my pizza sauce is freezing!?

Hey Guys,

Kind of a stupid little problem, and probably not worthy of posting here… But thought I would give it a shot… For some reason my pizza sauce lately has been getting extremely too cold (almost frozen). My half-pan for the pizza prep table becomes so cold & dense and its creating these little balls of sauce-ice. Same for the large batch in the walk in cooler. I just went to replace the half-pan with a new one, and when I went to stir it I could tell how extremely dense it was with my ladle. Nothing else I have in stock is getting frozen, or even close to it. I keep about 4-6 different kinds of sauces in the prep table and nothing is freezing or getting too cold. Just the pizza sauce.

This is causing a domino effect of problems. Its so dense that its much harder to spread which causes the pizza skin to shrink because when we go to spread it on, its sticks to the skin. And not only that, the crust isn’t coming out as crispy.

Any one with some ideas or suggestions?

Thank you!

try putting in a plastic pan NOT a stainless steel

Have you actually taken the temperature Of the sauce? I have found the ideal temperature for mine is 39 degrees. Any warmer and it is too liquid and colder is too thick.

Its been in a plastic pan this entire time. But that was a good thought.

Have you put a thermometer in the cooler, in the same area where you store the sauce to check the ACTUAL temperature? Also, what is the temperature of the sauce. If it is being frozen, it should be close to 32F. Ther is a possibility that freezing is not the issue at all, if you put garlic and or onion in your sauce, it might be that the enzymes in the onion/garlic are catalyzing the pectins in the tomato and causing them to gel. This affect turns your sauce to tomato jelly. To correct this condition, all you need to do is to put the onion and garlic into a microwave safe bowl and “nuke” it until it comes to a full boil before adding it to your sauce. We have addressed the problem by not putting onion or garlic in the sauce, but instead, we lightly brush the dough skin with olive oil, then we apply dices garlic to the surface of the dough before adding the sauce. This works well for us, and I’ve taught this to a number of different stores who use it successfully.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

My guess is that the refrigerant in your unit is low and needs to be recharged. Call your equipment repair guy.

I’m about as far from a refrigeration expert as you can get without leaving the planet, but wouldn’t low refrigerant cause the unit to blow warmer air like it did the time when my truck was low on refrigerant?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

First the temp will drop then if not lookrd after it can burn out the compressor.

No, a low level of refridgerant causes the unit to run constantly and freezes everything as the unit attempts to maintain circulation with too little fluid and, as Daddio points out, can cost you a compressor motor as well.

Just re-read the original post though and if nothing else is freezing it does make me wonder. I can’t imagine what you could do to pizza sauce that would change the freezing point by more than a degree though. I wonder if you change the location of the sauce on the line if it will still freeze?

When you say, “first temp will drop” do you really mean that it will get colder? Dropping temp is getting colder. Or do you mean that it will get warmer, then burn out the compressor?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks for all the reply guys!

But to answer some questions, my prep table is brand spanking new, so I don’t think that is the problem. The temp of the sauce is approx 33/34 degrees: and the temp of the unit is: 36… Its just weird that its happening now, and not last week, or 2 weeks ago. Also, as I said before, nothing else is frozen or even close to it. Just my pizza sauce.

Tom, I do not add tomatoes nor garlic to my sauce recipe. Nothing has changed in our recipe since we’ve opened 3 weeks ago. All that is added is some extra kinds of spices and herbs.

Is this happening in your prep table? I was under the impression that it was happening in your cooler. Sorry about that.
Try storing the sauce in a different compartment under the table, one side is going to be closer to the refrigeration unit and that might be causing the problem, especially when set at 36F. We typically set at 38 to 40F.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom, actually it is actually happening in both places.

What I did is basically double up on the half pans to see how that works. Meaning I took the sauce half pan and placed another empty half pan under it. Hopefully that will work.

And the way the line is setup, I can’t imagine the sauce going in any other spot. I think that would ruin the flow.


I didn’tmean for you to move the sauce permanently to a different location, just temporarily to determine if the problem is related to the position of the sauce on the table. If it is, it would seem to me that a call in to the manufacturer would be in order.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Yes the cooler will get colder as the compressor is working doubletime to keep the pressure up. If this continues the compressor will eventually fail and the cooler will get warmer.

I’ve learned something already. I didn’t know that. I was thinking that if the refrigerant was low, the heat transfer would be less and the air temperature would begin to rise. I know when I got into my truck last summer, after not operating it for several months, and it blew only slightly cool (if you used your imagination) air. so it was off to the dealership for a look-see. They found it to be about 10-ounces low on refrigerant. They added the refrigerant plus some dye to check for further leaks. Worked fine after that, no further leaks, and cold air all of this past summer. Moral of the story, don’t let a car or truck sit for months on end without running the air conditioning periodically to keep the seals wet and conditioned. That is the full extent of my air conditioning knowledge.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor