When first learning to make homemade pizzas, many problems crop up in your first few tries. Indeed, it can be a frustrating experience and the tastiness of the resulting pie is questionable at best. The key to avoiding such problems is preventing them before they start.This is never more applicable than when your pizza melted in oven.
Consider this your official troubleshooting guide. We’ll give tips on how to prevent this phenomenon as well as what to do when the melting is in progress and how to clean the mess.
When you finish reading, you’ll walk away a wiser and more savvy domestic pizzaiolo. If you can keep them in mind, you’ll never deal with a pizza melted in oven ever again.
The best way to avoid the unfortunate occurrence of a melted pizza in your oven, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Consider the following checklist of common culprits:
- Make sure your oven is hot enough; set it to at least 500°F.
- If you’re using a pizza or baking stone, heat it up inside the oven to guarantee everything is piping hot.
- Unless you’re putting in a frozen pizza, do not put frozen fresh made dough onto oven racks. Only put frozen pizzas directly on the rack. Homemade pizzas should sit on a baking stone, pizza pan or baking sheet.
- Don’t overload your pizza with toppings and sauce, especially cheese. While you want things gooey, you don’t want to cause an avalanche when the ingredients heat up.
- Make sure there’s a slight upward lip on the outer edge of the crust to ensure toppings stay where they belong.
- When you put sauce on your pizza, don’t go all the way to the edge of the crust unless you’re using a deep dish.
- Check to see that your dough recipe isn’t too soggy or that the mixture isn’t too dry. Dry dough happens because of over dusting your work surface during the crust’s formation. Avoid using too much dusting flour.
Stop a Melting in Progress
If you believe you’ve done all the points above and still witness your pizza melting as it’s cooking, there are some things you can do. Remember, most melting in the oven occurs during the first half of the baking process. So, watch it in the beginning before walking away.
When this happens shortly after putting the pizza in, take a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and wrap it around the circumference of the pizza. Use toothpicks or meat pins to secure it in place. This acts as a wall for the dough and prevents melting over.
However, if the damage is already prevalent, remove the pizza quickly and turn off the oven. Put the pizza on a surface away from heat, where the pie will be secure and stop melting as it cools.
At this point, see if you can salvage any part of your pizza. Have all the toppings slid off or is the cheese completely dripping down the sides? Is the pizza burned around the parts that melted? Only you will be able to determine if you can save your pie or toss it all in the trash.
Cleaning Up Pizza Melted in Oven
If you have a mess in your oven from a melted pizza, do not delay in cleaning it up. The longer it stays, the harder and drier it will get. This will result in crusted on cheese, sauce and other schmaltz adhering to the heating element, the oven racks and any other areas the melted pizza touched.
If you fail to clean the oven, when you go to turn it on, you may actually cause a fire. So, review the steps below to handle your oven and any other equipment exposed to melted pizza.
1. Wait for the Oven to Cool
When your pizza is out of the oven and after you turn the oven off, wait an hour or two before you clean it. You want the oven warm enough to handle but not so hot that you burn yourself and your cleaning implements.
While you wait, refer to your oven’s user manual for specific cleaning instructions. While older models will be able to handle commercial cleaners, modern ones may require your use of the self-cleaning function. In some cases, they may recommend cleaning out what you can and then utilizing the self-cleaning feature.
2. Gather Your Implements
If you have a solely self-cleaning oven, you can skip the rest of this. But, if you must hand wash it, collect one or all of the following:
- Hard Plastic or Wooden Spatula
- Steel Wool
- Sponge with Nonabrasive Scrubber
- Scrub Brush
- Warm Water
- Commercial Oven Cleaner
3. Clean the Components
Remove the oven racks and inspect them for melted pizza particles. You can either put these in the dishwasher or wash them by hand. However, you should use steel wool to clean off the tougher parts of the stuck-on cheese, sauce, grease and/or dough.
If you have to clean your oven by hand entirely, use a good oven cleaning solution. Be sure you read the instructions and apply it to the areas most affected by the melted pizza. Let it sit for a few moments and use your scrub brush or sponge to remove the grime.
In the case you used a baking stone, clean it off with soap and water. Use the hard plastic or wooden spatula to loosen melted pizza debris on the surface. For your pizza pan, you’ll scrape off pizza gunk with the spatula and then you can use soap and water with a sponge to remove the rest.
When you notice a pizza melted in oven, there are deliberate steps you can take. Remember, prevention is the best way to avoid this unfortunate occurrence. But, if you see it happening in real time, then you’ll want to take immediate action to recoup your pizza and initiate damage control.