Baking pizza without my stone - worked better!
So, I've tried several times to make pizza with my baking stone, never achieving much success. I could never get the dough to be properly cooked on the inside without burning the rest (although I just read baltochef's thread and haven't tried the tip on room-temp ingredients yet). I then moved to a camper in downeast Maine for the summer and didn't bring my stone. Today, I tried to make pizza, and it turned out to be the best I've ever made! Here was the baking technique:
I used Peter Reinhart's Napoletena recipe, but any one would work just fine. The dough was very wet since it was 70% hydration and I used AP instead of bread flour. I cooked the pizzas on parchment on a cookie sheet for 8 minutes, then took the cookie sheet out and put the pizzas (still on the parchment) back in the oven, directly on the rack. I let them cook for another 5 minutes like that, then removed them to a wire rack for cooling. The result was crispy, but not burnt, with a fully cooked airy crust.
I figure this worked out so well because of the odd oven design. It's gas, with a single burner at the bottom of the oven. So the pizza was never cooked with direct heat from above. The cookie sheet then shielded the bottom, allowing for the pizza to get extra cooking time without either the toppings or crust burning during the first 8-minute segment. Another thing I've noticed is that my crusts are always thicker than the ones in classic italian pizza, probably because I'm not very good at stretching them out thinly. If I was able to do that I might've gotten better results with my stone.
Anyway, it's just something interesting for people to try - and a nice exercise in working with what you've got.