Author Topic: Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time  (Read 663 times)

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Offline petef

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Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time
« on: May 22, 2013, 04:35:27 AM »
This post is about obtaining consistency for a baked pie. It's a difficult challenge that faces the home and professional pizza chef. It's my experience as a home pizza maker that there is a very small window of about 30 to 60 seconds when the pie is properly baked. Outside that window, it's not browned enough or the bottom is burnt excessively.

What techniques do you use to ensure the optimum bake time for the particular pie you are baking?

For example, if I'm baking my typical 14 ounce dough/14 inch diameter Tomato Pie, in my home oven, I load the pie, and my set timer for 4 minutes.  At 4 minutes, I open the oven and check the bottom for signs of burning and the top rim for proper browning. Then I continue to set the timer for 1 minute intervals and open the door checking the bottom and top rim until it's perfect.

How do the pros do it? I've never seen a pro use a timer. This might account for all the inconsistency we often see with pizza shops over or under baking their pies. In my own home kitchen I often have multiple things cooking simultaneously. I utilize multiple timers to keep me from burning or overcooking stuff. So that's my control.. Multiple timers.

---pete---




« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 04:43:40 AM by petef »


Offline waltertore

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Re: Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 06:15:40 AM »
I can only tell you that the longer you do it the easier it gets to make them come out right.  I use blodgett 1000 ovens and they, like any oven, have a personality.  Once you get to know it, the pies come out pretty much right on.  We run a bakery as well as a pizzeria, and on top of that, my pizzeria/bakery is also a high school education class that teaches developmentally delayed students the skills needed to find entry level work.  Sometimes I am juggling so many hats I burn a pie but when left alone to just make pizzas it is pretty fail safe.   You load them in and pretty much once the last one is in the first is near done and it gets into a rhythm so to speak.  We use the built in timers with our convection ovens which are used for our baked goods but the pizzas, breads, bagels, are all done on the decks of the blodgetts with no timers.  Walter

http://www.newarkcityschools.org/content_page2.aspx?cid=1032
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 07:48:54 AM by waltertore »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 08:08:48 AM »
Pete;
I like to check the bottom, then the top edge, and the cheese color along with the toppings. Each of us has a crust color or baked characteristic that we are looking for so you really can't apply any specifics, but like Walter said, it soon becomes pretty intuitive and a good oven tender can pretty well nail it "spot on" every time. Then you have the shops using the most popular type of ovens, the air impingement oven. With these ovens you place the dresses dough skin on one end of the conveyor, and a fully baked pizza emerges from the other end. Since the human element has been removed these ovens depend upon consistency to provide a decent bake, by this I mean that you must have a consistent product going into the oven to have a consistent pizza coming out of it. Dough temperature is critical, as is the temperature of the toppings, dough thickness also plays into the equation, and it goes without saying that all like pizzas must be baked on a like platform (pan, screen, etc.). These ovens are set up to bake pizzas for a specific shop, once set up they pretty well run themselves, as long as the operator continually provides a uniform and consistent product to the oven. If that doesn't happen, things go to heck in a hand basket pretty fast.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline waltertore

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Re: Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 08:25:30 AM »
Tom made a great point about each of  us having a specific look of what constitutes a done pie.   I have one student, the girl working the dough in the picture, who can run both ovens loaded and gets it right.   She is on the same page as me with what a finished pie looks like.  I would never open a full time pizzeria with multiple pizza makers because I have seen that scenario too many times- the owner makes a great pie, employee a makes them to dark, employee b makes them too light, etc.   I grew up in the Newark NJ area (50's-70's) and the pizza makers there were old school and been doing it for most of their lives.  I learned from them and the quality stayed pretty consistant.  Now when I go back home many of those same shops are staffed by younger people and non family members (often whose culture has no pizza in it) and the quality has gone way south often times.   I have a local entrepenuer who wants me to oversee opening a pizzeria here that will make pies like I do.  He loves my pizza and can't understand why I say no everytime he asks.   Quality will go out the window because there is no pizza making culture out here like I grew up in and hiring unskilled, low pay, workers, will result in a mess of quality control.   I would rather not have the money than my name associated with an inconsistant product.  Walter
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 08:35:56 AM by waltertore »

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 11:31:55 AM »
I am a home cook. I have an advantage in that I don't have a door to my pizza oven. I can see it as it cooks. I cook from the bottom up. After the pie has set and can be lifted I peek at the bottom crust. Once the bottom is about 75% done, based on color, I concentrate on getting the top done, if it is not going to be done in = time I will either dome or increase the fire to hurry things along. Every pie is done by itself with me in attendance. In a meal situation with other dishes involved I get them all ready before I bake the pie.
 
Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline PizzaJerk

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Re: Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 12:09:18 PM »
I would also like to add to some already excellent insight on this topic.
Very simply, know your dough. It may sound a bit vague but what I mean by this is that a dough goes through different stages of development. If you make 3 dough balls and use each of those on consecutive days you will notice quite a change in it's ability to brown on the top and the bottom uniformly (also a difference in flavor). Hone in on the one day that best suits your overall taste and visual senses and consistently use that procedure the same time, every time and you will get a very predictable and satisfying outcome. Also, make sure you use the same setup (oven temp, baking level and so on) each time; the whole idea is for you to be consistent with all of the variables so as the pie will reward you also with consistency.

Good Luck,
Anthony
May I glorify the Lord in all that I do.

Offline petef

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Re: Techniques for ensuring optimum bake time
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 08:49:29 PM »
Thanks for all the replies and great insights. Now I especially see the challenge of a pizza shop having a consistent bake when there are multiple people involved in the mix. It's hard enough being consistent working alone in my kitchen. ---pete---


 

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