Garlic knots, recipe testing and dough to go

QUESTION:

I’d like to add garlic knots to mymenu, but I’ve tasted ones that areeither too greasy or don’t haveenough garlic flavor. Do you have agood recipe?

ANSWER:

You can very easily use your currentdough for the production of garlicknots. Cut your dough into 2-ouncepieces, roll them into 4” to 5” ropesand tie them into knots. Place theknots on a buttered sheet pan (or apan lined with parchment paper) andbrush them with garlic butter. Coverand allow knots to rise in a warm placefor about an hour. Bake them untilthey are light golden brown. After baking,brush them lightly with olive oilinfused with garlic, and sprinkle themwith garlic salt, if desired.

QUESTION:

Is there a way to test different doughrecipes without having to make a fullpizza, so I can avoid wasting cheeseand sauce?

ANSWER:

The short answer to this question is no.If you truly want to test the dough forthe purposes of making pizza, the onlyway to evaluate its function and fullpotential is to do it using at the veryleast the basic components of tomatosauce and cheese. Without using theseingredients on the dough, your evaluationwill amount to looking at thedough’s potential for making bread orrolls. When you add sauce and cheeseto the dough surface, you significantlychange the baking characteristics ofthe dough. When testing differentdough formulas, it’s important toevaluate the complete package of thismulti-component product called pizza.So go for it—treat yourself, friends orcustomers to a complete pizza whentesting different dough recipes. It’s reallythe only way to go.

QUESTION:

What’s your opinion about sellingdough balls to customers who want tomake their own pizzas at home?

ANSWER:

Your dough is what makes your pizzaspecial and may be what makes peopleseek out and buy your pizza, so this isa difficult question to answer. You canapproach this subject with two differentschools of thought. One would be:Don’t do it, because it could representthe lost sale of pizzas. But here is a secondthought: Selling your dough couldserve as a customer service-buildingexercise as long as you are makingenough profit by doing it. By sellingyour dough while having profit marginsequal to that of selling a pizza, youhave lost nothing and gained customerservice respect. Make sure that youcharge enough for the dough ball sothat you cover the cost of ingredients,labor, utilities, and wear and tear onthe machinery.

Jeff Zeak is the pilot plantmanager for the AmericanInstitute of Baking (AIB). Needmore dough advice? Visit theDough Information Center atPMQ.com/dough.