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Old 12-30-2009, 09:55 PM   #1
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Question PIZZA too wet and undercooked! What to do to improve?

What's the secret of baking the restaurant pizza?

OK.... here is the condition:

My dough is good... When I bake a few minutes more than what's call for, the dough starts to get hard and the cheese starts to get burned. When I bake the exact time as what the recipe calls for, the dough is done, but the toppings are NOT well cooked. When I have pizza hut, papajones, dominos, etc... , ALL of these pizzas have well-cooked toppings. The toppings are dry, yet the cheese are not burned but brown in spots. Why is it so? If the toppings are well cooked, how come the dough is not getting tough or hard?

My pizzas taste very good and almost too fresh and raw compare to these pizzas from the restaurants. How come the sauce on my pizza is not dry out yet when the pizza is done already? I know that using drier sauce would help, but are there any other options I can try for the sauce?

Thanks

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Old 12-30-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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8-1/2 minutes at 500 degrees on a preheated pizza stone in the middle of the oven. That's the formula that I've been using for years and it's never failed, no matter what kind of pizza, (except deep dish).
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:46 PM   #3
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I like to pre-cook my toppings first.

Some, like mushrooms, are full of water. When you cook the pizza, the water seeps out and makes the pizza soggy. The places you mentioned are using canned or otherwise cooked mushrooms, that's why they don't leech water all over the pie. Sauteing them before adding them to the pizza gets rid of the excess water and keeps them from getting mushy on top of the pizza.

Sausage and pepperoni are very high in fat. When they bake, the fat melts and makes the pizza greasy and 'wet'. Place pepperoni between sheets of paper towel and nuke it for a few seconds to remove some of the grease. Fry up bulk sausage or hamburger in a skillet for the same reason.

Pizza ovens are hundreds of degrees hotter than your home oven. That has a lot to do with the quality of the crust. Use the highest temperature your oven can reach, and use a pizza stone if you have one.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:37 AM   #4
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I see! Thanks
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
I like to pre-cook my toppings first.

Some, like mushrooms, are full of water. When you cook the pizza, the water seeps out and makes the pizza soggy. The places you mentioned are using canned or otherwise cooked mushrooms, that's why they don't leech water all over the pie. Sauteing them before adding them to the pizza gets rid of the excess water and keeps them from getting mushy on top of the pizza.

Sausage and pepperoni are very high in fat. When they bake, the fat melts and makes the pizza greasy and 'wet'. Place pepperoni between sheets of paper towel and nuke it for a few seconds to remove some of the grease. Fry up bulk sausage or hamburger in a skillet for the same reason.

Pizza ovens are hundreds of degrees hotter than your home oven. That has a lot to do with the quality of the crust. Use the highest temperature your oven can reach, and use a pizza stone if you have one.
Excellent post!
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
I like to pre-cook my toppings first.

Some, like mushrooms, are full of water. When you cook the pizza, the water seeps out and makes the pizza soggy. The places you mentioned are using canned or otherwise cooked mushrooms, that's why they don't leech water all over the pie. Sauteing them before adding them to the pizza gets rid of the excess water and keeps them from getting mushy on top of the pizza.

Sausage and pepperoni are very high in fat. When they bake, the fat melts and makes the pizza greasy and 'wet'. Place pepperoni between sheets of paper towel and nuke it for a few seconds to remove some of the grease. Fry up bulk sausage or hamburger in a skillet for the same reason.

Pizza ovens are hundreds of degrees hotter than your home oven. That has a lot to do with the quality of the crust. Use the highest temperature your oven can reach, and use a pizza stone if you have one.
Good info, so no need to waste effort to make a pizza like the one's of a resturant.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:05 AM   #7
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Sometimes things sound plausible at first, but when you really examine them... well, they just don't hold up, like having to precook pizza ingredients.

Mushrooms, for instance, DO NOT contain a lot of water, at least not enough to make a pizza soggy. Most pizzas I deal with, homemade or Pizzeria, use fresh mushrooms, which are very dry. Only canned mushrooms are wet, and even then there is a layer of cheese and usually some sort of sauce between them and the pizza dough. Besides, the 450-500 degrees of the oven very quickly evaporates whatever moisture they had. No source for sogginess here.

Sausage and pepperoni are high in fat, BUT ounce for ounce, they have only 1/4 the fat content of most cheeses. Pre-sliced pepperoni will hardly release any grease in the short time that it's baking - hardly worth any effort to blot it up before placing on the pizza. Grease is flavor, and whatever you decide about pepperoni or pea-size sausage balls would apply to bacon as well, and I don't know anyone who would ruin a pizza by rendering bacon before baking and have it come out like artificial baco-bits! And again, there is a layer of cheese and sauce between them and the dough. No source for sogginess here either.

