Author Topic: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?  (Read 60357 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2006, 11:46:42 AM »
Wazatron,

I concluded that at this juncture it is unlikely that we are going to get more and better information than we now have on the Donatos dough and sauce. So, I decided to just forge ahead and try making a clone of that dough and sauce using the best information that we have, along with some educated guesses.

To this end, I decided to make a test dough using all-purpose flour (bromated and bleached), 7% eggs (as a percentage of flour), and 54% hydration (60% when the water from the egg is factored in). The actual order of ingredients, by their predominance by weight in the dough, was as follows: all-purpose flour, water, eggs, vegetable oil, salt, dried dairy whey, nonfat dry milk (scalded in a bit of water and then cooled), sugar, instant dry yeast (IDY) and corn meal. Until we get a better fix on things, I will defer a discussion of all the baker’s percents I used and the dough processing steps I used other than to say that the dough turned out well. The dough was a bit firmer than those I usually make, undoubtedly due to the eggs and quite possibly the dried dairy whey and nonfat dry milk, but it was still smooth and a bit on the tacky side. I decided to cold ferment the dough for about a day. I assumed that this would be essentially equivalent to the frozen dough balls that Donato’s allegedly thaws out to use at the store level.

I removed the dough about 22 hours after putting it in the refrigerator and let it warm up at room temperature for an hour, covered lightly with a sheet of plastic wrap. I then rolled out the dough (using a rolling pin) to about 14 inches, the size of pizza I decided to make. At this point, my plan was to make just the 14” pizza. However, after I had cut out the 14” skin from the rolled out dough, using my 14-inch pizza screen as a template, I saw that I had a small amount of dough left over. Rather than discard it, I decided to rework it, flatten it, and put it back in the refrigerator pending a decision on what to do with it (more on this below).

I docked the 14” skin, placed it on a piece of parchment paper that I had dusted with corn meal, and put the skin/parchment paper on the pizza screen for support and stability in handling. I then put this arrangement into my microwave oven, which I decided to use to “proof” the 14” skin. To create the humidified environment in the microwave oven, I placed a 4-cup Pyrex cup filled with water that had been heated to around 200 degrees F. I left the skin in the microwave oven for 1 hour. Using a couple of flip maneuvers (not material here) after removing the skin from the microwave oven, I was able to transfer the skin onto the pizza screen without the parchment paper. The skin was then sauced, cheesed and topped to go into the oven.

For the sauce, I tried to make a clone of the Donatos sauce for which you provided the basic ingredients. In my case, I used 6-in1 tomatoes that I had cooked on low heat to reduce the liquids, and to which I added sugar, a bit of salt, a few pinches of ordinary paprika (just to the point of being detectable on the palate), dry leaf basil and leaf basil that I had pulverized in a mortar and pestle. For cheeses, I decided to use Provolone cheese, as does Donatos, but because the Provolone cheese I had on hand was an imported variety with a potent flavor, I decided to cut it with a low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese and white cheddar cheese. This is a combination I had used recently in making a Greek/pub pizza and thought was very good. For toppings for the pizza, I used pepperoni slices, sausage (raw, in thumb-sized pieces), and a combination of both sauteed and raw mushroom slices.

The dressed pizza was cooked on the lower oven rack position of my oven, which I had preheated to about 450 degrees F, for about 8 minutes. I then moved the pizza to the middle oven rack position where it remained for about an additional 4 minutes. The first set of photos below show the finished pizza.

While I thought the pizza tasted fine (I could even detect the egg in the crust), I concluded that the crust was likely too thick. The crust was chewy with a slightly crispy bottom crust and a soft interior crumb, but judging from the photos you posted earlier on this thread of the Donatos pizza, I thought that it should have been even crispier and more golden in color. I also concluded that the procedures I used to try to simulate the procedures apparently used by Donatos are too labor intensive and uncertain, with a high potential for mishaps when handling the dough. While I believe that measures might be taken to better simulate a proofing environment and to make a home oven behave thermodynamically more like the conveyor ovens Donatos uses, doing so may take a great deal of experimentation with both the “proofer”, the oven thermodynamics and, quite likely, the dough formulation itself.

It was with these thoughts in mind that I decided to try an entirely different approach. That is where the leftover dough comes in. After an additional day in the refrigerator, I rolled the leftover dough out to about 7” which, for the amount of dough involved (under 2 ounces), was about half as thick as the 14” skin I had made for the first pizza (a thickness factor of about 0.05 compared with 0.10 for the 14” pizza). I docked the skin and then fitted it into a 7” (6 1/2 inch ID) dark anodized cutter pan (from pizzatools.com) that I had first oiled and sprinkled with some corn meal. I covered the pan with the dough with a sheet of plastic wrap and let the dough “proof” for about an hour at room temperature (this time, without a special humidified environment). Using this greatly simplified approach, I avoided the messiness of using corn meal on a pizza screen, the parchment paper, and the need to flip the dough. At the same time, I set the stage for getting better browning and crisping of the bottom crust. Eliminating the proofing of the dough in a humidified environment further simplified the entire procedure.

After the skin had proofed, I sauced it, cheesed it and topped it. This time, for toppings I used pepperoni slices, sauteed and raw mushroom slices, and raw diced red and green peppers. As with the first pizza, the toppings were fairly generously applied, just as the Donatos pizzas appear to be from the photos you posted and as also shown at the Donatos website. The pizza was baked on a pizza stone that I had placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500 degrees F. When I first put the pizza onto the stone, I lowered the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. The pizza remained on the stone for about 6 minutes, whereupon it was moved off of the stone to the middle oven rack position. The pizza baked at that oven position for about 4 or 5 more minutes, or until the cheeses were bubbling and the crust was nicely browning. The remaining photos show the finished 7” pizza

There was little doubt in my mind that the second baking approach using the pan and stone was better and surer and “cleaner” procedurally than using the pizza screen. The crust was crispier but not cracker like, and with better color, and no doubt I could have left the pizza in the oven a couple of minutes longer to get even more browning. And I liked the pizza better than the first one. I concluded that the crust this time was perhaps too thin, so with this thought in mind I am in the process of modifying the dough formulation to produce a dough thickness between the two doughs I made. This time I plan to use bread flour (unbleached and non-bromated) to try to get even better crust browning, and make a 12” size and use a 14” (13 1/2” ID) dark anodized pizzatools.com cutter pan, using the same general baking protocol I used with the 7” pizza. If that effort turns out well, I will report back on my findings. Please feel free in the meantime to critique the pizzas I made in relation to your intimate familiarity with the Donatos pizzas.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 13, 2006, 06:29:02 PM by Pete-zza »


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2006, 11:52:21 AM »
And the 7-inch baked in the cutter pan on the pizza stone..


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2006, 09:22:37 AM »
Following up on my recent posts, I proceeded to make several changes to the last Donatos dough “clone” formulation. Normally, I don’t change more than one variable at a time, but with a total of 10 different ingredients and no information on baker’s percents beyond my best estimates, it could take forever to test out all the possibilities, or even a few of them. So, I focused my efforts and used my best judgment in trying to achieve the basic characteristics of a typical Donatos crust, particularly the thickness and color. My latest results are shown in the photos below for critique purposes by Wazatron and anyone else who may be familiar with Donato’s pizzas. What follows is a summary of my latest effort:

Ingredients and Baker’s Percents: King Arthur bread flour (100%), Water (56%, but 61.9% when the water from the egg is factored in), eggs (7%), vegetable oil (4%), salt (1.7%), dried dairy whey (1.7%), nonfat dried milk (1.7%, scalded in a small amount of the water and cooled), sugar (1%), instant dry yeast (0.5%), corn meal. The total dough weight was 9.05 ounces, for a 12” pizza.

Dough management: The finished dough was placed into the refrigerator for about 52 hours; it was then allowed to warm up at room temperature for 1 hour, and then rolled out, using a rolling pin, to 12 inches (skin); the skin was docked and placed in a 14” (13 1/2” ID) dark anodized pizzatools.com cutter pan that was first oiled with vegetable oil and fairly liberally scattered with corn meal; the skin (in the cutter pan) was then proofed in the microwave oven, with humidity (from 200-degree F water in a large measuring cup), for 1 1/2 hours.

Dressing of the Pizza: The pizza was dressed using a Donatos clone sauce (previously described); shredded Provolone/low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella/white cheddar cheese blend; a mixture of sauteed and fresh mushrooms, raw sliced red and green peppers and onions; and pepperoni slices.

Baking Protocol: The pizza was baked on the lowest oven rack position on a pizza stone that had been preheated to 500 degrees F for one hour. After 8 minutes of baking on the stone, the pizza was transferred to the middle oven rack position and baked for about 4 additional minutes at 450 degrees F.

Results: The pizza tasted very good, with good crust flavor and golden color (top and bottom), soft in the middle and chewy with a bit of crispiness at the edges. The thickness factor used, 0.08, seems to be close to what the Donatos photos depict in the way of crust thickness. The pizza held up very well to all the raw vegetables and did not exhibit “swampiness” in the middle of the pizza or anywhere else. The vegetables were not mushy, although the pepperoni slices were starting to dry out a bit. Overall, the pizza was very enjoyable.

