We have 3 sizes of pies. A 12 inch medium/16 inch Large and we use a sheet pan for our party pizzas.
The 2 round pies are baked in a deck oven on screens until almost finished. We then remove them from the screen and deck them for a few minutes to get the bottom a bit crispy. Of course the sheet is baked in the same oven but in a pan.
Do you recommend that we remove the pie from the screen and put it directly on the deck, or just leave it on the screen.
When I worked with decks we always decked them with a little corn meal
I agree with Rock Star, it is hard to compare pizzas baked totally in a pan, especially a sheet pan in a deck oven is a real killer since the pans “boat” so badly. This is where the sheet pan warps and takes on a rounded bottom. Set the sheet pan on a flat surface and see if it can be rocked. The issue here is that the warped/boated pan allows for an air gap between the oven deck and the pan/pizza so you don’t get the same quality of bake as you do in a non-boated pan (most if not all round pans show little or no boating so it is seldom a problem with round pans. The best way to address the problem with the sheet pan is to remove the pizza from the pan close to the end of the bake and place it directly on the oven hearth to finish baking and crisp up. Remember, you might need to get a special peel to effectively handle that 18 X 26 pizza.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
If you’re shooting for a NY style that is pretty much the accepted method. We hand toss the pies then put them directly on the bricks to cook and find they come out much better then starting on screens. I would try both and see which you like better.
Straight to the deck for us… no screens, no pans. Your cooks will have to be a little more cautious about running sauce off of the edge, but it’s also one less step for your oven tender. I imagine you’ll need to lower your temperature a little bit to keep the bottoms from burning before the top is done.
We tried out some screens once just for fun and to see if we could speed things up a little bit (it would be more efficient to pre-sheet a bunch of dough balls on screens) but the crust wasn’t even close to when it’s cooked direct on the deck - even with removing it for the last few minutes.