Author Topic: Keeping Pizzas Warm  (Read 11142 times)

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Offline clg763

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Keeping Pizzas Warm
« on: January 18, 2011, 11:33:14 AM »
So here's the deal, I prepare a lot of big pizza dinners for my old fraternity during the wintertime. Our old house had four large ovens which could handle a pretty large crowd (4 12" deep dish pizzas apiece). However, our new house has a tiny kitchen with a single small oven which can barely do 4 10" pies in a run. We have a dinner coming up where I need to prepare for 70-80 people, as you can imagine, that oven isn't going to do it...ever. I have three large ovens in my house that can easily handle the load in two batches, the only problem is that I live 20 minutes away and will have to prepare them in advance and drive them to the location. I have pizza boxes, delivery bags and a ton of pizza stones on hand, my idea was to put several stones in the bottom of each bag to keep the pies warm.

Will the pizzas still be good after close to two hours if kept hot in a box? Any thoughts or suggestions? I know I have quite a few delivery pizzas that have stayed really good for a while because they were stacked high in a big bag and stayed hot.


Offline clg763

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Re: Keeping Pizzas Warm
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 12:32:40 PM »
No bites yet? Guess I'll have to do some experimenting!

Offline vcb

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Re: Keeping Pizzas Warm
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 03:36:10 PM »
No bites yet? Guess I'll have to do some experimenting!

CLG, I've never done what you're attempting to do and quite frankly am in awe of the task you put before you.

I can say, however, that time is not your friend when it comes to any kind of pizza.
Any delivered pizza is never superior to it's in-restaurant counterpart.
The closer the pizzas are to the time you pulled them out of the oven, the better.

If you have any kind of insulated or heated box for the pizzas, they can possibly get soggy from the steam,
and even if you have something to control that humidity, the pizzas will eventually start to dry out, the longer you wait to serve them.
20 minutes for delivery probably won't be too bad.

Preheating pizza stones and using them in pizza bags sounds like you're adding a ton of weight to those bags without a really big payoff, but it could help.
I imagine that the pizza industry uses a variation of those chemical hand warmer packs that people use in the winter to keep their delivery bags warm.
REACTRO Heat Packs:http://www.roshgo.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?page=rc01/CTGY/00604
If the normal insulation in your delivery bags/boxes isn't enough already, that's probably your best bet.
Worst case, you could keep that on-site oven on full-blast when you get there and you can re-heat the pizzas if they get cold before they get there.

When I've gotten Lou Malnati's pizzas to go, they put a sheet of plastic/wax paper over the pizza,
then cover it with foil and put the whole pie in a cardboard box, with the pizza uncut, all of which should help keep the heat in.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes!
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Offline clg763

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Re: Keeping Pizzas Warm
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 05:48:38 PM »
I am thinking now of doing one batch at my place and doing the rest on site as the night goes along. This means I'll have the first 12 pizzas done upon arrival and I'll do the next 12 four at a time over the next hour or so. I'll just need to keep the pizzas a little lighter so they cook fast.

I am not sure what delivery companies do to keep their pizzas hot but I don't see the stones as prohibitive for me. They can't use them because they have a massive industry built up to support. I am trying to move pizzas from my house to my car, from my car to our frat house one time and I have tons of elbow grease on hand, the weight isn't the remotest concern for me.

Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Keeping Pizzas Warm
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 10:04:52 PM »
rack vented heatlamps.
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Keeping Pizzas Warm
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 10:32:35 PM »
A typical Frat rat will eat a slice found laying upside down on the street that has been run over by at least one car, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.  I would probably pre-cook them all to within a couple minutes of being done and finish them at the fraternity house.

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Offline clg763

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Re: Keeping Pizzas Warm
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 11:00:22 PM »
You're absolutely right on that one! Unfortunately I have been cooking for these frat rats for going on 9 years now and they have pretty high expectations. Of course, as long as the food is free, it will be the most amazing meal they've ever eaten, that compliment has absolutely no meaning anymore. Unfortunately, finishing cooking a pizza that has begun to cool takes a lot longer than one that has just been out of the oven for a second. I think it would be best to have the first dozen pies ready to go on arrival and bake the rest at the house, this will mean they are all freshest and I also have enough to handle the first massive wave of hungry guys.

Offline clg763

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Re: Keeping Pizzas Warm
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 11:30:30 AM »
So I was thinking...what has the highest specific heat of any normal substance? Water! Water will provide about 4-5 as much heat per unit of mass than my pizza stones.

Oh and in an ideal world, I'd find a way to use hydrogen gas to keep em warm, since hydrogen has about 3.5x the specific heat of water.