Changes to be Made Next Time: I plan to use less cornmeal, reduce the microwave proof time to 1 hour, and bake the pizza on the stone for about 4-5 minutes with the rest of the bake time on the middle oven rack position, with the objective of increasing the bottom crust crispiness. The thickness factor may also be adjusted, or other changes made, if warranted by information from the critiques of the pizzas made to date.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 05:54:48 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2006, 06:51:01 PM »
wow, that last pizza looks like the real deal! I'd like to try the recipe and see how it comes out for me. Novice-status aside I could help add tasting notes and so forth to the recipe.

A couple of questions I do have, as far as getting started: What was your starting flour weight so I can calculate the rest of the ingredients for a 14" pizza? I generally see myself making 14" pies - maybe an occasional 16" - when going for this style of pizza.

Thanks a million Pete! Those edges look nice and crisp and the toppings are all the way out to the edge!! Sweet!! I don't think I'll have time to try out the recipe until next week sometime but I'm anxious to experiment and contribute!

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2006, 09:35:58 PM »
Wazatron,

I am anxious for you to give the pizza a try and to get your feedback, especially since I have never had a Donatos pie. I am counting on you to be my seeing-eye dog.

To save you some work, I ran the numbers for a 14-inch pizza through my spreadsheet:

Wazatron's 14-inch Donatos Clone Dough Recipe
100%, Bread flour (KA), 7.11 oz. (201.34 g.), 1 1/2 c. + 2 T. + 2 t. (stir, spoon and level technique)
56%, Water*, 3.98 oz. (112.75 g.), a bit less than 1/2 c.
7%, Eggs, 0.50 oz. (14.09 g.), about 1/3 of a large egg
4%, Vegetable oil (I used light Classico), 0.28 oz. (8.05 g.), 1 3/4 t.
1.7%, Salt, 0.12 oz. (3.42 g.), a bit less than 5/8 t.
1.7%, Dried dairy whey, 0.12 oz. (3.42 g.), a bit over 1 t.
1.5%, Nonfat dry milk (supermarket Carnation), 0.11 oz. (3.02 g.), a bit less than 2 1/4 t.
1%, Sugar, 0.07 oz. (2.01 g.), 1/2 t.
0.50%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.04 oz. (1.01 g.), 1/3 t.
Total dough weight = 12.32 oz. (349.13 g.)
Pizza size = 14 inches
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.08
* Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
Note: All measurements are standard U.S./metric

To prepare the dough, I would do the following: 1) Stir the nonfat dry milk into a small amount of the total water, scald (I used the microwave), let cool, and set aside. 2) Combine the flour, sugar, IDY, and the dried dairy whey in a bowl, and set aside. 3) Crack one egg, stir, measure out the amount needed, and set aside. 4) Put the remaining water into the bowl of the stand mixer, add the salt and stir to dissolve. 5) Add the cooled liquid nonfat dry milk and the egg to the salt/water "brine" and combine (I used a wooden spoon). 6) Add the flour mixture gradually and mix/knead at Stir or 1 speed until all or a good part of the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. 7) Add the oil and knead to combine, using speed 1 and/or 2, adding any additional flour and/or water needed to achieve a dough that is smooth and slightly sticky (tacky). 8) Knead the dough by hand for about 30 seconds and shape into a ball or disk. 9) Lightly oil the dough ball and place it within a container (covered) and then put into the refrigerator.

For the rest of the process you should review my last post. You might also want to adopt the changes I proposed. At this juncture, I wouldn't worry too much about altitude adjustments. They can come later, if needed. Please note as many differences as possible in terms of taste, texture and crust color.

Good luck.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 24, 2006, 07:59:14 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2006, 08:26:24 PM »
Hi there again - I haven't yet been able to try the recipe but I now have all the ingredients! I should be able to try it out this week and will post pictures and notes!

One thing of interest that I thought I'd share is this: many people have suggested that I check out the Round Table pizza, as the cooking method and stuff sounded really similar to Donatos.

I'd never heard of Round Table pizza until finding this board and had never eaten in until this past month!! So I finally got to taste-test it!!

I'll say up front that it was very good! However, I also have to say that it tasted absolutely nothing like Donatos. It was very much a bread-like crust - thicker with nice air bubbles. Much closer to a NY-American style pizza in my eyes than a Donatos style pizza.

I found that all pretty interesting, and was really excited to try it when we were visiting a friend in California. He thought I was nuts! :)

Anyhow, for what its worth - following a Round Table recipe is certainly not the way to go. Though it really looks like Petezza is on the right trail! I'm excited to try to recipe and help out!

