Adding a Take-and-Bake Option

QUESTION:

We want to offer a take-and-bake pizza option. What changes will we need to make to our dough formula and procedure?

ANSWER:

You can make a pretty decent take-and-bake pizza using your existing formula with the following changes:

  1. Reducethe dough absorption by 2% compared towhat you use for your fresh dough pizza.
  2. Adjust the yeast level to nomore than 1.5% compressed yeast or 0.6% instant dry yeast. I don’t recommend active dry yeast for this application.
  3. Ifyour doughfails to brownsufficiently inthe customer’shome oven,you can add more sugar to the dough formula, but this will also boostthe sweetnessof the finished crust. Abetter option is to add 5%to 6% sweet dairy whey to the dough formula. This will increase the browning of the dough/crust without boostingsweetness or requiringmore water forthe dough formula.
  4. Mix your dough for about two minutes longer than you’dspendmixingregular dough.
  5. Take the dough directly to the bench for scaling and balling after mixing.
  6. Place dough balls into dough boxes,cover and setthem aside to proofat room temperature until theycan be opened into pizza skins by your preferred method.
  7. Place the pizza skins onto disks or screens and place in the cooler on a wire tree rack. Allowthem to cool thoroughly (about 90minutes).
  8. Stack the chilled pizza skins with a piece of parchment paper separating each skin. Do not stack themmore than 10high. You should store the stacked skins in your reach-in cooler for immediate use in filling orders.
  9. To use the skins, remove one from the stack, dockitwith a pizzadocker, then placeitonto a pizza circle or in a lightly oiled,ovenablebaking tray/pan. Apply a very light coating of oil to the top of the pizza skin to help preventmigration of moisture from the sauce and toppings down into the dough, and dress to the order.
  10. Wrapyour take-and-bake pie with stretch or shrink wrap and place inside apizza box.

Make sure to providethorough baking instructions forvarious types of home ovens, a use-bydate and,most importantly,the words “Remove wrapper before baking.” You might think I’m kidding,but I’m not—people make that mistake all the time!

On a cautionary note:Don’t useraw meat orsausage as a topping on a take-and-bake pizza—it can lead to problems once the pizza leaves your store.