Steam. Pizza's Wost Enemy

Any tricks to keep the heat in but the steam out? We have a del/co and the only way the pizza stays crisp is when you eat it right out the oven. We use delivery bags and not that I get any taste complaints or anything but people do say it gets a little soggy.’’


It’s certainly a challenge.

-I’d look into using Krisp-its(pmq advertiser) for you veggie intensive/pepperoni pizzas. It basically soaks up excess water and grease. It looks like large bread crumbs.

-Our boxes combined with the mass of our pizzas can keep a pizza hot for 20-25 minutes without a hot bag (except in winter). So, I skip the hotbag if it’s a real quick delivery, or at the least, let the hotbag flap stay open to vent. (If you compare your pizza after 20 minutes with and without the hotbag there can be a big difference. I never use a hotbag for pizzas I take home.

-Don’t stack pizzas in a hotbag. The steam will not escape between the boxes. Next time, reach in between two pizzas, it will feel almost wet to the touch. The steam needs to equalize with surrounding but with no airflow on half your box surface the steam will have nowhere to go.

-Don’t store waiting deliveries in a hotbag until they’re ready to go out the door. Stack them on the oven with the box cracked open if possible.

Good luck.

Also, you might try a longer, but lower cook time. Takes a little more of the water out, it seems like to me.

you could also try inserts. they are little pieces of cardboard that are zig zagged, something we did at the Indie I ran for a while was put the pie on a cooling rack for a minute or so after it came out of the oven then cut it and put it in the box

I’m a delivery driver for Papa Johns. We used to use insulated red vinyl coated pizza hot bags that let out almost none of the steam. Boxes were often wet or soggy with those bags, especially in the wintertime when condensation was more prevalent.

We have since switched to insulated cloth hot bags that seem to have a pierced/vented aluminized Mylar reflective layer inside to reflect the heat while it lets the steam out through the tiny perforations. (you can hear it ‘crinkle’ in the new bags) I assume that your pizza boxes also have built in vent holes to let the steam out. The new bags do a much better job of keeping the pizza hot while letting the steam permeate the bag.

I’d choose our new (polyester?) cloth bags over the old vinyl bags any day. They are durable, resist dirt and grime, dry out quickly, and just plain work great. I love pulling a pizza outta the bag in front of a customer in the winter and getting the ‘steaming hot pizza effect’ in the wintertime. Since I have handled thousands of pizzas after a 5 to 20 minute trip in the car, stacked with other pizza bags too, I feel I am qualified to judge if a box (and therefore the pizza inside) has gotten wet or soggy after a ride in the hot bag. I do occasionally get to eat the bad orders that have made a round trip in that bag too.

Vinyl bags are bad for pizza, period.

As many of you know, I am a deer hunter, and deer hunters are much like a pizza. I know…this is going to take some explaining. The pizza is hot and giving off moisture in the form of water vapor, just like a sweating hunter. It used to be that I wore wool as it retained its insulating properties even when wet from sweat. OK, so now I was wet, but warm. Fast forward to Gore-Tex, that miracle fabric that allows water vapor to pass right on through it, but keeps water droplets out. Add to that, a silver reflective color, and we have something that will allow moisture (sweat) to escape, while the silver color reflects body heat back to where it came from “me”, so now I’m nice and warm, and dry to boot. Like a pizza should be. So, what would happen if we were to make an insulated delivery bag just like we would make insulated hunting clothing with a Gore-Tex liner or window on the top of the bag? I have been asking this question now for almost ten years, and still no one has jumped at it and made a test bag. Is Gore-Tex too expensive? It’s a lot cheaper now than it was ten years ago, and besides, today we have a whole raft of similar membranes that work just as well, and at a lower cost, so I don’t think that cost has to be the factor that it once might have been. Hint, hint, maybe the market is ready for some type of “Gore-Tex” bag. A combination of the different factors already covered in the other posts along with a well ventilated box and a “Gore-Tex” delivery bag might be just what the market is looking for. One final word; No, you can’t “borrow” my Gore-Tex hunting clothes, as much as I love pizza, I don’t want to roam the fields and woods smelling like a fresh, hot pizza looking for a delivery address.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I never thought about that Tom but your right, I play basketball about 4 times a week. before I wore the cotton shirts I would sweat the shirt would get soaked and weigh me down, now with the new material i stay dry its great.
Tom, I was trying to invision the pizza bag, I get how the inside and outside works but wouldnt the insulation between the two have the counter effect?
what if the bag had insulation on top and bottom with the gore tex around all side would that be the ultimate set up, I may look into this as a little side project…I sold my second shop and used to a lot more work load so, may something to keep idol hands…on a side note also will I see you in vegas?