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2006, 03:42:10 AM »
Oh my...i've been missing for a while.

Looks like i'll have to bust out the mixer tomorrow. I'm excited.

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2006, 10:30:51 AM »
Philip,

From some of your previous posts, and knowing that you originally came from Ohio (where Donatos has a very major presence), I wondered when I would hear from you :). That's good, and I hope you will give the Donatos dough clone a try. I have never had a Donatos pizza so the more opinions we can muster the better. It may well be that we will never be able to exactly replicate the Donatos pizzas, because of dough formulation differences and/or dough management differences, but I think we will come up with a very good pizza nonetheless, as I have already demonstrated. As previously noted, there are dough ingredients that we, as home pizza makers, do not have available to us, and we don't start with frozen dough or use commercial proofers. Also, in my case at least, I do not have a perforated disk (with the right number of holes and spacings) available to me at the moment to experiment with. It may well be that the disks are specifically designed exclusively for Donatos.

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2006, 12:39:44 PM »
I'll get working on this tonight, when I get back from work.

Pete, if I may ask, what brand of 'dried dairy whey' do you use and/or where can I find it?

Philip

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2006, 01:00:51 PM »
Philip,

I originally got my dairy whey from the bulk bins at Whole Foods, but the WF store I frequent no longer carries it in the bins. However, I believe it offers the Bob's Red Mill brand, as shown here: https://www.bobsredmill.com/catalog/index.php?action=showdetails&product_ID=412. King Arthur also sells their brand of the same product but the price is likely to be much higher.

If you end up liking the results of the Donatos dough clone, you might also want to look for some baker's grade (high heat) nonfat dry milk, which will eliminate the need to liquefy the supermarket stuff and scald and cool it before using. I recently ordered the baker's grade nonfat dry milk and am awaiting its delivery. King Arthur also sells a comparable product. A bag each of dried dairy whey and baker's grade nonfat dry milk will last a long time at the rate we would be using it.

Peter


Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2006, 01:38:58 PM »
Your second pie looks pretty close (shockingly so considering you have only seen a handful of pictures and we know relatively little about the dough...) to the outcome we're looking for, especially the charred crispys on the outer rim.

Sadly, Donatos has pulled out of the Pennsylvania market and, even though it was over an hour drive to the nearest store, it will be sorely missed by my family. We made a drive out to the store we normally go to only to find it boarded up. I don't know why, as the stores are constantly busy, but I know they are now trying to focus more on their Florida market right now. Ah well, just some more incentive to work on the recipe at home.

I wanted to make a note to Wazatron- the reason a lot of people think the Donato's pizza is greasy is because of the provolone cheese. If you aren't from Ohio (or St. Louis, apparently), provolone is a fairly odd cheese to use 100% on top of the pizza. Look at the other larger national chains, none of them use a provolone based cheese topping, it's a pretty foreign idea to most home consumers and is one of the reasons they didn't do so well in a few markets that they tried to break in to (when they were owned by McDonalds). Provolone doesn't have a significantly higher fat content but the oils that come from the cheese are a bright orange- when combined with the fat from the high quality pepperoni and other meats it can appear to be quite greasy. It certainly doesn't taste it though!


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2006, 02:58:56 PM »
Philip,

The important input that Wazatron provided was the list of ingredients, which I presume were in the order of predominance (by weight). Without that, I don't think we would have a chance of getting close to the Donatos dough. With it, and knowing typical and "safe" levels of salt, sugar, eggs, etc., I think we have a chance. Of course, we will have to await more results to get a better idea.

If I were able to find a perforated disk that is the same as what Donatos uses, that would what I would want to experiment with. I think that Donatos may be using a pizza dough cutter ring to manually cut out skins from a rolled out dough (most likely one run through a sheeter or other dough forming piece of equipment). A typical price for a pizza dough cutter is around $35 for a 12"-14" size. So, unless you plan to make a lot of pizzas, it may be better (and a lot cheaper) to use a pizza screen as a template to get a rough skin size. In my case, I used my cutter pan (solid) to be able to get all the stuff on the pizza to the very edge. Absent a perforated disk such as Donatos uses, I think the cutter pan, together with the bake protocol I used, to be a good way to proceed for now. I don't think using a pizza screen will get us close enough.

Peter

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2006, 03:50:53 PM »
Hey there Flagpull! This is great! I was hoping you'd find your way back to this thread eventually. The more people we have that can accurately describe Donatos and experiment with Pete's home-clone here the better!

