Since I tossed the originals (too crummy to take up disk space), I don't know exactly how much I pushed it up. I just knew from experience that there comes a point where the best course of action is to simply admit defeat and learn from the mistake. It's not like I don't have a pizza to photograph every week.
I always do some post processing in Photoshop, but only to tweak the image. Adjusting the brightness with curves is a pretty standard thing with many of my photos. But since I'm starting with a jpeg image, I've only got 256 shades to work with. If I made a dramatic adjustment, such as 109 to 182, I'm taking those 146 shades between 109-255 and compressing them to 73 shades (182-155), that's a lot of lost detail.
And if we were talking about an amazing shot of a whale breaking the ocean surface, I'd adjust the hell out of the picture in photoshop to get the best result from this once-in-a-lifetime shot. But again - we're talking about the weekly pizza. I'll do better next time.
To put it in pizza terms, if I really screwed up the dough recipe somehow, perhaps I could improve things by more autolyze, or less time in the fridge, or by adding other corrective ingredients, but I'm better off just dumping it in the wastebasket and starting again from scratch, doing it right this time.
Oh, and to remark on a previous comment you made, please feel free to be critical about my photos. You obviously know what you're talking about.