According to recent research in Physics Education— yes, conducted by a pair of physicists — you don’t have to travel all the way to Italy to get a taste of the best pizza.
While making a decent pizza may sound complicated, according to physicists Andrey Varlamov and Andreas Glatz, it’s actually quite simple — as the researchers discovered, all you need is a thermodynamic equation.
In conjunction with Italian nutrition expert, Sergio Grasso, the physicists conducted a number of experiments to determine the science behind the perfect pizza, with the findings of their experiments published under the title „The Physics of Baking Good Pizza”.
So, what are the factors involved in baking the best pizza?
Normally, the „perfect pizza” will consist of a crispy base, a golden crust, a generous serving of melted cheese, and other fresh toppings — but the most important thing is that the pizza is baked evenly.
The worst case scenario is either a pizza base that’s finished cooking before the cheese has even started to melt and the vegetables have cooked through — or a raw, pale, doughy base where your cheese has already caught.
To help cooking amateurs learn to consistently bake the perfect pizza, the researchers experimented with cooking Pizza Margheritas until they found the ideal temperature and time for a pizza to remain in the oven — and have now enshrined their findings in an equation.
Here’s how to get the perfect pizza at home
According to the calculation, if a pizza is baked in a traditional brick oven, it will be perfectly cooked in around two minutes if baked at 330 degrees Celsius.
That’s actually how pizzas are prepared in restaurants with brick ovens.
So, what’s the catch? The issue is that most don’t just happen to have a brick oven in their own home — and unless you do, you can’t simply apply the same timings and temperatures to an electric oven: in contrast to a brick oven, a metal sheet will transfer heat to your pizza much faster and cook the base and topping at different speeds.
According to the study’s authors, however, you can still make a really good pizza at home.
The trick is to use the grill function on your oven. First, bake the pizza in the oven as usual until the base is ready.
Once the base is cooked, you can set the temperature to maximum for a few seconds and switch on the grill function. According to the physicists, this will achieve a crispy base, gooey cheese, and well-cooked toppings — all without drying out your pizza.
Even if it doesn’t quite count as an authentic, stonebaked pizza, the researchers say it’s still pretty delicious in any case.