I have 2 questions. First, does anyone use screens when cooking on their deck oven? Second, can you premake pies on the screen and put them in the oven when it gets busy?
I’m trying to figure out Halloween. It just gets so crazy for 2 hours, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. I’m thinking about pre making 50 or so plains on screens and them throwing them in as it starts to get busy. We’ll keep making throughout the rush, but the 50 pie head start will help.
We used to bake thin crust pizzas on screens in our deck ovens all the time without any problem. The screens need to be seasoned and you will need to have at least 2% sugar in the dough formula to initiate browning. Baking temperature will be between 450 and 500F, and if you want a stronger bottom bake you can always “deck” the pizzas for a few seconds before removing them from the oven. With regard to pre-opening the dough into skins and holding them on the screens, it can be done BUT you will want to turn the skin off of the screen onto another screen for baking. The reason for this is because the dough will have a tendency to flow into the screen openings and when this happens the dough will expand in the screen openings and lock the pizza to the screen (not a pretty sight), by turn the skin off of one screen onto another will put the spots where the dough has started to flow into the openings off register thus eliminating the problem.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
For Halloween we start getting orders around 1-2 o’clock and everyone wants them before the kids go out to trick or treat between 445-5:30. We used to get 1-2 hours behind on pizza. Our issue isn’t making them quick enough it’s cooking them. Last year for the first time I cooked 30lg cheese around 3:15 to get ahead of it and that worked out very well for us.
When dough is properly prepared and stored this will work no problem. If your dough procedure is not very ideal, you could get some stuck skins. In years past we would get ours stuck sometimes, but as we’ve learned the importance of good dough management it never happens any more.
If the atmosphere is hot and dry, and the skins sit out too long, they will cook and burn faster. And you can always deck the pies a bit at the end to give the bottoms more color if needed as well.