Physicists Explain Why You Can’t Make The Perfect Pizza At Home

The secret to making the perfect pizza is all in the brick oven, according to physicists who say brick can't be beat when it comes to making 'za.

Andreas Glatz - a physicist at Northern Illinois University - says the home oven just isn't suited for making the best pizza. 

"Even if you prepare [the pizza] the same way, you cannot get the same result with just your oven at home," Glatz told NPR.

Glatz recently teamed up with fellow physicist and pizza lover Andrey Varlamov to find out exactly why those vaulted brick ovens used in many Italian pizzerias are so important to the final product. Turns out, it all has to do with temperature. Italian style pizzas are typically cooked for just a few minutes at extremely high heat. We're talking 626 degrees Fahrenheit and up. As Glatz says, cooking at that temperature in a conventional steel oven just wouldn't work.

"You burn the dough before the surface of the pizza even reaches boiling, so this is not a product you will want to eat."

The problem stems from the fact that steel transfers heat too rapidly, turning slices into triangular charcoal. But brick transfers heat to the dough and the toppings differently, allowing the cheese to get gooey at one temperature while the crust gets crispy at another, higher temp. 

But if you are looking to make a great pizza at home, Serious Eats food editor Kenji Lopez-Alt suggest skipping the Neapolitan pies and going for a different style.

"No matter what you do, a home oven is not going to deliver absolutely perfect Neapolitan pizza," he says. "I would honestly choose a style of pizza that doesn't require an extremely hot oven. Maybe more of a New York-style pizza."

Either that, or you could start building a sweet brick oven in the back yard.

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