How to Char Your Crust Using the Pizzeria Pronto Oven

Char on your crust

There was a time when I thought that blackening meant you’ve burned your pizza, but these days I don’t cook a pizza without adding just a touch of char on the crust because charring adds flavor. My misconception that “black is burned” changed when I had my very first Neapolitan style pizza in New York. The pizza I ordered had a crust that was smattered in tiny black blisters, and I’ll never forget that first bite. The slight smokiness and ever-so-gentle bitterness were followed by the flavor of all the delicious ingredients piled on my pizza. So delicious! 

Technique and Tools

To get some char on your pizza crust there’s a simple adjustment you’ll need to make regarding temperature. There’s also a handy little tool we’ll be using, and it’s an aluminum pizza screen along with your Pizzeria Pronto indoor or outdoor oven. The below method is not in the Pizzeria Pronto owner’s manual – but trust me. Here’s where the pizza screen comes in. The pizza screen is a tool that allows you to slow down the rate at which the bottom of your pizza cooks.

Charring your pizza crust:

  1. Preheat oven on “High” setting for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Prepare your first pizza and slide it into the oven.
  3. Cook the pizza 30-45 seconds and remove the pizza when you start to see the bottom pick up some char.
  4. Place the pizza onto the pizza screen and return it to the oven.
  5. Finish cooking the pizza another 3-5 minutes or until the top crust and topping are cooked and cheese has melted.

When your pizza is finished, remove the pizza from the oven and off the screen using a pizza peel or heat safe mitt. Then remove the screen and let it cool on a heat safe surface as it will be very hot! Make sure the screen isn’t placed in a location where someone will touch it while it’s hot.

char on crust

This technique takes a little more attention to detail and some practice, but once you get the hang of things it might just be your new favorite method. Enjoy!



If you start to pizza on the screen how does that effect it?

doug stokes

I seem to have problem with getting a fresh pizza into the oven without using a pan…just got some King Arthur Pizza Flour maybe that’ll work better. Maybe a bigger peel?

Jim Switz

Can you elaborate a bit on why this technique works for charring or leopard-spotting? I’ve been trying to leopard-spot in my PizzaCue for a while, even flaming the crust edges with a propane torch (works, but doesn’t get the taste just right) and concluded the high, direct radiant heat of a wood-burning oven was necessary to do the trick. Charring really does take a pizza from very good to great.

So, obviously the longer preheat is the secret (I’ve been using screens at various stages of pizza baking for some time), well beyond your normal recommended limit of 15 minutes.

What’s doing it – are we preheating longer to add more thermal mass to the stones, or getting the surrounding metal shell up to a higher temp to provide radiant heat, or am I missing something?

Looking forward to trying this longer-preheat method once I get my pizza operation reestablished at my new residence. Still looking around for most things for basic living, so pizza will have to wait a bit!

Scott Borsick

Will this technique work with the PizzaQue

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