The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cast-iron Pizza crust doesn't brown properly in oven

theonlyotherandrew's picture

Cast-iron Pizza crust doesn't brown properly in oven

I've been trying to make pizza using a cast-iron pan, and I just can't get the crust to come out right. It has an okay flavor, but the crust doesn't brown at at all before the rest of the pizza surface is browned.

I'm using a normal oven, at ~500 degrees, I've tried the middle rack and lowest rack, but the problem still exists. Is there anything I can do to get the crust to come out like a normal pizza? Thanks!

BobBoule's picture

Try a longer preheat of the oven. I found that I can use a cold (room temperature) cast-iron pan and just putting my dough with toppings on it and just sliding that into the 500º oven works well for me. I did go to a half hour preheat of my oven to make it work correctly. I also have a pizza store in the lower rack (I never use it any more because it doesn't work for me, so I leave it in there, assuming that it adds some thermal mass to the interior).

David R's picture
David R

... ensuring that you have some very good oven mitts, and then preheating the pan (in the oven) before you use it. Iron takes considerable heating time to get up to temperature, which means you can experiment with shorter or longer preheat to try to change things. If the bottom of the crust burns when the top is still white, you know you've gone too far. 🙂

trailrunner's picture

i bake pizza in my iron skillets all the time. The bottom gets wonderfully brown every bake. I sometimes bake upper rack and sometimes lower so that isn’t it and I always use “00” Caputo but not 100% I use semolina for 1/2 the flour. The only thing I can think of that you didn’t mention is oil. I put a good Tbsp of olive oil in the skillet before I put in the dough. Then I put the very very high hydration dough in and gently press it around let it rise and then top and bake at 500 for about 20-25 min. This “ fries” the bottom crust . This is basically how they make Detroit pizza but they use butter with their olive oil. There shouldn’t be any reason to preheat the skillet for sure or have a stone etc. my 100 yr old skillet is really thin but I sometimes use a much thicker one and crust is still crisp. I can’t think of anything else to look at except the oil and the flour. No bottom crust pic but it’s darker than the upper part you see. Good luck 

David R's picture
David R

...of pizza just don't come out right when you use oil in this way. And if you're not using oil and not adding (much) sugar, then lots of heat becomes the only browning tool you have left.

ds99303's picture

I remember seeing something on tv several years ago about a place in Chicago that specializes in deep dish pizza and I distinctly remember they put the cheese directly on top of the crust before adding any sauce or other toppings so it wouldn't burn.  I also remember the meat topping was put on raw and not pre-cooked.