rests on your personal preference.
- Easy to read
- Great value
The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani makes you learn different types of pizzas such as the Sicilian, Deep-Dish, and Neapolitan, etc. This book manages to point out very intricate details regarding the cooking and baking of pizzas. If you are someone who struggles to keep the pizza quality consistent, then this is your best bet. However, be aware, you will be needing special ingredients and supplies.
- Covers nine different regional pizza styles
- Written by 12-time world Pizza champion
- Features important tips and tricks
Marc Vetri in his book Mastering Pizza focuses on making the perfect pizza available to everyone. Known for his trademark precision, Marc Vetri never goes wrong with his pizza experiments. Therefore, the recipes included in the book are a result of years of research and perfecting them. If Nutella is something you love, then you are going to learn to make a Nutella pizza as well.
- Italian recipes
- Versatile pizza tastes
- Guide to making dessert pizzas
Peter Reinhart is widely known as the master of bread. He is the author of 10 cookbooks that have received global appreciation over the years and this one is no exception as well. This book aims to make the pizza-making process a fun experience and to bring out the inner chef. Furthermore, this book takes the art and craft of making pizza to the next level. Therefore, if there was something to inspire and motivate you, nothing could top the Perfect Pan Pizza book.
- Creative cooking techniques
- Guide for home cooks
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Ken Forkish introduces yet another hit pizza-making book. This time it is Amazon’s bestseller. A major difference between Flour Water Salt Yeast and Ken’s previous book The Elements of Pizza is that this book empowers you to create top-quality bread. It sets aside the traditional bread making techniques and introduces newer and more refined methods. As a result, you get an amazing opportunity to become a bread master just by sitting at home.
- Ultimate bread guide
- New York Times best-seller
- Tested recipes
Using a pizza screen is quite easy if you were to follow the steps outlined above. Initially, you might have some trouble creating the perfect dough but that is part of the process. Make sure that you select the right size and keep yourself up to date with new techniques.
Plus, if you were to ask us, we would recommend reading The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish to understand the basics of pizza making. With different recipes to try, you will become familiar with the elements of pizza making in no time.
However, if it is the bread you need working on, then the Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish is going to be the best option. You will not only learn to create the best-quality bread but also pizza dough that will keep the pizzas rolling.