Screens: don't understand

Just a question b/c I am confused. When it comes to deck ovens, why do people use screens. I understand the occasional use, no pie has been in for a while, the deck is way too hot, so one uses a screen. But besides that, on a deck oven, i really don’t see a reason. Why not just cook on the stone? I may just be ignorant, if so can someone help me out?


We have decks and I rarely use screens…except on two occasions. Time orders to save time, we stretch em ahead of time a little bit, so that in the middle of a dinner rush we are that much more efficient. Especially if say you have an order for 10 pies at once. The second reason is when I think my staff is having “roundness” issues we break them out like training wheels. It makes them feel a little inferior at times, but gets their pies looking a little more consistent, when the pizzas set up after about 5 minutes, we pull the screens. I am a purist myself with decks and use of the stones so we do always finish on floor bottom, but screens can serve a helpful purpose at times.

Screens will also give you an added day of ‘life’ for dough balls that have, for some reason, over-fermented prematurely (or even right on schedule). we will have surprise lulls in the weekly schedule and have a few boxes of dough balls be ‘not quite their best’. If I use very gentle forming to prevent degassing, and bake on a screen, then I am getting another day of use at very high finished quality. Right on the deck, I won’t get enough spring, and it comes out tough and poor overall finish to the pie.

Screens give us the flexibility to form a whole bunch of pies up at once during peek hours just like the impinger boys do. Dress and drop is what I call it. I get more pies in the oven at peak using screens than traditional screenless technique since I can get more precision with oven open less time to get the pie placed. They do have benefits for some operations.

Pizza making on decks is an art! Screens are normally used for consistency of product.
It is hard to find the staff and train now a days to make a nice pizza on a deck. But a monkey could build a screen pie.
So it goes down to overall payroll. A good pizza maker will cost you more than a person who can make a screen pizza. At the end of the day it’s all about your product and what your comsumer would like.

A monkey can run a conveyor, a monkey can make a pizza on a screen, a monkey can run the POS. where are you guys getting these monkeys at?

Yeah . … I want some monkeys with those skills!! Sure, it takes more consistency and attention to detail to do the n-screen pie, but I’ve had some near-monkeys who simply could not create a servable pizza in my kitchen . . . screen or no screen.

In my shop it is about maximizing the output of minimal staff. Screens on our decks give us an element of speed with less reduction of consistency and finished quality. If I had one dedicated oven tender and one or two dedicated makers, life would be different. We use screens, and we get amazing results. The right tools for the right jobs.

As a former pizza monkey, i’d have to say I trained up pretty well. After spending times training others, it was difficult to find guys that could handle the ovens and put product out. With that said, there was alot of pride held by the crew over the work we did, so guys that sucked got hazed pretty badly, and additionally did not get many shifts if they could not prove themselves. I have thrown more than one dude back to the dishpit while managing. Told him to come back on line when felt like learning. Honestly, having a culture of personal pride in the work/performance really helped keep the quality up. One thing that helped was having an open kitchen, where everyone could see if a guy could handle his Sh*t or not. Getting thrown back into the dish pit de-elevated a guys status, which gave some incentive to be a better worker. But yeah, tons of dudes who just didn’t get it.

I’m very much a newbie to pizza(I tend towards nightclubs/bartending). When we first opened we had big time problems with pizzas sticking to screens. Completely thought we were screwing things up–driving me bonkers crazy. then experience taught me that a “seasoned” screen was the answer. now for other newbies out there…a seasoned screen means its used. dirty. but really …oiled. i had an old timer come in the other day after i had brought in 4 dozen new 16" screens. he just took them all at last call, dumped them in the fryolator, and threw them in the blodgett for thirty minutes. done. seasoned. SMOKEY AS A MFU@@KER but… seasoned ;)–bout

the seasoning thing reminds me of a shop that I used to work in. Had a double stack well broken inn, and another deck with not much use. The double stack baked like a charm, the newer oven stone liked to stick bad. After a year of pam and burnt pies, that oven worked great as well. wish we could have just dropped the stone into a fryer…

I think cornmeal helps with pies sticking to a deck.

I’m my wife’s monkey.

I think cornmeal helps with pies sticking to a deck.

for me …i dont like cornmeal…just my taste no offense or yadada

I too want these easy to hire monkeys. Especially if they do NOT have drug problems. Which is my big hiring peccadillo…