Hot, hot oven is secret to crisp pizza crust

WHAT'S COOKING?

April 20, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Q: I like homemade pizza, but I cannot seem to get a crisp crust. What am I doing wrong?

A: Joe Ortiz, author of "The Village Baker" and co-owner of Gayles Bakery in Capitola, Calif., was an authority on this subject and always gave the following suggestions to this question: Make sure your oven is hot enough -- the greatest challenge when baking pizza in a home oven. Turn the temperature to the highest setting -- 550 degrees is not too hot. Baking bricks or tiles are also necessary for a very crispy crust. Preheat the bricks or tiles. One more tip for a crispy crust is to add a small amount of sugar, honey or malt extract (available at beer-making stores) to the pizza dough.

Q: How is candied pineapple made?

A: Candied pineapple is made by boiling fresh pineapple slices in a sugar syrup until they are translucent. The slices are then drained on racks until thoroughly dry and then sometimes dipped in additional sugar.

Q: Why do most recipes call for unsalted butter when the recipe also calls for salt? Can't I use lightly salted butter which is usually cheaper?

A: Unsalted butter is usually called for in recipes because the cream is a higher quality and contains fewer non-cream solids. Salt is used as a preservative rather than a flavor enhancer in butter and therefore can support a lesser-quality cream. That's also the reason for the lower price along with a longer shelf life.

Send questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800 (268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County, 848-0338 in Carroll County). Using a touch-tone phone, punch in 6180 after the greeting. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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