Bake issues/B. Pride, screens

I’m trying to resolve some issues for a new shop- for the moment, they’re using frozen dough on screens in Baker’s Pride stone deck ovens with the heat dimed (knob says 650, not sure of the actual temp).

  1. I’ve never worked with frozen dough before, and it has been challenging. It comes in 24 ounce bags, and they were dividing it into 2 12-ounce portions and trying to stretch it with rolling pins. It was like rubber.

I’ve been dividing and rounding the dough as soon as it thaws, then placing it on aluminum sheet pans and covering with plastic wrap to allow some time for it to relax. I’m still trying to figure out how long to proof the dough before using and how long I can keep it at room temp before it becomes unusable, but just these few changes have already made things much easier. If anyone has any suggestions or handling tips for working with frozen dough, I’m all ears!

  1. The bake is coming out a bit soggy. I have a strong feeling that they’re baking too hot (the owner saw a TV show that glamorized 900° bakes, and now he wants it as hot as humanly possible, even though his product is medium thickness and heavily topped), but he won’t let me try baking off at a lower temperature.

To make matters even more frustrating, he gets angry at even a hint of darker brown- he’s pulling pies from the oven that look under-done to me, and he’s calling them burnt.

If anyone has any tips on baking temps, times and/or techniques for a medium-thickness pizza on screens in a stone deck oven, I’d be very grateful!

Any tips or suggestions for working with frozen dough would also be very much appreciated!

My experience has been if you are getting soggy pizzas you need to lower the temperature and increase the cooking time. Remember that TIME COOKS and TEMPERATURE BROWNS. Those 900* shops are producing a very thin crust sparsely topped pizza. Have a look at this menu. There are very few pizzas with more than one topping.

Very eloquently said. That’s exactly what I’m thinking, but it’s nice to have the assurance that I’m on the right track. Any recommendations on the temperature?
Thanks so much for the advice!

Also, if you are trying to open a frozen dough that is not properly conditioned and ready to be opened into pizza skins (dough is tough and rubbery) there is a better than even chance that you are over working the dough and essentially degassing the dough resulting in a dense, heavy finished structure that would typically be considered as tough and chewy on its best day. The best way that we have found to work with frozen dough is to slack it out in the cooler for 24-hours, bring it out of the cooler for 1-hour then scale and ball it, place the dough balls onto a sheet pan or in a plastic bough box, wipe the top of the dough balls with salad oil, cover and allow to cold ferment in the cooler for another 24-hours. Remove the dough balls from the cooler and allow to warm to 50F before proceeding to open into pizza skins by your preferred manner. The should give you better results.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

This is exactly what I was looking for- degassing hasn’t been an issue (except with a single batch that had over-proofed and then de-gassed and didn’t get any oven spring).

This is almost exactly how I’ve been handling it, except that I’ve been slacking the product for 24 hours and then cutting/balling immediately, without the 1-hour rest. I’ll try it with the rest tomorrow.

We’ve also been tempering the dough in a rack at room temperature (or actually kitchen temperature, which, as we all know, is hotter than room temperature, lol), but its usable life is not very long. I’m thinking about trying to put a few trays in the retarder and just pulling them out one or two at a time, but if the dough isn’t warm enough, the spring-back is a real bear.

Any tips on oven temperature/bake time for a Baker’s Pride with a stone deck, baked on screens?

Thank you so much for your help, advice and tips!

500F has always worked well for me using a deck oven with screens.
Decking the pizzas for 30+ seconds just before you take them out of the oven will also help improve crispiness.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

500 it is! I’m not sure what you mean by decking- do you mean to pull out the screen and allow them to cook directly on the oven floor for the last 30 sec?

Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’ll give it a go. Thank you very much for your help.

I dropped the oven temperature by 75° today, and got a much better bake. Nice oven spring, good color, medium, semi-varied crumb structure, crispy bottom, slight blistering. I tried allowing the slacked dough to rest for an hour at room temp before balling, I won’t know how it performs until Tuesday.

Gentlemen, thank you for your help!