You’ve been cooking pizza wrong – there is a ‘correct’ oven setting

A new documentary spilling the secrets behind some of our favourite fast foods has revealed how to make shop-bought pizza taste as good as a takeaway.

In Channel 5’sSecrets of the Fast Food Giants on Thursday night (September 2) TV host Alexis Conran says the typical fan oven setting is completely wrong for cooking pizza.

The dough and topping turn out better if cooked under the grill and, to make the dough really crisp underneath, you need a “secret weapon”.

Alexis then held up a baking steel which he said was “really heavy” and absorbed heat until it was “extremely hot”.

Baking steel is not the same thing as a pizza stone, which takes longer to heat up.

Alexis Conran shows how to get a crisp pizza crust

He said: “What you do is you put this in your oven, wack it up to your top temperature [grill] in your high shelf, and what happens is that is so hot it cooks your base.

“It’s what you like, doughy, and gave the dough a time to rise because it has been cooked from the bottom.

“While the grill is melting everything above.”

Alexis cooked two identical shop-bought pizzas – one with the pre-heated pizza stone under the hot grill, and the other on a metal tray using the fan oven setting.

Alexis Conran shows how to use a baking steel to cook pizza
Alexis Conran shows how to use a baking steel to cook pizza

The pizza tasters on the show identified the fan oven pizza as “shop-bought” but were deeply impressed with the taste of the stone-baked one.

One of them gushed: “I think if this came in a Dominoes box I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, apart from the crust.

“Whereas that one [nods to fan oven cooked] tastes more like a supermarket pizza, like a frozen pizza.”

Alexis said the baking steel was a great way to get heat “you’d otherwise not able to achieve outside of a professional kitchen”.

In the same episode, the TV host spilled the beans on how to save money and get cheaper pizza takeaways.

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