Pizza Testing gone BAD!!!

Well I have 3 1/2 weeks until my Sept 6th grand opening. We have spent the last few months rennovating our building and I finally have a full functioning kitchen. This past weekend I invited a bunch of people over for a “Fun, taste test kind of a day” It started out some what o.k… the pizzas were not cooking very well on the bottom though - I have double stacked deck ovens (Admiral I think) (1952) I am using pre-sheeted Yeast Rise crusts and also Cracker crust.

I tried EVERYTHING I could think of such as turning the temp down a bit… turning the temp higher… using Pam on my pans (coupe style) to using nothing on the pans etc… The cheese and the crust edges were burning and the bottom of the dough was still pure white! Now interestingly enough the YR crust was white but reasonably cooked (poor product not good enough to sell mind you) and the CC was doughy and wet while the top was burnt. Both of these crusts cook great in my home oven so I know it is my pizza oven thats not right.

My husband checked the fuses and sure enough there were 2 fuses that needed replacing. He did this yesterday and I was not able to be at the restaurant for the next trial. He said he pre-cooked a CC for 6 minutes then sauced and topped it and cooked it for about another 10 minutes. I asked how it turned out and he said A BIT BETTER. The crust was ALMOST cooked!!!

Geeze, what else could it be? Does anyone have any other suggestions? I appreciate any input at all. I only have a few weeks till opening and buying a new oven does not fit the budget lol.


what are you cooking on—screens work best----otherwise you will get uncooked bottom

i agree get you a couple screens
the pans deflect alot of the air

it could be in your dough formula.
post it…nobody is will try to copy your formula…I will be glad to send you mine, and you will get some good help

Maybe this it is just under fermented, may be a technique thing.
If it is consistent, that is a good thing for a start,

  1. Are you making deep dish pies? If not, then lose the pans and go screens. Bet you see a difference.

  2. Are you preheating your pans? If you intend to use pans, then preheating will go a ways to helping. Don’t know if it will fix the problem, but should help some.

I did actually try a screen when I was deciding which type to buy. The screen did not help. I could try it again since the fuses have been replaced though.

I wonder if the restaurant supplier will take back 48 coupe pans???

So you all think I should be using screens regardless in a deck oven? I appreciate that advise for sure!

Otis - I would certainly post my dough formula but it’s not mine. I am buying my crusts pre-sheeted from a supplier. I think it has to be a problem with the oven as the crusts cook well at home.

hmmm… I don’t know. Maybe the whole oven should get checked out.

Having the right product before you decide to even build a pizza place is key. I don’t know your background, but that’s why time spent managing or working in a pizza restaurant makes all the difference in the world.

If youre buying premade anything, then what’s to say the guy down the street doesn’t do the same thing but offer a cheaper price.

Otis offered you a dough recipe which is key, then you need the right sauce and cheese mixtures. Then you make sure you make pizzas for yourself before trying them out on other people.

Too many people go out and buy pizza sauce in a can, dough from a supplier and mozzarella cheese and say they can make the next million bucks off of it.

But, in order to be successful, you need start with the basics and work your way up. Sorry if this sounds harsh to anyone, but I’ve seen it time and time again.

wow, this is kind of off topic but I just have to respond to the above, my husband and I are in the process of opening our first place within probly 4 months, we have a combined total of 13 years in the business, but we still do not have our dough perfected, its close but not quite, we’re still working on recipes and formula’s not because we don’t have experience but because we are trying to build our own place not repeat or copy the places we’ve worked before. I believe Debbie is trying to do the same thing, how do you know she doesn’t have experience or her sauce perfected?? she asked for help for her cook time and oven temps and trying fix this before she opens.

Thanks for your support Cobblestone… I am nervous enough about opening without second guessing if I have enough experience to succeed.

(And if I can get the darn crusts to cook all will be o.k. LOL)

I opened on June 1. I have a Baker’s Pride 301 that I bake my pizzas in. I bake them with only a sheet of parchment paper between the pizza and the stone deck surface. It works very for me. I have my own dough recipe which is pretty close to what is posted in the recipe bank.

Apparently, you missed my point, which is simple,you can’t fix something if youre not sure how you arrived at that point. For some places, pan dough is made different than your regular crust dough. But their is alot of different factors involved.

Debbie, i want you to do well with your place, you just need to make sure you can sell the best product possible.

We use screens for our deck ovens and they work great.

Yes, I understand what you are saying. I have always said that I appreciate ALL of the feedback to any questions that I ask so, thanks.

I am having the oven checked. I don’t think it’s the crust at all. Now, if it turns out that it is NOT the oven I will be getting in touch with Otis A.S.A.P

I, too, have used parchment paper in the recent past…

your dough is prob just fine…I reckon its from Rich’s…many people use a sheeted dough…Donato’s & Godfather’s use a similar product to the one you are using…

I would guess the oven in not calibrated correctly, hence uneven heat…

If you used a pizza stone in your home oven, I’d try the parchment paper in you beomouth…

temp s/b less than 500 I reckon…maybe more like 450/475…

make sure the dough is completely defrosted & don’t be afraid to let it come to room temp/proof a bit…you can keep it in plastic bins to prevent drying out…

Parchment paper sounds like a great idea! I am going to the restaurant in a couple of hours to try baking on a screen. Maybe tomorrow I can try the parchment.

I was talking to a contractor type person this afternoon who said it could be the actual heating coils (or something like that) that may have “dead” spots or need replacing and this is causing the uneven heating. Remember the oven is from 1952 so anything is possible.

I agree that the temp needs to stay under 500 though. 550 just burned the top within minutes.

SIDE QUESTION HERE - is it true that you “flour” a screen not “oil” it?

I’m not sure if anyone has asked this yet…how long are your ovens on before you make your first pizza? If your brick doesn’t have a chance to preheat before popping the pizza in you will get burnt tops and raw bottoms. If you haven’t already, try preheating your oven longer before putting in your first pie.

you need 2 “season” most screens…the new disks from are the exception…

dip them in salad oil, drain & place in the oven, so the oil creates its own non-stick properties…kinda like seasoning a cast iron skillet…you might need to do this several times…

yes, make sure the oven stones are preheated for an hour or so…don’t be afraid to pick up a temp gauge 2 ck accurate temp…a simple oven one from Wal-Mart will do

o.k., so I will season the screen and try parchment paper before I make a final decision.

Yes I was told when I purchased the oven that it needs to pre heat a minimum of 1 hour prior to baking the first pizza. A temp gauge is a good idea though.

Sounds like the 55 year old oven is off.
Maybe that you need to get another oven. That may be impossible and still open in September.
If you can buy some time, I would go to a pizza training week that is held annually at the American Institute of Baking in October
I went 3 years ago and it is really helpfull.
You can learn all that stuff there and there are other pizza owners there that will help you.

Tom Lehmann is on this board and he coordinates it.
their web site is below

good luck and press on,

I would actually recommend buying about 6 to 8 inexpensive oven thermometers and placing them throughout the deck. Do one oven then the next. Register the temps in each of the locations to get a clear picture of your baking profile. You may identify hot and cool spots. Mark them on a diagram and post it on the wall next to the oven . . . or in a notebook for safe keeping and reference.

I’m afraid that the pizza training week is out of the question for me as I am in Canada. Wonder if there is one here though?

Yes the 55 year old oven needs to be replaced at some point but… I am still going to try to have an electrician take a look at it as soon as I can get one to come out.

The trial last night with the new fuses did not work. Thanks for your tips too Nick.