I've never made a pizza that I would consider truly outstanding. My efforts so far have yielded pies that are sometimes satisfying, but that are often mediocre, exhibiting one or another significant fault. So I'm embarking on a quest to improve my pizza making skills.
I've decided to pick one style of pizza, the American style that I'm most familiar with, and try to get good at it before tackling others. So with that as my objective, I'd like some recommendations on how to best set up my oven and stone, and some tips on prepping and the baking process for this style pizza.
My oven is gas-fired with a broiler at the top of the oven, and it has a convection fan. The maximum baking, convection baking, and broiling temperature is 550 degrees. I have a Hearthkit oven insert (cordierite) that I bake my breads and pizzas on.
How high in the oven should I position the stone for baking pizza? Should I leave the sidewalls in place for pizza, or should I remove them? What temperature should I bake at, should I use the broiler to help cook the top of the pizza during all or a portion of the bake, or should I just preheat the oven to the maximum temperature long enough to heat saturate the stone? What total baking time should I target for American style pizza?
As for prep, I've read here on this forum and on others that it is best to make the dough a day or so in advance of baking. I've never done that before, so I'm going to try it. Are there any other major prep tips to get me started down the path to success?
Thank you all for your help. This seems like a great forum, and I hope I can learn, improve, and then help others down the road.