Pizza Screens--What's the Deal?

They must work, else they wouldn’t be ubiquitous. But under what circumstances and conditions do they work best or to no betterment? Home oven temps (500F and below)? Atop a pan, steel or stone? Are they indicated for frozen or take-n-bake, or better for scratch? Is there a pizza style at which the excel?

Or is it just easier to get the pie on and off a screen?

Who knows screens?

The above is the reason for using a screen. You get better results launching directly onto a stone or steel (or deck) where the dough is in direct contact with the surface.

From the article:


Pizza screens used in a pizza oven are a potential first indicator for us that some places most likely won’t make really great pizza as described @Mr_Happy

1 Like

It’s the pizza equivalent of using a Jaccard.

OK, that makes total sense, but is that all of it?

I ask because my experience using a steel in a home oven is that the toppings often lag behind the crust. Is it possible that, by slowing the crust, a screen better balances the cook? Or, in other words, can a a screen better balance a less-than-ideal oven for pizza?

1 Like

Depending on the size of your pizza, the style, dough hydration, oven temp etc, a steel might be TOO hot. I’ve certainly seen folks complain of similar issues on the r/pizza reddit.

If you’re doing a Neapolitan style with a REALLY hot woodfired oven (800 deg or more) a steel probably WILL char your bottom before any toppings get a chance to cook.

My oven only goes to 525 (F), so this pizza screen is about the only way I can make (something close to) NY Style Pizza (Sunshine’s favorite).

For the record, I use Adam Ragusea’s recipe (youtube) for the dough/pizza.

I did have to experiment with cook times, when to turn the pizza and which rack height to use. It seems every oven is a little different, so some trial and error is required.

As a tip… I spray my pizza screen with a little non-stick spray prior to laying the dough on top. I take the pizza screen outside, hold it with one hand and spray it with the other. This keeps my “kitchen cleanup” to a minimum, as I don’t want cooking spray all over the place.


One more pizza pic… just for fun!!

And I don’t use a pizza stone or steel, just place the screen on my oven rack (second from the bottom position).

If memory serves, I got this 16" pizza screen at Walmart for about $15.00.


If/when the weather is such that going outside to spray the screen isn’t fun, try doing it over your open dishwasher. Similarly reduces kitchen cleanup and no need to put on pants to step outside. :slight_smile:


Good tip… thanks!!

Yeah, I was referring to a home oven which I can’t seem to get much above 500F. With the steel and a long preheat, I can get good leopard spotting on the crust at about 3 minutes, but as I said, the toppings lag behind. If indeed screens lengthen the bottom cook time, perhaps there’d be better balance.

Interestingly, I surmise that this top/bottom imbalance can also be an issue with pizzas done in kamado kettles, even at much higher temperatures. Opening the thing apparently bleeds off too much heat. That would explain the number of specialty pizza “wedges” designed for kamados.

Fwiw I use some unglazed ceramic tiles I bought at Home Depot (for the price of a single pizza stone I got a box of 30 or so.)

They work great, and should one break, I just swap in a new one.

I also tend to stick to styles that are more home oven temp friendly (namely, Chicago deepdish and tavern, which both cook around 450-500)

I think steels get VERY hot indeed, and tend to transfer their heat faster than stones.

Do you have a top broiler? I have one in my oven and turn it on when making the pizza. I’ve been making NY style pizzas with home oven temps and have not had the toppings lag behind with a steel, which is on the top rack. They take around 5 minutes to bake. My oven goes to 550 and I preheat it for at least an hour.

Posted these a while back in the pizza thread


That temperature should be fine for NY style with a stone or a steel. If given the choice I would personally get a steel (and did) because of its better heat conductivity and also because unlike a stone, it will never break.

Most NY style pizza are baked in 500-550 gas oven, so your home oven is in the correct range to bake it without a pizza screen. What hydration % are you using for the dough ?

Yes, I do. And I use it, and still have the lag with a 3 minute pie.

I took the time to learn to use the broiler to get the steel hotter than the oven will get. The IR says the steel’s closer to 600F. Even with the broiler on High and a fairly high rack position, the issue continues. There’s just not enough radiant heat coming from the oven enclosure.

If I’m limited to a 5 minute pie where the crust is slowed by a screen, that’d be OK. 3 minutes may be a bridge too far.

I’ll see if cooking on the BGE helps.

This is my method as well.

I follow Adam Ragusea’s recipe and just keep the dough as wet as possible and still work with it/knead it.

We both like the higher hydration doughs.

the thousand ton elephant in the pizza parlor presents an ‘issue’
how do you like your pizza crust?

set aside all the rabid bits attached to some regional pizza style . . . .

I use a (downsized) Jamie Oliver recipe - mix of bread flour and semolina - a 53% hydration.
my pizza has a outer crust “size” of roughly 3/4 inch - the inner bits are ‘the toppings’

I preheat a baking stone at 500’F for ~ one hour.
I push out / roll out the dough to a circle = the round parchment paper circle.
I use parchment paper because my “peel” skills utterly suck - and my kitchen island to oven does not remote enable a long peel handle…

when the dough is spread out to the diameter + a bit, the dough goes onto the parchment paper, all the toppings go on the dough. the edges of the dough are ‘crimped up’ to contain the sauce/toppings.

I use a flat cookie sheet inserted under the parchment to ‘insert’ the pizza round into the oven onto the stone.

I, for one, do not endeavor to produce a pizza with a blacken crust. I like ‘done toppings’ with a golden crispy crust and a crispy bottom.

there is no “right” - there is no “wrong” - it is entirely an issue of “what you like”!

using the parchment paper makes it really easy sans peel skills - to move the ‘just decorated’ pizza to the stone, off the stone on to a cooling grate - slide off the paper! - leaving any kind of ‘barrier’ under the crust will let it continue to cook/steam and make the crust ‘no longer crisp aka soggy’

preheating the stone ~one hour at 450-500’F is veddy good. after the pizza-on-the-parchment hits the stone, makes a brilliant crust puff.
but . . . I find it necessary to reduce the oven to 450-475’F to finish the bake -
okay, I admit . . . it’s a 10-11 minute bake time - not a 40 second 800’ bake cycle . . . .
my primary ‘thing’ is not how fast I can bake a pizza, but more something like ‘how’d that work out?’

perhaps a bit out of step with current trends, but the ability to bake a pizza in 60-80 seconds is actually not much of a concern for me, personally…


At the time I purchased my pizza screen, pizza steels were a lot more expensive.
Now… I just saw one on Amazon for $28 + $8 (shipping), it appears they have come down in price from when I first contemplated getting one.