Out of all the meals in the world that people have a tendency to enjoy, pizza is one of those meals that seems to be universal.
There are hundreds of different types of pizza that people can enjoy, ranging from variants of the pizza that turn it into a sweet dessert to simple frozen pizzas that can be warmed up when you need a quick meal. In the world of cooking, pizzas are a bit more complicated than that, unfortunately.
If you are interested in the idea of cooking a pizza, you are going to want to make sure that you have the patience to handle the occasional problems that come with learning how to cook a pizza.
As you will quickly learn when you first get into pizza-making, pizzas can be incredibly fickle. In some cases, even the elevation at which you cook the pizza can have an impact on how it turns out.
Because of how problematic pizzas can be, there are a plethora of issues that new and veteran pizza cooks alike will come to face.
Some of these problems are going to be pretty easy to fix, such as realizing how much time you need to cook the pizza so that all of the toppings are crisp and that the dough is fully cooked. Other problems are not going to be as simple to fix.
One of the more troublesome problems that you will encounter is when your pizza comes out of the oven in a soggy state. Nobody wants soggy pizza, and trying to fix a soggy pizza can be problematic in it of itself.
Before you can go about learning how you can fix a soggy pizza, you are first going to want a good understanding of what causes a pizza to become soggy.
After all, you can’t really get to the root of the problem if you aren’t entirely sure what the problem at hand is being caused by.
Thankfully, soggy pizzas are a fairly straightforward problem to work with.
What Causes a Pizza to Become Soggy?
Aside from the fact that too much sauce being absorbed by the dough can cause a pizza to become soggy, one of the most common reasons why a pizza ends up being “soggy” in the center is because the pizza is actually undercooked.
Cooking a pizza properly requires temperatures that can potentially be near thousands of degrees, meaning that if you are cooking it on too low of a temperature for not enough time, then you are surely going to end up with a soggy pizza.
The goal of cooking pizza in one of the many, many precise methods that are outlined is to try and make sure that the crust gets fully cooked through, becoming chewy or even crispy dough, while allowing the cheese to melt and the toppings to brown slightly.
Cooking a pizza is a fine balance between high temperatures and not leaving the pizza in for so long that the toppings turn to charcoal.
If the pizza is taken out before the crust is done cooking, then the center of the pizza is going to become very doughy.
Depending on the sauce that you used for the toppings of the pizza, that sauce can then mix and absorb with the uncooked dough in the pizza, turning the entire center of your pizza into a soggy mess that nobody wants to eat. This is one of the biggest reasons why a pizza is going to come out of the oven in a sorry, soggy state.
Another problem that can cause soggy pizzas is a problem with the toppings. Because of the way that the toppings on a pizza cook, if there is a problem with what you put on the pizza, then it is going to affect the whole thing.
A good example of this is when people choose to put too many toppings on their pizza. The amount of toppings that you put on the pizza will heavily influence the amount of time the pizza needs to cook, but not in a way that is easy to work with.
When there are more toppings, it is harder for the heat to get down to the cheese and dough, resulting in the first problem. On top of that, to get the dough to be fully cooked, the rest of the pizza will need to be slightly overcooked, turning the pizza into a mess.
What you choose as the toppings is also going to matter greatly. Toppings that have a high-moisture content, such as tomatoes, are going to contribute to your pizza having a soggy texture, no matter if you cook it properly or not.
When choosing the toppings for your pizza, this is something that you will need to be thoughtful of so that you can prevent it from happening.
How Can You Fix the Problem?
Now that you have a better idea of what goes into a pizza becoming a soggy mess, you should now have a few ideas about what you can do to prevent it from happening. Of course, the answer that applies to you and the direction you should take will depend entirely on the source of the sogginess from the pizza.
First things first, you will want to make sure that the pizza is on the rack that it needs the most. If you have a lot of toppings, it might be worth moving your pizza to the lowest rack so that the bottom of the pizza has a chance of cooking more thoroughly while you wait for the toppings to properly brown.
The oven is always going to be the hottest at the top, which is important to remember if you have toppings that may have a high-moisture content, as this will help to dry out those toppings.
You can also make sure that you are using the right temperature for the pizza. Pizza requires a very high temperature to cook properly, with some specialized pizza ovens easily reaching between 700 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit just to cook pizza.
You should always follow instructions if you are working from pizza that comes from a recipe or from the store. Otherwise, the rule of thumb for pizza cooking is to turn the oven up as high as it will go.
If you let the sauce of the pizza stand for too long, the moisture will begin to be absorbed by the dough before you cook it. When the dough begins absorbing the pizza sauce, that moisture stays absorbed in the pizza all throughout the time that you cook the pizza in the oven.
Unfortunately, this will also result in a soggy pizza crust that you may have no idea what to do with.
When preparing a pizza and working on it before it goes in the oven, you should try and make sure that the sauce doesn’t stand idly on the pizza for too long. When you are ready to add all of your toppings, you should add them quickly so that you can prevent any excess moisture from those toppings from getting into the dough of the pizza.
As a rule of thumb for oven temperatures and pizza, the top of the oven is good for when you want to have crispy and browned toppings. Here you would place the pizza on the topmost or second topmost level of the oven so that it can still be fully cooked but the toppings can get what they need for the perfect texture.
Likewise, the oven tends to be a little bit less hot at the bottom, but it allows you to focus on the crust of the pizza. This is where many of the problems with soggy pizza happen, so by making sure you can adequately adjust the oven, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to do what you can to prevent a soggy pizza.
Speaking of toppings, as good as some of the wet ingredients can be, they may not always be suitable for a pizza that has a routinely soggy crust. If you are able to find the source of the soggy crust and remedy it, such as by purchasing a pizza oven, you can go back to working with wet ingredients.
Aside from that, you are going to want to try and minimize or completely remove wet ingredients from the list of toppings that you are going to add to your pizza. These can range from some types of vegetables and tomatoes to greasier or more oily meats that people tend to add to their pizzas.
Another thing that you can do for the sake of your pizza dough is to work with dough that is already at room temperature.
Working with cold dough might be easier in some regards, but it will mean that the oven has to work harder and longer to achieve the same effect. When this happens, you can be left with a soggy pizza.
Instead, you should try to keep your pizza dough at room temperature if you have the time to prepare it before, as this will help immensely in keeping it from getting soggy.
Following all of these instructions can help you go a long, long way in preventing your pizza from becoming soggy, making it all the more important for you to follow this. After all, nobody enjoys pizza that is soggy.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.