Author Topic: Freezing Pizza Help Please!  (Read 3130 times)

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Offline erpp

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Freezing Pizza Help Please!
« on: October 24, 2006, 02:28:40 PM »
Hello there!  I would like to prepare ahead some pizzas for Halloween & need help with the freezing technique.  Preferably, I would like to freeze complete homemade pizzas similar to "store bought frozen" -- if possible, w/o substantially reducing taste/quality.

Do I par-bake the crust, then add sauce/toppings and freeze?  Or is there a better method???

This is my first time to make completely homemade pizzas & plan to use the America Test Kitchen recipe w/ instant yeast, 1/2 bread flour, & 1/2 whole wheat flour.

I really appreciate any help you guys can give!  Thank you!


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Freezing Pizza Help Please!
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 05:36:23 PM »
erpp,

What you are asking for is a tall order, especially for one who is making complete pizzas for the first time and with a new dough recipe.

It is possible to par-bake a crust and then add sauce, cheese and toppings, and then freeze, but that approach is not one that works particularly well. The approach that is generally considered to be the best approach at this time, according to Tom Lehmann, a dough expert at the American Institute of Baking, is to make a dough skin using yeast and also a product known as WRISE, dress the skin, and freeze it. WRISE is an encapsulated leavening system sold only to professionals, so that may not be an option available to you. However, if you wish to get a better understanding of some of the challenges in making frozen pizzas, I suggest that you go to http://www.pizzaradio.com/Index.php?paged=2 and listen to the Tom Lehmann House Calls audio segment dated August 30, 2006 (http://www.pizzaradio.com/?cat=4&paged=8).

Another possibility is to make a dough skin, freeze it, and then dress and freeze the entire pizza. However, that is an approach that I do not recommend because I don’t believe it will meet the quality requirements you specified in your post. The closest approximation to a supermarket “DiGiorno” crust is the WRISE approach mentioned above.

I personally think the best way to go may be to make par-baked crusts and store them until you are ready to dress them and finish the baking. The par-baked crusts, once allowed to cool, can remain at room temperature for about 3 days, or they can be refrigerated or frozen for a longer period. To give you an idea of how a par-baked crust is made in a home environment, you may want to take a look at Reply 129 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg10061.html#msg10061. I have no idea of whether your dough formulation can be used to make a similar par-baked product.

I have read that one can also take a par-baked crust, dress it, and freeze it to be later baked like a typical frozen pizza. I have never done this so I can't tell you what the disadvantages are, if any. However, it is usually suggested that veggies and other high-moisture toppings be kept at a minimum.

It is also possible to make frozen dough balls, defrost them when ready to use, shape them and dress and bake. That’s a less convenient approach and comes with its own set of shortcomings. However, if you would like more information on frozen dough balls, I can lead you to some posts on that subject to read.

Maybe others with greater experience and success than I in making frozen pizza products can offer some suggestions of possible value to you.

Good luck.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 04:10:51 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline vitus

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Re: Freezing Pizza Help Please!
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2006, 05:56:34 PM »
I would definately go for parbaked crusts.

If you haven't got time to dress the pizza at Halloween then I would go for freezing whole finished pizzas and then just warm them up gently in the oven (not microwave!) before served.
I have tried to freeze finished leftover pizzas and I actually think that they were pretty good when warmed. They were a bit different (actually a bit more crunchy) but definately good. I know that some hardcore pizza lovers will hate me for saying it, but I don't think that they lose that much quality. I wouldn't serve them in a restaurant but I would serve them at an informal party without hesitation.

I would avoid freezing with uncooking toppings ("par-bake the crust, then add sauce/toppings and freeze"). The reason for this is that it takes quite a long time for the pizza to freeze. During all this time the tomato sauce will soak the dough - even if parbaked. And a dough soaked by tomato juice generally doesn't make a very good pizza.  ;)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Freezing Pizza Help Please!
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2006, 06:16:10 PM »
A slow freeze in the typical freezer compartment of a refrigerator does substantial harm to the yeast in the dough, even when steps are taken, as by doubling or tripling the amount of yeast, to compensate for the damage. That is where a separate leavening system helps. It kicks in only when a specified temperature is reached in the oven. The recycling of the freezer is also not good for the frozen dough. Commercial frozen pizza producers use flash freezing at very low temperatures.

I also don't think that freezing high-moisture content topping like veggies does the veggies any good. There are commercial methods used to deal with that problem but they are not yet available to consumers at the retail level as far as I can tell.

Peter

Offline erpp

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Re: Freezing Pizza Help Please!
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2006, 09:03:42 PM »
Thank you all for the comments!  Based on your advice & time limits, I think I will try to par-bake & freeze the bread alone.  Then try to gently bring the bread to back to room temp before adding the sauce/toppings to bake.  Unfortunately, there probably isn't time to track down the WRISE product, but I will definitely listen to the show suggested and check out the link before I get started tomorrow! 

Thank each of you again for the information!  I am really glad I found this website.  Happy Eating!

Offline REMOISE

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Re: Freezing Pizza Help Please!
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2006, 04:19:13 AM »
pre bake is the way to go here is some pics of how your crust should look dont bake to long the 1ST time or your crust will be to hard when baking the 2nd time

Offline REMOISE

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Re: Freezing Pizza Help Please!
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2006, 11:19:43 AM »
the finished product of pre baked crust that has been frozen and baked again...not bad huh?