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Old 02-08-2015, 12:46 PM   #1
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Planning a Pizza Meal: How to minimize on-the-spot baking time?

Hello, Everybody!

I love to make pizzas at home. My favorite recipe so far is that of Peter Reinhart (see, for example, here). I make the dough ahead of time (up to 3 days), storing the dough in the fridge. Then, on the day of eating the pizzas, there is need in the following:
  • Letting the dough rest in room temperature (2 hours)
  • Shaping
  • Adding sauce and toppings
  • Baking

Until now, I've been doing all the stages from shaping and on immediately before meal-time: Shaping all the pizzas (6 of them), then starting a cycle of putting sauce+toppings and baking for each pizza: I put the shaped dough on the peel, putting sauce and toppings on it, drop it on the baking stone, and while it's being baked I'm making the next one (taking out the ready pizza with a big wooden spoon, so I don't need the peel).

As each pizza is baked for about 6-8 minutes, the whole baking process takes about 45 minutes. Making it for a family pizza meal is fine, as we start eating the pizzas one by one, taking out a fresh one once in a few minutes. That means that during the meal I'm busy with pizza making. Therefore, I was wondering if there's a way of shortening this time for having a pizza meal while hosting other people, letting me to be part of the meal and not keep running from the kitchen to the dining room...

Maybe I can par bake the dough (with or without the sauce+toppings)? Is there any other way of doing it?

Any advice would be much appreciated, as my friends would really like to be hosted for pizza...

Thanks!
Arnon

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Old 02-08-2015, 04:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefathome View Post
Hello, Everybody!

I love to make pizzas at home. My favorite recipe so far is that of Peter Reinhart (see, for example, here). I make the dough ahead of time (up to 3 days), storing the dough in the fridge. Then, on the day of eating the pizzas, there is need in the following:
  • Letting the dough rest in room temperature (2 hours)
  • Shaping
  • Adding sauce and toppings
  • Baking

Until now, I've been doing all the stages from shaping and on immediately before meal-time: Shaping all the pizzas (6 of them), then starting a cycle of putting sauce+toppings and baking for each pizza: I put the shaped dough on the peel, putting sauce and toppings on it, drop it on the baking stone, and while it's being baked I'm making the next one (taking out the ready pizza with a big wooden spoon, so I don't need the peel).

As each pizza is baked for about 6-8 minutes, the whole baking process takes about 45 minutes. Making it for a family pizza meal is fine, as we start eating the pizzas one by one, taking out a fresh one once in a few minutes. That means that during the meal I'm busy with pizza making. Therefore, I was wondering if there's a way of shortening this time for having a pizza meal while hosting other people, letting me to be part of the meal and not keep running from the kitchen to the dining room...

Maybe I can par bake the dough (with or without the sauce+toppings)? Is there any other way of doing it?

Any advice would be much appreciated, as my friends would really like to be hosted for pizza...

Thanks!
Arnon
We grill pizza often and always pre-grill the crusts. Cuts down on the over all time, cause they can be stored in the freeze after the pre-grilling and then thawed, sauced, topped and finished.
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:30 PM   #3
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We recently attended a party where pizza was the main entre'. There were 7 of us, so it was no biggie to wait for our personal pizza. There were plenty of snacks and appetizers too.

Yes, to par baking the crusts before hand and letting them cool, and have ready for assembly. Simply stack the prepped crusts on a plate and have ready. Each person applied their own toppings. In this instance, the host did not have a pizza stone, so we put 2-3 small pizzas directly on an oven rack. ( I recognize this method defeats the purpose of owning and using a pizza stone.) While the pizzas baked, the next pizzas were topped and were placed on the 2nd oven rack and was inserted in the oven when the first ones came out.

I think if you have many people, one thing you can do is make larger pizzas, pizzeria style and simply slice in wedges as the pizza is done baking. If 2 or more people are sharing, simply divide the pizza at the place where their toppings divide. Some of us shared our own pizza anyway, to allow tastings between us.

PS I appreciate the pizza dough primer you included.
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:51 PM   #4
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Why not have everyone make their own.
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:03 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advises. So, par baking might indeed do the job, I guess. Maybe I'll try it next time still for a family meal, and if it's a success - I'll replicate it with my friends.
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