I have started working in a local pizzeria to get some experience before opening my own place. We use Baker’s Pride stone deck ovens (550 degrees) and use pizza screens under every pizza for between 90-100% of cook time. We usually only “stone” the pizzas that have no or very light toppings (as the tops cook faster than heavy loaded “mega meaty” type pizzas) and we only “stone” them for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.
I am wondering if using a pizza screen in deck ovens is common? Most places I have seen just slide the pizza onto the deck and the bottoms come out crisp, but not burnt.
Some pizza operators who have deck ovens use screens because it is easier to train workers to use screens rather than peels. So, the error rate for loading pizzas into the oven is about zero. It is also common to use screens if the dough has a lot of sugar in it. Otherwise, the pizza bottom might brown too much, or even burn, before the rest of the pizza is done. The screens lift the pizzas off of the deck surface to give enough time to finish baking (the screen has to heat up before the pizza starts to bake). Sometimes, operators will use screens to compensate for oven malfunction or because they are trying to adapt an oven not intended for baking pizzas to be able to bake pizzas.
The negative of screens in the context of a deck oven is their initial (and replacement) cost and the need to handle them, as they are shuffled into and out and around the oven, which can reduce the oven throughput and result in some loss of oven heat (e.g, during the “stoning” step). Also, on occasion a pizza may stick to the screen. This can happen if the dough has a high hydration or if the dressed skin is left on the screen too long before dressing and baking. Pizza screens were designed for conveyor oven operation, so their use in deck ovens is an anomaly, albeit a fairly common one. Sometimes it is worth modifying the dough formulation, as by reducing or eliminating the sugar, to better adapt it to the deck oven and make screens unnecessary.
we start it on the stone (BP deck) and after the bottom gets a firm enough to move it, put it on a screen. for some reason the bottom oven stones do not run as hot and we don’t need to use a screen. we generally make slice pies (23") and 28" pizzas in the bottom oven.
It seems appropriate, somehow, that “pizzanerd” is giving advice to “pizzahead.”
Our place also uses a Baker’s Pride stone deck oven as well as screens. We spray the screens with pan coating so there is no sticking. Only if the bottom appears to be lighter than the rest of the pizza we’ll “slate” it meaning we’ll cook it on the stone for about ten seconds until it’s done.
Every once in a while we’ll do a New York thin crust style (for ourselves) cooked directly on the stone. We always have one person who seems to put way to much flour on the peel before sliding it into the oven. What a mess!
That is pretty much how we do it. We leave it on the screen and then put it on the stone for the last minute of cooking. We cook our pizzas at 600.
We don’t ever need to spray our screens (unless they are brand new, then we spray and bake) we never ever have pizzas stick to the screens.
I do not believe it is a skill issue,it is just the way we make our pizzas…and they are awesome!
We have a stone deck set at 575 and use screens then sliding them onto the stone for the last 30sec-1min. It is easy to make the next batch that need to go into the oven. They just sit on the screen for the 10-15 while the others are cooking, and then we slide those in. Once you get the hang of it, it is simple. I have had people who have never cooked a pizza that could cook one perfectly within a week.
i use screens with deck ovens which I keep the oven at 550. We pull the screen off to crisp it up when it is done.