Crunchy crust requires 1.) A proven pizza crust recipe 2.) The shortest amount of time between adding toppings and getting it into the hot oven; and 3.) high temp on a stone.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:24 AM   #8
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Pre-sliced pepperoni will hardly release any grease in the short time that it's baking
While I agree that there is not much point in pre-cooking your toppings, I do not agree that pre-sliced pepperoni will hardly release any grease. I have seen what seems like swimming pools full of grease come out of pepperoni on pizzas. I have no problem with grease on my pizza so it does not bother me, but I have friends who will blot their pizza, especially when ordering pepperoni for this very reason. The paper towels they use (and often times it takes multiple paper towels for one slice) are soaked in grease when they are done.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:27 AM   #9
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Maybe I've been using cheap pepperoni!
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:39 AM   #10
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Or maybe you are using the good stuff
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:55 AM   #11
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I like to prebake my crust then add the toppings and return it to the oven til cheese melts.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:29 PM   #12
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One thing you might do is take a look at the cheese you are using. Some burns more easily that others. Provolone burns more quickly than mozzerella. I spent years learning to make decent pizza in a home oven and finally got it figured out - here's what works for me in an electric oven (gas is trickier). I don't precook the crust - there is no need and I avoid browned cheese.

Use an aluminum pizza pan that has been seasoned to be black on the bottom (this takes time)
Cook in 450 degree oven on bottom shelf.
Use oil and corn meal under crust (on pan). Grease pan, then sprinkle with cornmeal.
Use fairly dense (dry) dough
Assembly order matters! Add sauce (I use plain canned tomatoe sauce) sprinkle on dry seasonings, add cheese and finally toppings. Put the wettest ones on last. For me this means mushrooms and sliced onions.
Do not center load the pizza. This means no toppings (except cheese) in the very center.

About toppings: Use only mozzerella, I use fresh mushrooms which I fry in a dry pan first to remove moisture. Onions are sliced paper thin - not diced, same for peppers. I love artichokes on my pizza. I use canned but press liquid out in a clean towel.
If you lilke Parmesan cheese add it after you pull the pizza out of the oven.

Cooking: Hot oven - that is fully preheated. Don't open the door to check!

Here's my big tip.... When the pizza seems fully cooked on top (but not really brown) open the oven and slide the pizza off the pan directly onto the bottom rack. Yes - you can do this and yes, it messes up your oven a little... cook for 60 seconds more. Shove the pan back under the pizza and remove from oven. Then slide the pizza off the pan and cool on a wire rack for a few mins. This will prevent the bottom of the crust from steaming and getting soggy again.

This will give you a crispy bottom crust every time and a well cooked pizza.

Practice is fun.... you may need to do it several times to tweak for your oven :)
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:35 PM   #13
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It also depends on what type of oven you're using, too. Restaurants have big, commercial ovens that distribute heat far better than your average household oven that's ten years old.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:46 PM   #14
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It also depends on what type of oven you're using, too. Restaurants have big, commercial ovens that distribute heat far better than your average household oven that's ten years old.
That's the reason you should use a pizza stone... to provide an evenly heated surface, preheated for 30 minutes. Also, most ovens, electric and gas, can reach 500 degrees, and that's all that is needed to produce a very nice pizza in 8 minutes!

...from either the middle or top shelf.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:21 PM   #15
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I like to prebake my crust then add the toppings and return it to the oven til cheese melts.
I don't always prebake the crust.. If I roll out the dough real thin, it would not be necessary.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:24 PM   #16
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Thumbs up Pressure cooker pizza

Im using my pressure cooker a lot lately and 2 days ago i decided to try pressure cooker pizza!
Boy how i was surprised.
Is not a restaurant pizza but was really good...different and simple.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:42 PM   #17
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...
Mushrooms, for instance, DO NOT contain a lot of water, at least not enough to make a pizza soggy.
...
FYI--Mushrooms are 90% water per The Kitchen Answer Book by Hank Rubin.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:50 PM   #18
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FYI--Mushrooms are 90% water per The Kitchen Answer Book by Hank Rubin.
Actually, mushrooms are mostly air.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:46 PM   #19
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Actually, mushrooms are mostly air.
According to whom?
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:39 PM   #20
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Mushrooms on Pizza

Mushrooms are 90% water. When they are dried, they will dry to approximately 1/10 of the original weight. In pizza, you could try adding mushrooms the last five minutes of cooking if you do not want to have to wipe up the puddles that can be created by adding mushrooms in the beginning. You could also dry saute the mushrooms on a high heat or just saute and drain them on a paper towel before assemblying the pizza. I guess you could also add less stuff....but....forget I said that. One note: Mushrooms ARE pourous so do rinse them quickly and dry them on paper towel if you want to reduce liquids.

In reading this thread, the one thought that went through my mind was: in all of the years of cooking mushrooms, I've never once ended up with a pot of air after they are cooked.

~Kathleen
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