Making pizza is an art! The best pizza chefs in the world swear by it! However, we believe the most important aspect of baking pizza from scratch is mastering the process of making the pizza crust! It has to be adequately crispy and cooked perfectly, which adds to the overall essence of the pizza!
Therefore, using a pizza tray is always the best-recommended method to bake your pizza. But what if you don’t have a tray at dispense? And do you always need a tray to bake or cook a pizza? What can we use instead of a pizza tray?
We have addressed all these common concerns and questions to help you make the perfect base for your pizza at home! Read on to find out!
Can you put the pizza in the oven without a tray?
The answer is yes and no! Baking pizzas from scratch needs a tray. Frozen and pre-made pizzas can go in the oven without a tray
Pizza is generally made of 4 ingredients: water, yeast, salt and oil. You need to keep kneading the dough and stretch the pizza until it reaches the desired shape and size. Then you can add your sauce and toppings accordingly.
The dough makes for a great base but is not necessarily rigid enough to work without a tray. It is not stable until you cook it well. So, imagine placing a raw pizza dough directly on the oven rack; the dough will start dripping from between the racks, ruining the pizza on a whole!
Frozen or pre-made pizza
Frozen or pre-made pizzas are only to be reheated. The crust is already rigid enough not to fall off the oven rack because it is partially baked and packaged. Therefore, frozen pizzas do not require a tray! However, some ready-to-eat pizzas are made with raw dough, which may need a tray. Otherwise, the dough will start falling through the gaps of the oven racks.
You can use a pizza stone in the oven for the best results. These are made of ceramic that can resist high temperatures. Additionally, they add an excellent pre-kick of heat to provide even heating from the bottom of your pizza. It also reduces the cooking time, but you need to check the pizza being cooked; else, your pizza might burn. Your pizza crust turns brown and crispy upon using a pizza stone.
You can also place frozen pizzas on a pizza pan. Ensure to lubricate the pan well so that the crust does not stick to the bottom when the pizza thaws. Other options could be cookie paper, baking paper, etc., on which you can place your frozen or pre-made pizza.
What can you use as a pizza tray?
If you are baking pizza from scratch, from the dough to the toppings, etc., you need a tray or base. You need a solid, flat base to place the dough properly and distribute the heat evenly! Simply because the raw dough will fall off and start to drip from the openings of the oven racks.
The oven floor makes a solid, flat base!
The first method is to use the oven floor, usually made of brick or stone. If you pre-heat your oven, the floor gets heated up properly. Cooking pizza on the oven floor gives a light and nice texture while ensuring even cooking from the base! This allows the pizza to puff up and become crispy relatively easily!
Pizza steel or Pizza stone
Pizza steel is another solid option for a good base that provides adequate heat to your pizza. It is just like a pizza stone but is more conducive to heat. Therefore, it will cook your pizza faster. Plus, pizza steel is also easy to clean and does not shatter or break either.
If you want something in a higher price range, you can always opt for a pizza stone. The taste of your pizza will also differ if cooked in pizza stone rather than pizza steel!
Pro Tip: No matter what you use as your pizza base for cooking, always preheat the oven for good heat distribution across your pizza. Your base and your toppings would end up getting cooked really well!
Ceramic tile or baking sheet
Ceramic tile also heats up nicely. If you consider a baking sheet or a ceramic tile, make sure it is preheated again because pizza placed on a cold surface does not ensure even cooking.
That being said, you will need additional pieces of equipment like a pizza peel, pizza cutter, wooden board, parchment paper, etc., to handle the pizza with care after cooking.
Frying pan or tray
You can also use a frying pan as a base. Preheat the pan properly, and then spread the pizza dough right over the entire surface of the pan.
The heat transfers through the dough, which helps in making the base crunchy. Then spread the toppings over the dough and toss the pan into the oven close to the heating element. Pizza in a pan would taste just like a wood-fired Neopolitan pizza.
Cooking skillet or sheet pan
You can use sheet pans or skillets for making large quantity pizzas. Simply toss the dough on the pan and spread it across the corners. Then add the toppings and toss them for baking. It’s easy and ends up making very crisp pizzas in the process.
Use a skillet pan of your preferred shape or size if you want to cut and store the pizza easily. The deeper the skillet pan you use, the bigger and thicker your pizza is. The quantity suffices to serve a bigger crowd.
Grilled pizzas are also a delight to eat. Grillers are readily available for ovens, and they can also resist high temperatures. Plus, grilled pizzas give a fun shape to your pizza base and add to the crispiness of the crust.
If you have plenty of pizza boxes in your house, they can serve as an excellent base for your pizza crust. Just simply cut the pizza boxes to the size of your pizza base.
Ensure that the cardboard is hard enough to hold the dough properly and that the sauce does not stick to the base. If the pizza leaks out from your dough, it will make your pizza sticky!
Pro Tip: Sprinkle some flour on the cardboard surface to ensure that the base does not stick to the box. Keep a spatula handy to peel the pizza off immediately after it’s done being cooked!
Parchment papers are actually made for baking. So even if you can slightly adjust the shape and size and work with it, it makes an excellent base for baking pizza. Plus, you will not have to grease the paper, so it is easy to slide off the pizza and transfer it from the oven.
Tips to avoid pizza from sticking to the tray:
If you are baking a pizza from scratch and using a pan or pizza tray, the dough might stick to the base. Therefore, here are some tips you can use before it’s too late and you have spoiled your pizza in the oven:
- Spread a mixture of flour and semolina on the surface of the pan/tray or any base.
- If the pizza dough still starts sticking, lift the pizza and add some dough at the base.
- Make sure the cooking is done quickly if you are using an alternative to a pizza tray or pan because the chances of sticking are higher.
- Don’t leave the pizza unattended. Keep checking once in a while to prevent it from sticking.
Can you cook pizza on a cookie sheet?
Yes! A cookie sheet without any rims will make an excellent alternative base to baking pizza. Be careful that the pizza base is not sticking to the sheet, and you are good to go!
How do I make the bottom of my pizza crispy?
If you are using a base or a pizza tray, preheat the oven and heat the base or tray along with it. The heat from the pan transfers to the crust, making it crispy. The crispiness also depends upon the type of base you choose.
You can also consider keeping it in a lower rack of your oven and increasing the temperature by 4-5 degrees Celcius for faster and better-cooked pizzas.
What can I use instead of a pizza tray to bake pizzas?
You can use parchment paper, pizza stone, pizza steel, frying pan, cookie sheets, cardboard boxes, etc., instead of a pizza tray to bake pizza.
Baking pizza to perfection is not easy. Cooking it from scratch is very different from cooking a frozen or pre-made pizza. Having said that, one question that’s bound to strike is, can we put a pizza in the oven without a tray?
Well, frozen and pre-made pizzas can work well without a tray but not pizzas that are baked from scratch. There are various types of trays and bases that you can use to bake your pizza to perfection.
There are different pizza trays available; feel free to choose any based on your pizza’s size and cooking requirements. The best we would suggest is a pizza brick or steel pan. Let us know which base or tray works best for your pizza through the comments section below.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.