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Can I Cook Pizza in a Convection Oven Instead of a Conventional Oven?

by Fred Decker, studioD

The massive ovens in a pizzeria generate very high temperatures, whether they're conventional deck ovens or the more romantic wood-burning variety. They cook pizzas at high speed, browning the crust, cooking the toppings and melting the cheese in a relatively few minutes. Home cooks can use a number of techniques to speed their own pizzas, including the use of a convection oven over the conventional variety.

Convection Vs. Conventional

Convection ovens are built in the same way as conventional ovens, but with one major difference. They use a fan to actively circulate the oven's hot air, rather than relying on the air's own natural movement. Good models even have a separate heating element to bring hot air directly to the fan. These do an excellent job of cooking the pizza toppings and melting the cheese, shortening the cooking time by several minutes. The only drawback is that this quick cooking browns the crust poorly. The best solution is to place your pizza stone on an upper rack and preheat it under the broiler for 20 minutes before baking your pizza at its regular temperature. The hot stone simulates the pizza oven's deck, browning and crisping the crust.

About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

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