Pizza Perfect

How to achieve a pillowy crust and golden edges.

Todd Coleman

To make a pizza with a pillowy crust and golden edges like the Neapolitan-style pies served at Pizzeria Mozza in Hollywood (see Mighty Fine Pie), you need good ingredients and a little practice. And you need heat. Serious heat. At Mozza, that heat comes from a wood-burning oven that can reach 700 degrees. Most home cooks don't have a wood-burning oven, and neither does the SAVEUR test kitchen. So, when we started testing the recipe for Mozza's squash blossom pizza (see Squash Blossom Pizza), the first tool we got out was our Old Stone Oven-brand pizza stone: a heavy, rectangular firebrick slab that sits on the oven rack, absorbing and radiating heat. First we tried baking the pie on the stone using the broiler, but that method yielded overcooked toppings and an underdone crust. Next time around, we heated the oven to 500 degrees and allowed the stone to heat up for a full hour before putting the pizza in. After an hour, the superheated stone had reached a temperature of 550 degrees (we checked using an infrared culinary thermometer). The results? A splendid pizza, with a puffed-up crust from the intense ambient heat and a nicely charred bottom, from the hot stone.