Frozen pizza, how to reduce gum line

Hi all! I am trying to start offering my customers frozen pizza this week. I’m having a hard time reducing the gum line. Here’s what I’m doing

-stretch and dock dough
-lightly brush with oil
-bake for ~3 minutes at 500 F (in marsal deck oven)
-Let cool for 15-20 min (should I go longer? or blast freeze immediately?)
-Top with cheese
-blast freeze, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in normal freezer

For baking, I test baked in my home oven a few time. 425-450 F directly on center rack for 12-16 minutes seems to work the best. But i’m still getting a pretty bad gum line.

We don’t want to change our dough recipe (we supply 7 other stores with dough). Our dough only has flour, water, sugar, salt, & yeast. I could add a thickener (xanthan gum??) to the sauce before using it for frozen pies if that would help. Is anyone else selling frozen?

Have you tried to par bake only the dough and then follow the process you mentioned?

I’ve been working on some frozen pizzas myself. I’ve noticed that when I par bake with sauce on them those are the ones that are giving me a gum line. When you don’t add the sauce they bubble like crazy and need constant attention. If anyone has a solution I would like to hear it as well. Using a conveyor oven.

Do you use a dough docker? I found it a helpful tool when par baking crusts. It basically spot welds the dough together to prevent bubbling.

Will try this tomorrow. Thank you!

I’ve tried docking them. It doesn’t work. I’ve got a system down now that if I fork them after about a min before they start to bubble it takes care of the problem but just time consuming having to sit by the oven for the whole run.

If the dough has been properly par-baked you will not get a gum line. It sounds like you are putting all of the sauce on the skin for par-baking, this is not correct as it will result in a gum line. Instead, you only want to put not more than 1/2 of the sauce on the skin for par-baking, after baking place on a screen and allow to cool for 20-minutes, then you can apply the other half of the sauce and toppings. You mention “blast freezing” are you using true blast freezing (-20 to -38F with 600 to 800 f.p.m. air flow/or cryogenically using liquid carbon dioxide or nitrogen in a fog providing a temperature of -50 to -65F in the product zone) ir are you just static freezing at 0F to -10F. This can make a difference too as static freezing can result in loss of water from the sauce due to the slow freezing rate. This loss of water can also result in a gum line if you are over thinning the sauce with water.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

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Thanks Tom! I will try using a screen and less sauce next time (we were using the full amount). We are using our gelato blast freezer to freeze at -30; i’m not sure of the air flow but it does have a large fan in the back and seems to circulate very quickly

That should qualify for blast freezing. What we normally do is to par-bake the crusts and allow t cool for 20-minutes, then freeze the crust then apply the rest of the sauce and dress the crust and back into the freezer (unwrapped), immediately after the completed
pizza is frozen its wrapped, labeled and placed into the holding freezer (-10F).

To test for a gum line remove a slice from the pizza, turn it upside down, and using a razor knife/box knife or very sharp serrated knife carefully cut/saw through the bottom crust using minimum pressure on the knife, then fold the slice so the toppings are
touching, look under the sauce and if there is a thick gray area you have a gum line, if you just see a very thin gray line, that’s normal and you DO NOT have a gum line. The other method previously described works well for a fresh baked (single baked) pizza
but this is the one that works better for a pizza made using a par-baked crust.

Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

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We sell thousands of frozen pizzas every year. This is the exact method we use. Take Tom’s advice!

Tom are you blast freezing in your first step after par-baking crusts and allowing to cool?

In practical application yes due to the time issue (from a production standpoint blast freezing is faster and more suited to high speed production) but in reality the par-baked crust can be frozen in a static freezer at 0F or lower without any problem. In one smaller frozen pizza operation we used a cryogenic tunnel freezer, on the right side of the belt we froze the shells, after freezing they were conveyed directly to the topping area and after topping they returned again to the same tunnel freezer but this time they entered on the left side of the belt, upon exiting the tunnel they went onto a conveyor which took the frozen pizzas immediately to the over wrapping station (L-Bar wrappers), then through a heat tunnel to shrink the over wrap and directly to a boxing station where the wrapped pizzas were placed into individual boxes and then into case packs, the cases were sealed, coded, dated and then conveyed directly to the holding freezer at -10F. From start to finish the entire operation (frozen shell to the holding freezer)only took about 7-minutes, about 4-minutes of that time was spent in the cryogenic freezer.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hi Tom,

Is there any reason behind freezing the par baked crust after cooling and before adding the remainder of sauce and dressing the crust. Also why do you freeze the pizza again after adding the remainder of sauce and dressing the crust (unwrapped) to only take it our again to wrap and label?

  • Rico;

The reason is because the crust is very hard to freeze due to its porosity so we freeze it by itself. This is always more effective without the toppings. Failure to do this will only diminish the actual freezing of the pizza since any latent heat still in the crust will move into the toppings. Adding the remainder of the sauce and the toppings is all considered to be “dressing the crust” aka “finishing the pizza” aka “topping the pizza”. You cannot effectively freeze a dressed/topped pizza after you wrap it due to the creation of dead air space (this is what makes thermal pane windows more effective than single pane windows, it is also the science behind why we put insulation in our walls), so it is going to take a lot longer to freeze the pizza but worse than that, the slower the freezing rate the larger the ice crystal size that is formed in the vegetable toppings and it is these ice crystals that are responsible for the toppings turning to mush upon thawing. This is why “blast freezing” is used to freeze the pizzas and it also addresses that age old question of why we go out of our way to harvest the last of our vegetable crop BEFORE the first freeze of the fall season.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Thank you so much for the explanation, you’re awesome. Food Science! I love it. I learned something new today.