The Biggest Reason Your Homemade Pizza Crust Is Too Hard

No one likes a soggy pizza crust, but one that's too hard is just as unappetizing. If you're making pizza from scratch, it can be a challenge to get the texture right, especially because there's a fine line between a perfectly crispy crust and one that's as brittle as stale bread. Your first thought might be to blame the recipe for your pizza dough or maybe your poor kneading technique, but according to The Pizza Heaven, the oven temperature is usually the culprit.

Pizza that's baked at a low temperature for an extended period will ultimately cause the dough to dry out and therefore harden. Despite the heat being set at a lower temperature, the effects are too intense. As a result, all the moisture in the dough will gradually vaporize, and by the time you take it out of the oven and let it cool, the pizza and its crust will be way too hard to be enjoyable. Other foods may benefit from low and slow baking, but pizza does not. That's why pizzerias bake their pizzas in a scorching hot oven in half the time.

How to get your pizza crispy but not hard

Unless you actually have a brick or coal-fired pizza oven at home, you unfortunately won't be able to get your pizza to turn out exactly like the ones served at the best pizzeria in Italy. The good news is, you can get pretty close if you turn your oven up higher than you normally would, per NPR. Non-commercial ovens can only reach up to 550 degrees, but brick ovens are heated to 626 degrees, allowing the temperature of the pizza to reach 392 degrees. While it's common to use a pizza stone to achieve similar results, NPR explains that this would only be effective if the oven actually reached 626 degrees. The pizza itself still wouldn't be able to reach that 392-degree sweet spot.

Instead of simply turning up your oven to its highest possible setting, however, NPR recommends using a combination of the bake and broil function. As per the website's instructions, you'll first need to preheat a steel surface — either a steel baking pan or just the bottom of the oven — to 430 degrees. Bake your pizza only until the bottom of the crust looks like it's about to burn, which will be a quick 60 to 90 seconds. Then remove the pizza from the steel surface and finish it off under the broiler.