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pizza dough: prebake or not?

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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 09:28 AM
Original message
pizza dough: prebake or not?
I usually make pizza using my own homemade dough. It's quick and easy. I usually just load up the raw dough with toppings and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Most of the time it's good, but sometimes the crust is kind of doughy.

Then I tried prebaking the crust in a pan for 10 min. first, then finishing with the toppings on it directly on the oven rack for another 10 min. A second one finished using my pizza stone turned out a bit too crispy.

I've heard you can make pizza by putting the raw dough on a heated pizza stone, but I'm always wondering if I'm going to burn myself trying to preheat the stone and then get the dough onto it and back into the oven!

I'd love to hear your best methods for making pizza with a homemade crust. I usually like it on the thin and crispy side to lower the carb content, so I make one 12" pizza with: 1 c. bread flour, 1 tsp. dry yeast, 1/2 c. tepid water, 1 T. oil, 1/2 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 09:36 AM
Response to Original message
1. Sounds like you need to master the use of the peel
A cookie sheet will suffice.

Preheat the stone for an hour.

Peel the fully constructed pizza onto the stone, peel it off when done.

Go light on toppings, too much leads to soggy pizza.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Peels and stones
There are two kinds of peels - metal and wood. There are actually several flavors of each, but for us, that's all we need to know.

Metal peels are thin. They're used to remove pizzas from an oven and to manipulate the pizza while it is in there. Wood peels are used to assemble a raw pizza and then to deposit it in the oven.

I suggest getting one of each. The wood peels can be found anywhere. The metal peels are harder to come by, but they're cheap. A restaurant supply store may have them.

Get a wood peel of about 12" to 14" width and with a short handle.


Get a metal peel of about the same size. Metal peels have wooden handles and are most often made of aluminum.


Pizza stones are the subject of much discussion. On the low end, you can, in fact, use tiles. Here's what a stone is doing: It is forming an even heat source that can overcome the 'shock' of a cold slab of dough hitting it. You want mass. Mass stores heat. The dough needs heat. A lot of mass can give up heat to the dough and not get too cold. Also, a stone has the effect of removing moisture from the dough, resulting in a better bottom crust. So ..... tiles are okay.

One 3/8" thick 18 x 18 unglazed tile is just fine. A few bucks each. Okay, but quite low mass.


Then you can buy those light colored stones that you see in the cooking stores and even at places like Target. They do very well at absorbing moisture, but lack a little in the mass department. They're okay, to be sure, but not perfect. Some are round, some are rectangular. Shape matters little, really. Fifteen to twenty bux, tops.


At the high end are **very** heavy, high mass ceramic stones. They weigh well over twenty pounds and cost over a hundred bux, but have so much mass you can cook pizzas all day long and never cool them down.


All of these demand a long preheat and high temperature - no home oven gets really high enough, so just whack yours up as high as it will go. The tiles need maybe 30 minutes. The middle ones at least 45 minutes, and the heavy ones, an hour, minimum.

When you make the raw pizzas on the wooden peel, be sure the dough is on a well floured surface or one dusted with corn meal. You do NOT want a raw pizza to stick to your wooden peel.

Most of all .... have fun! And search here in C&B for pizza recipes. Pizza is a VERY popular topic with us and seems to be never ending.



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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I do have a round pizza stone
It's of the Target quality--got it as a premium from a bank. I haven't tried it with raw dough because I didn't know how to have it not stick. I suppose plenty of flour would do the trick, and/or cornmeal. A very thin crust would also be harder to move around. I didn't know it took so long to preheat those stones.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Cornmeal is the best, I think
because it doesn't tend to absorb moisture from the dough and weld to either the peel or the oven.
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housewolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. What a teriffic summary of peels & baking stones!
I've used 1.5" bricks, 6" quarry tiles from Home Depot and 12" quarry tiles from Home Depot and they all work great. Yes, they do take quite a while to heat up - I always give mine at leasat 40-45 minutes, minimum. I also use them for pie crusts a la Rose Levy Youm to ensure a fully-cooked, non-soggy bottom crust. You can really use them in the oven to cook and bake just about anything... when I was using the bricks, they pretty much just lived in the oven because they were heavy. You can clean them by leaving them in the oven when you run the self-clean cycle... and they clean up just great that way.

Parchment paper is my friend. It's so much easier to transfer dough onto a stone using parchment paper using a bare peel and worrying about the dough sticking to the peel... and it also reduces the mess from spilled cornmeal in the oven. The thing about parchment paper is that you want it cut pretty much to size (slightly larger is okay) because over-hanging parchment can burn. And unless your toppings fall onto the parchment, the bread won't stick to it. Plus it's handy for shifting the bread around on the stone (bare dough, when placed on a hot stone, will stick to the stone for a few minutes but releases during the cooking process so it can be easily removed),

I used open-sided aluminum cookie sheets as a peel for a long time, and often still do just because I have one that's smaller and easier to manage than my wooden peel.

They key to success is experimentation... keep trying different things and eventually you'll discover "your way."





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cmf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
2. I use a preheated stone + a pizza peel to get it on the stone
What I do is place a piece of parchment paper on a pizza peel. Then I roll out my dough and place it on the paper. I put the toppings on the dough and leave it to rise. While the pizza is rising, I move my pizza stone to the top rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450. When the oven is ready, I slide the pie (paper and all) onto the stone. The pizza is usually done within 12 minutes. When it's ready, I use some metal tongs to help get the pizza back on the peel. The parchment is great because it makes the pizza so easy to slide without having to use cornmeal or a bunch of flour.

My recipe uses 2 cups flour, 5 fl oz water, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast (I make my dough in a machine). This makes either a thicker crust 12 inch, or a really big thin crust pizza. You could probably use half the dough to make a thin crust 12 inch and freeze the rest for later.
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. I usually make two thin crust pizzas at a time
My recipe is the same except for more water--maybe I should try cutting it down a little and have less stickiness. The parchement paper idea is a good one.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
3. What They Said (re: Peel & Stone)
Make sure you get a peel at a restaurant supply store, because the ones that come with stones are usually on the small side. Or you can learn to divide your batches up to make more small pies. If you make your doughs too large, and you use the small peel, you'll end up pre-baking your dough again.

Some people get a bunch of quarry tiles from Home Depot and use those instead of a stone.

I use regular all-purpose flour and omit the oil from my dough.
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mt13 Donating Member (281 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. the secret is...
Edited on Sat Jan-03-09 02:04 PM by mt13
cornmeal! use a wooden peel and liberally sprinkle it with cornmeal before placing your dough on it. then build your masterpiece directly on the peel. it will slide right off, with a little shake, onto the stone in the oven. also, a hotter oven will cook the dough better, i suggest minimum of 500 degrees.
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
10. thanks everyone for the ideas
I'm going to try both parchment paper and cornmeal and see what I like best. And will give the raw dough/pizza stone a serious try. 500 degrees it is--well maybe 475 because my oven is always too hot.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-09 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. There is no such thing as "too hot" when it comes to pizzas
Ideally, you want an oven of 700 to 750 ....... there is no way on earth any home oven can ever get too hot for pizzas,
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