Everybody loves pizza, but not everybody can successfully make a good pizza. Most people have high expectations when they first start making it and are often let down with un undercooked, soggy, or burnt pizza base.
The majority of beginners try and fail a few times before giving up and thinking that they just can’t make pizza, but it’s really not hard once you start to understand what’s going wrong.
If your pizza base is burning and you don’t know why then don’t fret as the solution generally isn’t anything complicated.
In most cases, a burnt pizza base is being caused by high heat coming from beneath the pizza. To prevent this, you can move the pizza higher up, lower the temperature of your oven, or add a buffer between the pizza and the heating element so it’s not getting intense direct heat.
There are a few other reasons that may be causing your pizza base to burn and fortunately, they have very simple fixes.
Once you figure out what you’re doing wrong, you shouldn’t have a problem making a better pizza on the next try.
Here’s What’s Causing Your Pizza Base To Burn And How To Stop It
The most difficult part of fixing your problem is figuring out what’s causing it in the first place. Many people just go through trial and error to figure out what’s causing them to burn their pizzas in the first place, but that can waste a lot of perfectly good pizza this way.
To make your life easier and help you solve the problem faster, here are the main causes of a burnt pizza base.
Your Pizza Is Too Close To The Heat Source
If your home oven’s main heating element is on the bottom, this is the most likely cause of your pizza bases burning, especially if the pizza is being baked on a low rack.
Since the heating element is below the pizza, the base of it will be getting very direct heat, which will heat up the pizza tray too much and cause it to cook too quickly, which will lead to it burning.
The best solutions are to place the pizza higher up in the oven, use a lower temperature, or add a buffer in between the element and the pizza to minimize direct heat.
There’s Excessive Flour On The Base
If you’re at all worried about your pizza sticking to the peel, you’ll be tempted to heavily flour both the pizza and the peel, but this isn’t necessary and it’ll only cause problems.
Flour on its own can burn easily when exposed to high heat, so if you’re coating your dough in it, it’s just going to burn.
There are alternatives like cornmeal or semolina that people like to use instead, but both of these can burn too.
Try to only use as much flour as you need and you should notice better results.
Sugar In The Dough Is Encouraging Too Much Browning
Sugar can be useful in some pizza dough to help you get a more golden crust, but it’s definitely not something that you need, especially if you’re using a high heat pizza oven.
Some people like to add it because it both improves browning and can help the dough rise faster, which is ideal for a very basic pizza. The issue is that it can go wrong if you add too much.
Since the sugar increases the rate of browning of the dough and the base of the pizza is on a very hot surface, it can actually cause it to overbrown or burn very quickly.
Think about how much sugar you’re adding and if you really need any at all.
Ways To Stop Your Pizza Base Burning
Now that we’ve gone through the main causes of a burnt pizza base, let’s go more into detail about what you can do to prevent that burning next time.
You’re going to want a pizza that’s baked better, so follow these tips to prevent the burning and you should be more successful next time.
Bake The Pizza Higher Up
This one applies to those who have a bottom heating element in their oven. This can be a big problem when baking anything for long periods of time or over high heat, but there’s one very simple and easy solution.
By just moving the pizza to a higher point in your oven, you’re increasing the distance that the heat needs to travel, so the base of it will be getting less direct heat and is, therefore, less likely to burn.
Buffer The Direct Heat
Again, this one is for those who have a bottom heating element in their oven.
If your pizza base is still burning even after you move it to a higher position in the oven, the next step would be to use some sort of buffer between the heating element and pizza.
By using a buffer, you’re lessening the amount of direct heat that gets to the pizza base, so it is less likely to burn during baking.
Here are some examples of buffers you can use, from least effective to most effective:
- Parchment Paper
Using a few layers of parchment paper between your pizza and baking tray/stone will reduce some of the heat and help combat any burning.
It’s not the most effective way to do it, but it’s better than nothing.
- Aluminum Foil
Once you can see that the bottom crust has firmed up, you can take a few layers of crinkled aluminum foil and slide it underneath. It’s important that it’s crinkled so it creates a larger area between the baking tray/stone.
You can just scrunch up some aluminum foil into a ball, unravel it, and put it under the pizza after a few minutes of baking.
- Baking Trays
If you have multiple baking trays sitting around, you can use these to reduce the amount of heat that gets to the base of your pizza.
You simply need to stack multiple trays together to create a barrier between the intense heat of the heating element and the pizza.
Just bake the pizza on a tray at the top of these stacked baking trays.
- Baking Stone/Steel
Getting a large baking stone or steel to put above the bottom heating element will heavily reduce direct heat and allow the base to bake without such intense heat.
You can either put the baking stone or steel on a rack right above the element or you can put it higher up so you can bake the pizza on it. It’s down to you to figure out which is more effective.
Dust Off Excess Flour
As I’ve mentioned, you need to avoid baking your pizza when it has too much flour on it or you’re asking for it to burn easily.
You can either use less flour when shaping and on the peel, or you can just dust off any excess flour before you put it on the peel.
You want to keep enough on the pizza to prevent it from sticking, but a light dusting/shaking of the dough should get any excess off. If you’ve got a good pizza peel, it should minimize sticking even with minimal flour.
Avoid Adding Sugar
Sure, sugar can be useful for some people, but it’s not necessary at all.
If you want to make good pizza that doesn’t burn easily, avoid adding anything else except the basic flour, water, salt, and yeast.
If you see your pizza isn’t browning enough without sugar, you can either add a small amount of sugar to the dough next time or brush the crust with oil to help promote a golden-brown crust.
Turn Your Oven Temperature Down
Your oven might actually be running hotter than you think. You see, over time oven thermostats can become less accurate, so it might just be your oven’s fault.
It’s a good idea to turn the temperature down slightly if you notice that it’s browning too quickly, especially if you’re making a thick-crust pizza.
Rotate The Pizza Regularly
If you’re using an actual pizza oven, it’s important to turn the pizza regularly during baking.
Turning it regularly helps it to cook evenly and moves the base around so that it doesn’t stay in one hot spot for too long.
This isn’t always needed when using a regular home oven, but you might want to rotate your pizza if it’s browning too much on one side.