I have this image of coming to the door carrying a Goretex jacket with the pizza inside… sleeves hanging down … :lol:

Gregster is right, I have worked with both kinds of bags and the cloth ones are way better.

I’m not sure just where the best application of the membrane would be, but with these newer insulating materials (thinsulate) which are 100% synthetic, and don’t absorb any moisture (they allow any moisture to pass right on through it, but still provide excellent insulating properties. This stuff is so good that I would think a typical delivery bag might require no more than possibly 500 grams (about 17-ounces). My knee jerk reaction is to put the membrane panel on the top of the bag where we typically see a lot of moisture collect in the box. With a well ventilated box I would thing the moisture would now collect in the top portion of the bag, so that is where we would need to remove it from. Tests would need to be done to confirm or refute this thought.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks for all the reply guys. Those are great ideas.

My pizza boxes have perforated cuts on the sides that give you the option to press them in. Are those to let steam out? All the corners are already cut open to let steam out and I’m wondering why there are more on the side but aren’t open unless you push them in manually. Does that make sense?

I have a guy here in Chicago and he makes bags out of his home as a side gig. He uses 3M Thinsulate in the bags and they work out great . There will always be some sweating but still do a great job. Those are custom made just for our GIANT 24’ pizzas. For the rest of the pizzas we use a regular pizza folder put it inside a larger cardboard box ( they call them hot boxes here in Chicago) then the driver wraps them in a blanket before going out the door. Again this works out well for us.

It gives you the option to leave them closed or open them. For example, a pepperoni pizza generally doesn’t have the moisture issues that a veggie lovers delight pizza will have, hence, you can leave those vents closed for the pep. pizza and open them for the veggie pizza. I would like to see vents onthe top of the box, but I think they would allow the pizza to cool too fast without the right type of insulated bag.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

i may experiment with this my friend is a seamstress so we will see

I would love to hear any updates on the gore-tex pizza bag experiment. :slight_smile:

I investigated costs of using Thinsulate and Goretex. Pricey stuff. Would you pay $40 for one of these bags?

PJs actually has a decent box with a vent that pops open in the back when you close it. Too bag the bag they put it is doesn’t breathe.

I will play with this for my own store (again, if it ever opens) and if it tests well, I may consider a production run for sale.

After years of working in the outdoor industry, I very much doubt that these fabrics would let sufficient vapor through to stop the steam building up inside.

If any fabric can do the job it would be a fabric called eVent which has been shown to have better ventelation than GoreTex.

However, the problems that you guys are talking about is keeping the heat in. GoreTex’s/eVent’s main advantage is keeping the wet out while letting vapour out. They do not insulate in any way. Coats/jackets using GoreTex use insolation material inside the fabric which keeps the heat in.
So finding a good insulation with good ventilation capabilities would be a better sollution.

The approach that has been suggested is to use the VTM only on the top of the bag where the stram tends to rise to. The silver color of the membrane will help to reflect heat back to the product. I’ve got a feeling that a small amount of insulation might work, but as you say, to hit it with a lot of insulation will only defeat the purpose. We’re only suggestingabout a 12 X 12 membrane panel incorporated into the top portion of the bag. It could also be done in strips about an inch wide too, we only need t get rid of some of that steam to make a difference, but the more we can get rid of, within reason, the better.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

what about putting a few grommeted holes in the bags, to allow the steam to escape? that, coupled with additional holes in each box might be the trick, especially for those of use that use a heated disk…

Well what we do with our pizza delivery bags is we put the velcro flap and put it closer to the top of the bag making it NOT closed tight, which cause the side corners to have open spaces which lets the steam out. When taking the delivery in the car, you can actually see the steam escaping. Seems to work pretty good.