Par cooking bases

I’m looking at some new gourmet pizzas that require par cooking of the bases
Every time I put a base in the oven to par cook it I find it will blow up like a ball
What am I missing or doing wrong ??? :oops:

Par-baking pizza crusts requires a whole different baking profile from baking a complete pizza. In essence, you will need to bake at a lower temperature (400 to 425F in a deck oven) or (375 to 400F in an air impingement oven) with a reduction in baking time to about 3 to 4-minuted in a deck oven or about 2-minutes in an air impingement oven. Then you will need to fine tune the baking to ensure the crusts are getting fully baked but with only partial color. Watch the cooled crusts for what appear to be translucent spots looking much like oil spots, these are areas of collapse and must be addressed by baking longer which normally involves a slight further reduction in baking temperature. It’s a bit of a balancing act.
Another approach is to only partially sauce the skin prior to par-baking. I like to use about 1/2 of the sauce, then you can pretty well par-bake at your normal temperatures but for a shorter time. Apply the remaining 1/2 of the sauce at the time when you dress the par-baked crust.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I am curious: What kind of pizza requires par baking? Some toppings that will not tolerate normal baking time?

We par bake the crust for pan pizza as that makes it possible to do deep dish in our ovens at the regular temp for flat pizza but I have not heard of a pizza that requires par baking for flat pizza.

Then I’ll assume that you have never visited the frozen pizza isle at your local supermarket :stuck_out_tongue: . You will still find more of them made on one form or another of a par-baked crust than any other (baked to rise) type. The pizzas normally sold to bars are also made on a par-baked crust too since they are only baked in what many might call a toaster oven. There are also some excellent slice operations working off of both thick and thin crust par-baked crusts. At one time a major chain even used a par-baked thin crust with good success. Yep, there are still a lot of pizzas made on par-baked thin crusts.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

We do a par cooked base.

Here is how:

  1. Roll out base. Cut into desired size.
  2. Dock well.
  3. Bake at 200 C for approx 45 seconds to a minute.
  4. Cool on a wire wrack.
  5. Dust of excess flour.
  6. Refrigerate (normally not longer than 3-4 days, have not tried freezing)
  7. Remove when an order comes in add sauce, cheese, toppings like usual.
  8. Bake at 300 C for approx 4 and a half minutes. We use a deck oven.

Reason we started to do par cooked is a combination convenience, lack of skilled labour, outdoor caterings in small kitchens. I do not think this is inferior and is its own unique product.

Recently we have started doing a hand stretch Neo Neoplitan style dough as well which is made to order and has a completely different profile from our thin crust par baked pizzas.

Different days i am in a mood for different styles of pizza :slight_smile:

Tom, I understand all that and know that it can be done and is done for a variety of reasons, mostly related to either convenience, storage or as you point out equipment limitations. (and you are correct, I never visit the frozen pizza area at the grocery store! lol)

My question arose from the OP comment “gourmet pizzas that require par cooking of the bases” that seemed to me to imply something else as a reason for par baking. That is what I was curious about.

Some of the so called “gourmet” pizzas pride themselves on their very crispy crust characteristic, and by par-baking the crust you can achieve a crispier crust than you can without par-baking, this might be one reason. Another might be (I’m on thin ice here now) because some of those “gourmet” pizzas were developed by individuals with a chef’s background, not that there is anything wrong with that, but in many cases they are not pizza bakers so they use what they know best to achieve a consistently crispy crust. As we all know, you can achieve a crispy crust without par-baking but it sometimes takes a little inside skill and knowledge so I don’t find them at fault, then again, like I said above, the par=baked crust will almost always be crispier than a fresh baked crust. As I see it, the biggest thing that seperates a par-baked crust from a fresh baked crust is how it eats after it has cooled off a bit. The pizza made on a par-baked crust will almost always have a dry taste to it. A number of years ago I developed a simple formulation change to address this but to my knowledge no one is using it today at the retail/pizzeria level, possibly due to the stigma attached to using a par-baked crust.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

When I was in the wholesale pizza biz, I used one of Tom’s secret ingredients & bragged wen demonstrating my pie, that you couldn’t tell the difference between it and a traditional freshly made/baked pizza…

I never failed to win the demo either!

But it was a semi-long drawn out process and we stopped freezing them & featured them as ‘freshly made - neer frozen’…

I’d still be doing ittoday, 'cept for hurricane charlie…

At times, we made well over 1,000 pies/day…

I used to work for a small chain that used frozen shells…Their competitors got hold of that info and used it in their marketing efforts and that chain is longer around…

Tom regarding par baked doughs have you noticed that a sheeted dough tends to give a crispier crust against a hand rolled or pressed dough?

No, just the opposite it think is true. The lighter textured crusts (hand formed or even pressed) tend to be crispier. The sheeted crusts are the ones that gave frozen pizzas their bad name/reputation as people described the crusts (par baked) as eating like cardboard.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I used to use a sheeter many, many years ago, but we let our dough proof for many hours before par-baking…great product, but time expensive…