Pizza Margherita (and a $5 DIY pizza oven)

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Step 5: The Pizza Oven and Baking

Picture of The Pizza Oven and Baking
So if you have a pizza stone- great. If you don't, here's how you can make your own brick over in under $5.

You'll need either 2- 12" pieces of UNGLAZED Ceramic quarry tile or 8 pieces of 6" tiles. Again- they ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO BE UNGLAZED. I purchased mine several years ago from a very well known chain (big box) hardware store for 50 cents a piece. That's $4+ tax for the whole thing.

I'm also using a paddle because I apparently make lots of pizza. If you don't have one,  use the back of a cookie sheet- you'll be fine.

We want to arrange the tile in the oven in two layers. The base layer will create the amazing crust we want, while the top will help increase the temperature within the pizza's area by creating radiant heat from the stones above. It will also aid in getting a beautiful, lightly burned top crust.

Place the stones into the oven while it is cold and bring up to the highest temperature possible... 500 Degree F is mine. I let the over preheat for about 45 minutes to get the stones very hot. Make sure your paddle is well floured to easily slide the pizza into the oven.

Bake for approximately 5-7 minutes.

tony.gilnett10 months ago

Use Corn meal or semolina flour instead of flour it works like all bearings. Much better than flour.

lorielle4 years ago
Nice idea! What also works well are kiln shelves, 1/4 or 1/2 ". It's a less expensive solution than commercial pizza stones. Check for local clay/pottery supply centers. This would not be economical if you had to ship the shelves, though.
Great suggestion! They're certainly unglazed, free of moisture, and made for high heat. Thanks!
45 minutes @ 500º F? For two pizzas? Definitely gets my "Let's Not Save the Planet - just yet" Black Award for 2011! Seriously, I learnt a lot from this 'ible: you can probably use just the top stones to crisp those things like instant pizzas you're supposed to put in the microwave and then enjoy the soggy result …
I tell you what if you want to "save the planet" live like you want everyone else to, live move into a cave don't use any oil or electricity and forgo all modern conveniences. when you and all the save the planet brigade have done that then I will consider it. meanwhile I love pizza and this is a great way to make it at home and still get it similar to a wood oven.
That's a really pathetic reply. Nobody is asking anyone to live in a cave or eat a stick, but there are small things people can do to reduce the amount of energy used in everyday tasks. Perhaps running an oven for 45 mins at full heat with nothing in it is a bit unnecessary and wasteful, perhaps there are quicker ways to heat up the stones.

If they were put on the stove top for example, with a metal diffuser underneath perhaps they would heat up quicker using conduction, than with just ambient heat inside the oven. I would guess that 5 mins on the stove top would use less energy than 45 in an oven. Might crack the stones, would need some testing to see if it is actually more efficient... just a suggestion.

But PLEASE, It is not about either enjoying cooking OR eating sticks and live in caves. But perhaps we can think about how we can reduce WASTE of energy if there are more efficient processes we can use.

goeddiegogogo is part of the "This is what I heard from Hollywood, so I will complain about it", crowd.

You seriously need to find out how much energy is used by a single cargo vessel on the ocean, or how much power is required to melt all those cans you have been recycling, do you know what a carbon heating rod is?

All the ovens in the United States do not come even close to the above, goeddiegogogo.
Thanks for your insight Darthgarlic. Nice name :)

Did you actually read what was said above? I am not suggesting anybody reduce their standard of living, or stop enjoying their instructable stonebaked pizza, so i don't really understand what the fuss is about...

I was talking about a way to do EXACTLY the same thing, using a little bit less energy. Is that something you need to get upset about, or is that infringing your right as an American oven owner to do whatever you want?

You can go on blaming 'The Man' and his ships and for that reason you should leave your oven on all day, i mean, why not? Recycling a can uses energy, so why shouldn't you waste as much as you want?
unfortunately most that argue "lets save the planet" are putting us in an either or situation. Saving the planet is as a very wise man once put it the ultimate in human arrogance the only thing we have that would do anything on a planetary scale are nukes running the oven once a week like this does nothing at all to comment that this is bad for the planet is to show a great deal of human hubris.
saving the planet aside, it doesn't make sense to preheat the oven for that long. Once it's reached 500F, it isn't going to get hotter. There is a thermostat and a temperature limit for a reason.
um you have to pre heat to cook it properly you can't cook by slowly warming it up it has to be hot when you put it in.
that's true. If you read my comment properly, I said that once the oven is preheated (ie REACHES 500F) then it doesn't need to heat PAST THAT. It will only waste energy MAINTAINING TEMPERATURE, not get hotter.
um if your oven is working correctly it won't go past that and depending on how big the bricks are it might take that long to get to 500 degrees and there is very little waste on a good oven maintaining the heat unless you open the door a lot.
Listen, all cooking requires energy, and pizzas are always cooked at very high heat. Even your microwave, "save-the-planet-style" cooking sucks up fossil fuel. And all things end, everyone dies, everything dies. So you nuke your cardboard with soy/msg toppings that will help Monsanto "save the earth" wink wink, and I'll follow this batch of tips, warm up my kitchen in the cold coming days, and enjoy some excellent pizza that's as close to the way my ancestors made it as can be made possible through modern conveniences, okay? Somehow I like my prospects for "improved quality of life" a bit better--but to each his/her own.
This is an excellant idea and plays off another I saw for cooking meat using the fabulous benefits of radiant heat to cook more evenly and OPTIMIZING the heat generated by your oven. It will actually use a bit LESS energy to keep the stones hot vs. the regular oven walls that bounce the heat around your food in an uneven manner.

You can use a large terra cotta planter (unglazed ofcourse) sitting on a tile or the planter base bowl thing you put under it to catch water when using for a plant). Turn it upside down so it rests on the tile or planter base and you now have a true brickoven replica for whatever will fit within the planter. A 14" diameter pot fits in my oven.

BTW: Make your terra cotta-brick oven stones/cookware resistant to food splatters cooking onto it by using cooking oil on a paper towel and rubbing all over the inside of the pot before heating it in the oven.
kanderson223 years ago
I can't actually believe this debate. Seriously people? I'm in the eat a stick camp.

I love this frugal and creative idea.
randyjabel4 years ago
What works really well on your paddle, or "spit" as it's called in the pizzeria, is corn meal. Corn meal acts as "pizza wheels", enabling the raw crust to slide right off, and then for turning it if you decide to do so. It also adds that extra pizzeria-style texture to your crust. Awesome!
W6LSN4 years ago
When cooking inside (electric) I allow oven to heat @500 - 550F for two cycles... in other words allow thermostat to turn off the elements two times (initial heat, then one more) and It's ready to go.

I cook on the gas grill outside in summer; Even winter sometimes if I want to add wood chip flavor. With all burners on HIGH  I can get well over 600F.

In both cases, I turn the heat down once pizzas are in place. This is because family prefers slightly thicker crust and it burns before it cooks through at the higher temps.

Lots of ideas at my blog -> http://w6lsn.com/blog search for "pizza" This is overall an Excellent article!!
Exocetid4 years ago
If you have a gas oven, you can put the tile(s) right on the bottom panel, they will protect the crust from the metal and flames underneath. Then, put the upper tile(s) on the bottom rack. This will make a "mini-oven" right at the heat source. Now, take your IR thermometer, which I know you have as any serious science-chef does, and use it to determine when the bottom tile(s) are at their max. This will happen long before the whole oven gets there.
paulbeard4 years ago
Just used my gas grill and pizza stone last night (with home made dough and a no-cook sauce, as I discovered I was out of prepared sauce). Was thinking of how to get the same heat over the top as I do from the bottom. Either making a frame (w angle irons?) to hold quarry tiles as you do here, or possibly permanently mounting them in the grill's lid come to mind as options.