frozen pizza

Hi,
I have a pizza and pasta restaurant in Marco Island, Fl. We have been in business for approx 10 years. My kids are getting older and we would like to expand the business and sell our pizzas frozen. Is there a trick to the process? We have experimented a little bit but I am afraid we may need to add something to the dough?! Questions about oven temp, time, should it be par-baked? I would appreciate if you could help me out.

Thank you
Santo Gentile
Joey’s Pizza & Pasta House
239-253-6852

Santo;
Without knowing more about your frozen pizza concept it is hard to be specific. Here is a little food for thought though.
If you plan on selling the frozen pizza from YOUR store(s) not a problem. If you plan to sell them through a distributor or a supermarket outlet, big, costly undertaking.
You can make a fairly decent pizza on a raw dough that would be similar to a DiGiorno’s Frozen Pizza (check it out at your local supermarket) by adding a coated chemical leavening called Wrise (Azarel Nieves at 337-783-3096 (ext. 117) or azarel@wenrich.com) or you can make your pizzas on a par-baked crust that you either make or buy from an outside source. This is an OK approach (check out some of the more traditional (not bake to rise) pizzas at the supermarket to see how they come across). You will have two options for freezing your pizzas, static, or slow freezing (putting the pizzas into a freezer) and blast or cryogenic freezing at temperatures of -25 to -65F. Think expensive for blast or cryogenic freezing. As far as shelf life is concerned, static freezing will only allow for a raw dough shelf life of about 15 days before its performance becomes “iffy”. Blast or cryogenic freezing will give you a raw dough shelf life of 12 weeks or more. As for toppings, you wil need to use IQF (individual quick frozen) and better yet will be moisture controlled, IQF vegetable toppings. If you don’t go this route the vegetable toppings wil turn to mush as the pizza is baked and at the same time creats a beautiful “swamp pizza” with all of the water released from thes toppings.
Do you wanna know what I would do? I’d contract with a co-packer to have my pizza produced as a high quality, commercial frozen pizza. This is a very cost effective way of getting into frozen pizza. They can generally fome pretty close to duplicating your pizza, and they are already all set up to do the production. They will blast or cryogenically freeze the pizzas for you complete in their boxes with all of the required labeling in place. Then you take delivery of the product to do whatever you want with it, or they will arrange to have the product delivered to any designated location (distributor, store, etc.). If you want to contact a co-packer for more details, go to Little lady foods (John Geocaris, President) at 847-806-1440 or go totheir web site at <www.littleladyfoods.com>.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor