Freeze and Bake

Hello, 2 years ago, I was very close to opening my dream pizzeria in my town however lost the pitch for the location. I have been making pizza for a long time and like all of you, enjoy my product. I love pizza. Anyway, since I cant move forward with the large scale pizzeria, I would like to do a take and bake product for my local grocery store, who is willing and excited about the idea. My pizza is known in my town and my signature pie one first prize in a town Pie contest. :smiley: .

The only thing I can do to get my product out there is to make a take and bake or better yet, a good version of my pie frozen. I would like to make my pizza, freeze it and deliver twice a week to my grocery store. This is a very small operation however I feel is an oppertunity to get a customer base.

The problem is the dough. My dough is good but when I put the toppings on and freeze then bake, not so good. I have tried some variations but would like to know if there is an easy dough solution out there where I can make freeze and bake. MFB. Any suggestions?

Tom Lehman will probably pop in her eventually, but he has discussed in a couple of threads that dough frozen slowly, using traditional freezers, performs poorly after thawing. The problem is that the ice crystals that forma re too large and tear up the dough in the process.

Using a blast freezer or some other fast freezing method creates much smaller crystals, and has a much better quality on thawing. You will probably find all the major food manufacturers are using blast freezing for the frozen pizzas and such.

You might find the previous threads in the archives searching by freeze or frozen or freezing and dough. Some others may have freezing experience to share when they get a lull in their pizza day to post.

I started down that same road that you are going down right now. The thing that stopped me was dealing with the USDA. If you’re making a product for resale (i.e. selling to a grocery store), then you will fall under USDA inspection. They are much more rigid in their requirements. You will still need a separate facility to manufacture your pizzas. Product labelling is another huge obstacle. I decided it would be much easier to open a carryout/take-n-bake store, you can then offer frozens to consumers without needing to deal with the USDA.

The way I get around the dough issue is that I parbake the dough before I top it, wrap it, and freeze it. It still has a relatively short shelf life as in a couple weeks.

Good information. Thank you. Question, with your take and bake store are you making your product there? Is that how you get around USDA? For you take and bake recipie, did you need to change it at all to par bake it?

I still par bake my take and bake crusts. I put them on the deck at 500F for about a minute and a half. I don’t use baking trays, I put the parbaked crust on a cardboard pizza circle, top it and wrap it using a deli wrap machine.

The USDA only gets involved if you are selling to a reseller i.e. grocery store, bar, or any other place that is going to resell your product. If you are selling directly to the end consumer, then the USDA doesn’t need to be involved.

In Florida, the Dept of Agriculture governs my wholesale biz…the USDA only gets involved if the meat content exceeds, I believe, 3% weight by volume…being the cheese & crust are the heaviest, you s/b able to skirt the USDA…

The problem is, your grocer may not want to pay you what the product is worth, as they still must mark it up…

You will need a commercial kitchen, inspected by some gov office…you can use a par-baked crust or a special additive to you dough that will make it rise in the oven, but there is still a shelf-life issue…