What changes do I need to make to my dough formula and procedure for a take-and-bake pie?
To make a pretty decent take-and-bake pizza using your existing formula, you just need to make the following changes:
1. Reduce the dough absorption by 2% compared to what you use for your regular pizza.
2. Adjust the yeast level to no more than 1.5% compressed yeast or 0.6% instant dry yeast. (I don’t recommend active dry yeast for take-and-bake pizzas).
3. If your dough won’t brown sufficiently in the customer’s home oven, you can try adding more sugar to the dough. But be aware that this will also boost the sweetness of the finished crust. A better option is to add 5% to 6% sweet dairy whey. This will increase the browning of the crust without boosting sweetness or requiring more water for the dough formula.
4. Mix your dough for about two minutes longer than you usually do.
5. Take the dough directly to the bench for scaling and balling after mixing.
6. Place dough balls into dough boxes, cover and set them aside to proof at room temperature until they can be opened into pizza skins.
7. Place the skins onto disks or screens and put them in the cooler on a wire tree rack. Allow them to cool thoroughly—for about 90 minutes.
8. Stack the chilled pizza skins with a piece of parchment paper separating each skin. Do not stack them more than 10 high. Store the stacked skins in your reach-in cooler for immediate use.
9. To make a pizza, remove a skin from the stack, dock it with a pizza docker, then place it onto a pizza circle or in a lightly oiled, ovenable baking tray/pan. Apply a very light coating of oil to the top of the skin to prevent migration of moisture from the sauce and toppings down into the dough. Dress skin to the order.
10. Wrap your take-and-bake pie with stretch or shrink wrap and place inside a pizza box.
Be sure to provide thorough baking instructions for various types of home ovens, a use-by date, and, most importantly, the words “Remove wrapper before baking!”