Pre-baking means rolling out or stretching the pizza dough and putting it in the oven for a few minutes to firm it up and dry it out a bit.
While the government has not funded any multi-million dollar studies on this subject (we're sure we would have heard about that), for a mere $50 thousand, we will tell you that pre-baking "depends."
Prebaking is a good idea when you have several ingredients, or ingredients that are wet or will get wet when heated (e.g., zucchinis, yellow squash, tomatoes, or vinaigrette-based sauces, etc.). The pre-bake helps the crust remain firm and crispy when all of the ingredients are settling.
If you plan to use a pizza stone (also known as not putting your pizza on a pizza pan), if you plan to roll out a thin crust, or if you will be using more than just cheese on your pizza, then you should pre-bake. Prebaking is a good idea when you have several ingredients, or ingredients that are wet or will get wet when heated (e.g., zucchinis, yellow squash, tomatoes, or vinaigrette-based sauces, etc.).
If you are planning on a thicker crust and you will be using a pizza pan to support the pizza and you will be piling on lots and lots of great stuff on top of the pizza (underneath the pizza is such a challenge) and you are planning a longer time in the oven, then pre-baking is not that important.
How long? Pre-baking is typically a matter of minutes. A very thin crust in a 550 degree oven on a pizza stone on the bottom rack, is about two minutes. Lower temperatures (375 degrees to 425 degrees), middle rack, on a pizza pan, might go 4 to 5 minutes. Watch the dough and as it gets dry, a little bread aroma fills the kitchen, and you see hints of browning on the edges of the crust, it's time to pull the crust from the pre-bake. Try a few pre-bakes and see how you like them.
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I have been and always will be fond of pizza. Live long and preposterous (often misquoted in the popular press).