Author Topic: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?  (Read 384 times)

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Offline csnack

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Hi, I'm gonna be buying two American Metalcraft HCDEP14 14" hard coated pans so I can get a couple pizzas ready at a time, but I've been seeing people suggest pan separators and I've also been searching the net to see what exactly they are used for and if I actually need one, or one for each pan. So what's their purpose? This pan will have 1" tapered edges and is 14" diameter and I'm getting two - what size separator for those pans, how many do I need and why? Dumb question maybe, but I'm just not sure about it. Thanks

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2016, 10:20:51 AM »
Pan separators are flat disks of aluminum which are placed over each individual pan to act as a cover and to allow the pans to be stacked one on top of another. The correct size pan separator to use is 2-inches larger in diameter than the outside top diameter of your pan(s). Pan separators are not needed if your pans are of the self-stacking design. Also, make sure your pans have a dark colored anodized finish as opposed to a "bright" finish.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline csnack

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Re: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2016, 12:42:36 AM »
Thanks man. I got that, but I guess what I was wondering is why would I need to cover the pan. Is it for proofing the dough in the pan? And I guess being able to stack the pans would be beneficial for a pizzeria where they're proofing a bunch of doughs at a time or whatever, but probably not necessary for little old me with my one to two pizzas.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2016, 01:29:49 AM »
Think of it as a lid for the pan. Sure, if you want you can just do as I do and cut open a Walmart bag and lay it over the top of the pan to keep the dough from drying out while it's proofing (pan pizzas are best when allowed to proof/rise in the pan for a period of time (generally 45 to 75-minutes) prior to dressing and baking.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline csnack

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Re: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2016, 01:46:45 AM »
Ahh ok, I get it now that I understand the dough benefits from proofing in the pan for a while. I don't know that a 1" deep pan qualities as pan pizza per se (or does it?), but would you think that a 14" anodized pan that is only 1" deep would benefit from a lid? I'm about to order a couple heavy 14" dark anodized metalcraft pans with tapered 1" sides online and the corresponding lids are only a few bucks and it'd be best to buy everything at once and pay one shipping charge for the lot. Thanks a lot for the help man!

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2016, 04:01:55 PM »
The 1" deep pans are good for making a moderately thick crust pizza (about 1/2" thick) or if you keep the dough skin thin enough you can also make a thin crust pizza in it. For the money, I'd opt for a 1.5 or 2" deep pan as it will allow for baking pizzas with just about any desired crust thickness, from very thin to an inch thick or more. Thin crust pizzas baked in a pan are not necessarily the best pizzas on the block but they're not especially bad either.
Normally when one buys pans of that type the intent is to make deep-dish pizzas. It all depends upon what you want to make.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline csnack

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Re: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 08:59:29 PM »
Right on man thanks. I have the Lodge cast iron for thin NY style and it worked great. Honestly I'm after a crust like Pizza Hut's pan crust. I'll go ahead and get 1.5 or 2" deep pans then, thanks for the tip. Regarding diameter, would you suggest 14" or 16" pans? What are you using? Basically I'm just gonna be making dough recipes I find online for pizzas that size. Usually I make two at a time and have left overs.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: What exactly is a pizza pan separator and why would I need one?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016, 09:05:22 PM »
When making deep-dish pan pizzas I only make them in 14" size.
Here is a trick that I learned a long time ago when making deep-dish pizzas, grease the sides of the pan with shortening like Crisco and use oil in the bottom of the pan. The oil will give the pizza a crispier bottom crust while the shortening on the sides of the pan will make fitting the dough into the pan a lot easier.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor