Q: We have a small store in a high-traffic location and would like to offer an early-morning breakfast item. Any suggestions?
A: How about a small, individual-size breakfast pizza or breakfast calzone? To make a breakfast pizza, size your dough to make a 6” or 8” pizza (thin crust seems to work the best). Brush the surface of the dough skin with melted butter and add a thin layer of hash brown potatoes or rehydrated shredded potatoes. Then apply breakfast sausage, tomato slices, onion, red and green bell pepper slices, and bacon pieces. Top the pizza off with a light application of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Bake it as you’d bake a regular pizza.
To make a breakfast calzone, pin the dough out, using a rolling pin or pie pin, to about 8” in diameter. Wet the edge of the dough lightly with water and apply a filling made of sautéed onion, red and green bell peppers, precooked breakfast sausage, mushrooms and a scrambled egg. Fold the dough over the filling to create a calzone and firmly crimp the edge to seal closed. Carefully cut two vents in the top of each calzone and brush lightly with whole milk. Bake the calzone until it turns golden-brown. As soon as the calzone comes out of the oven, brush it with melted butter and place it under a heat lamp to keep it warm for sale. Place your calzone in a paper sleeve and offer it with a cup of coffee—now you have a ready-made breakfast for people on the go!
Q: I’m seeing a lot of products designed to hold the pizza up off the bottom of the box or pizza circle; this supposedly helps to retain crispiness. Do any of these products actually work?
A: We tested this concept back in the early 1980s by putting the pizzas on a diamond-point cake plate to hold the pizza up off the plate. Indeed, it did help the pizzas maintain their crispiness longer.
Anything we can do to increase the air circulation under the pizza while it’s in the box can help maintain crispiness. Some of these products also help by absorbing some of the oil on the bottom of the pizza, making for a more consumer-friendly presentation. My advice would be to evaluate products from several manufacturers and pick the one that works best for your restaurant.