I'm also very glad you asked about the whey, as it looks like I got the wrong stuff! I'll have to swing by Whole Paycheck(foods) tonight or tomorrow in order to get the dough going as soon as I can.

Thanks all!!
~Waz

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2006, 07:29:40 PM »
When I was buying screens a few months ago I did get the traditional aluminum screen that we see and use every day but I also got another screen, much thicker with bigger, evenly spaced holes. That is the screen that I plan to use for the pizza tomorrow. It will provide an even and sturdy surface to bake on the stone.

I tried to find a picture but I can't remember where I bought it from. :P

Waz- I took a bit of a break from my every night pizza making, this thread will probably get me back into it.

Philip

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2006, 07:40:09 PM »
Philip,

The type of perforated disk I was talking about is shown here: http://www.pizzatools.com/productdisplay.aspx?catid=56. Given a choice, I would pick the disks with the PSTK coating.

Peter

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2006, 07:48:03 PM »
Hi there Pete - I actually bought one of those discs from that site a few months back in preparation for various Donatos attempts - my question is, would I place that directly on my pizza stone, or perhaps set on a rack a few notches above the stone?

I'll be making the dough this weekend so I'll be able to cook it and post results sometime next week!

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2006, 08:31:14 PM »
Yep, that's the one that i've got!

Waz- With other cooking methods (american style) i've tried i've cooked the screen directly on the stone, the seems to work pretty well.

Philip

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2006, 08:48:34 PM »
Waz,

This is one of those areas that may require some experimentation. As you know, Donatos uses conveyors to bake its pizzas. So I think you should be able to bake the pizza on the disk without using a stone. You might put the disk with the pizza on it on the lowest oven rack position so that it gets good heat from the bottom heating element and then lower the oven temperature and move the pizza up a rack or two to bake longer at the lower temperature. The reason for doing this is to drive out more moisture from the crust and allow it to become crispy. This is one of the hardest things to do with a crust that contains eggs. When I made the last Donatos style pizza, I started with 500 degrees oven temperature and lowered it to 450 degrees when I moved the pizza up higher in the oven. I think those temperatures may work in your case also. Since you will be using only the disk and no stone, you will have to use your judgment as to how much time the pizza should spend at the two oven rack positions. I usually move the pizza from a lower oven rack position to a higher one when I see that the bottom crust is nicely browned but not yet done. The pizza will finish baking and achieve greater crispiness in the crust at the higher oven rack position, at the lowered oven temperature. 

Another possibility is to just put the disk with the pizza on it at only one oven rack position and use a lower oven temperature, say, 435-450 degrees F, and leave it there until the pizza looks like it is done. This would be an approximate simulation of what is done by Donatos in its conveyor ovens. Whether it will work well enough in a home oven and produce a nice crispy bottom crust, while having a properly baked top, is hard to predict. Conveyor ovens have top and bottom "fingers" that can be adjusted to achieve the right balance between baking the tops and bottoms of pizzas. With a home oven, all we can do is adjust temperatures and pizza positions. So it may take a few experiments to determine what works best. If good results are not forthcoming, we can always try the method I used with that last Donatos style pizza, that is, use a combination of the disk and preheated stone.

You didn't indicate whether you have the coated or uncoated disk. The dark, coated disk will bake the pizza faster because it absorbs heat rather than reflecting it. The uncoated (aluminum) disk may require a longer bake time and/or a higher oven temperature because it reflects more heat than the dark disk.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 27, 2006, 09:01:31 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2006, 09:59:13 AM »
Hi there Pete - I have a coated 14" disk. My guess is Flagpull will be able to cook his before my dough is ready, so however he ends up cooking his I'll try an alternate method so we can have some different results to work with!

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2006, 10:54:45 AM »
Waz and Philip,

I don't know how Donatos does it, but one of the trickiest steps may be how to get a proofed skin on the disk--that is, proof the skin while on the disk or proof it separately and then transfer it to the disk. The concern is that the dough as it is proofing, especially in a humid environment, may fill in some of the holes in the disk and stick to it so that it is hard to separate the two after baking.

I assume also that the cornmeal would either be scattered over the disk (some will fall though the holes, of course) or somehow adhered to the bottom of the skin that is put in contact with the disk. For example, the bottom of the skin might be coated with a bit of vegetable oil and the cornmeal sprinkled over that to adhere to it, and the skin then flipped over onto the disk. I think you can see some of the logistical problems. Maybe Donatos somehow incorporates the cornmeal into the dough or into the surface during the sheeting process, before proofing, and then put the skins "naked" into the proofer on racks to proof. It might then be possible to slip a disk under the skin. However they do it, the process has to be idiot-proof.

Peter