Author Topic: Par Bake?  (Read 1026 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline oliveview

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: southern california
  • I Love Pizza!
Par Bake?
« on: August 17, 2015, 01:19:44 PM »
I've noticed quite a few of the Sicilian recipes here seem to follow the process of utilizing a blind par bake. Certainly, I understand what that does, however, I'm curious why that is (seemingly) preferred over a straight fully-dressed bake?
Of the few local pizza joints which make (what I believe to be) exceptionally good Sicilian pizza, not one does anything like that. They just drop the dough ball right into the oiled (buttered) pan, quickly spread the dough towards the edges, dress it and bake it. Further, some of the popular Sicilian recipes also seem to call for additional time spent with the raw dough resting, covered, in the cooking pan, before any cooking.

Is the idea of the pre-bake simply due to the inability of most home ovens to cook as well as the restaurant deck ovens? Because, at least to my eyes, the local restaurants sure do get the work done far more efficiently, and yet their results are extremely good.

Just curious. Thanks.


Offline mitchjg

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2842
  • Location: Oakland, CA
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2015, 01:29:00 PM »
For me, it is a question of oven spring and dough sogginess.  I have done both parbaked and just baking straight up.  My experience has been:

1 With no parbaking, saucing and then cheese and other toppings, I get the least oven spring and a some sogginess in the dough.
2 With parbaking, saucing and then cheese and other toppings, I get the most oven spring and no sogginess in the dough.
3 With no parbaking, cheese first and then saucing, I get something in between.

I think they are all good, it depends on what I  like and are in the mood for - sort of a question of degree.   Just my experience - others may have different views or results.

I doubt if any of it has much to do with the ovens, since Sicilian pies are baked at relatively low pizza temperatures that home ovens are fully capable of achieving.
Mitch

“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

Offline oliveview

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: southern california
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2015, 01:43:05 PM »
For me, it is a question of oven spring and dough sogginess.  I have done both parbaked and just baking straight up.  My experience has been:

1 With no parbaking, saucing and then cheese and other toppings, I get the least oven spring and a some sogginess in the dough.
2 With parbaking, saucing and then cheese and other toppings, I get the most oven spring and no sogginess in the dough.
3 With no parbaking, cheese first and then saucing, I get something in between.

I think they are all good, it depends on what I  like and are in the mood for - sort of a question of degree.   Just my experience - others may have different views or results.

I doubt if any of it has much to do with the ovens, since Sicilian pies are baked at relatively low pizza temperatures that home ovens are fully capable of achieving.

Thanks for the input. In fact, that really makes me all the more inquisitive. If the ovens potentially play less of a role, then I really do wonder what allows for such fantastic results from the restaurants which just quickly prep and go right into the oven? Maybe it's a triple combination, between their precise dough chemistry, the ovens, and the pans they use? Maybe those three things act with greater synergy than one might expect? Because those crusts are thick, airy, crispy on the bottom and edges, and without even a trace of sogginess. Further, they top it conventionally, with all the sauce (lots of it) under the cheese.

Offline VarunS

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 63
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2015, 08:49:45 AM »
I do the parbake method without anything on top for a few minutes. Followed by only sauce. Last 3 mins add the cheese. For me this gives the best result.

However that isnt the norm in Rome from the little I have seen and made. Type of oven, strength of flour, stretching skills will determine what would work well.

Offline oliveview

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: southern california
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 06:02:19 PM »
Alright. I'm back. Been busy, and not around here for a spell. These pictures are from the last pie I made, a number of months ago. Unfortunately, I can't find my notes for the details on the dough. It's killing me, because it turned out quite well.
However, I felt it quite valuable to report back on my own original question, especially, because I also see others ask the same.

The general notes on the actual bake:

Gas oven at 550.

Pan is just a simple steel job with a non-stick coating, from a chef supply store.

Pan was (very) lightly oiled.

NO PAR BAKE!!!

Fully dressed pizza and pan was placed directly on the pizza stone, on the middle rack.

The thing was done right around 10-minutes, with (if I recall) maybe a minute or two extra, with the broiler on.


It tasted quite good, the dough was light, with a moderate chew, and nice browning. You'll note the extreme dark edge, and that was the purpose-placed cheese I added right at the edge of the dough / pan.

That's about it. I have no doubt that the par-bake / no-par-bake question comes down to all the many, many variables; dough chemistry, dough handling, weight and nature of toppings, pan style, cooking style. Basically...everything.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 06:04:26 PM by oliveview »

Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 705
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2015, 03:57:32 AM »
That's about it. I have no doubt that the par-bake / no-par-bake question comes down to all the many, many variables; dough chemistry, dough handling, weight and nature of toppings, pan style, cooking style. Basically...everything.

The above quote says it all. So now the question becomes what's the major difference between a Sicilian pie recipe that requires par-baking Vs one that does not?

First, we have to define the pizza characteristics of the target pie we desire. For example, I make a pan pizza where my target crust is to be light and airy and not much chew to it. I'm baking in a home gas oven on the upper rack position in a 10x15 inch black pan with 1 inch tall sides. My dough is made from poolish starter to get that light and airy crust.

Through much experimentation, under my conditions, I require a par bake because without that, the bottom will not brown and crispen properly without burning the top.

I add about 2  tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and spread it evenly, spread out the dough (16 oz), cover with plastic, and allow to rise at room temp about 60 minutes.

I par bake at 425 F on the top rack for about 12 minutes or until I begin to see very faint signs of browning.

Remove from oven and top with a very very thin coat of sauce, topped with cheese, then spots of thick sauce, and then sausage & mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil.

Increase oven to 475 F and bake for another 12 minutes or until the cheese just begins to brown.

Pics below are from 2014, but I don't have any to show the bottom or a slice. The crust is about 1/2 inch thick, light and airy with golden brown bottoms.

---pete---

Offline oliveview

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: southern california
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2015, 01:57:33 PM »
Interesting, petef. I wonder, in your prior attempts, did you ever try also putting your pan directly on a pizza stone, and run the operation at a higher ~550 range? While the dough I used is likely quite different than what you describe, and could likely contribute the most to the different baking needs, I do at least have a suspicion that at least having the pan on a good radiating material like a stone or steel, certainly helps speed the cooking of the bottom, to finish as quickly as the top.

Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 705
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 01:19:49 AM »
Interesting, petef. I wonder, in your prior attempts, did you ever try also putting your pan directly on a pizza stone, and run the operation at a higher ~550 range? While the dough I used is likely quite different than what you describe, and could likely contribute the most to the different baking needs, I do at least have a suspicion that at least having the pan on a good radiating material like a stone or steel, certainly helps speed the cooking of the bottom, to finish as quickly as the top.

Although it's been over 10 years, I'm sure I tried placing the pan directly on the stone with not great success, but since I have so much more experience now, I should try it again.

See my oven setup below. This setup is relatively new (2012) for my oven. With those 2 pans acting as a false ceiling, I can get bake temps in my home gas oven in the 550 to 600 deg F range. However, before I try that on my Sicilian/pan pizza, I'd like to get a dough recipe from someone who's had good success with that high temp bake on a Sicilian pie.

---pete---

Offline oliveview

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: southern california
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2015, 02:36:10 PM »
I really need to figure out what the dough recipe was from my successful outing from my photos. I always like to tinker with everything I cook, but don't always take careful notes. Which would very much help (!) replicate a success down the road, when memory fades on the details. One thing I can say, is that the dough I made was SUPER simple. I know I made it in my KA stand mixer. I know it was high-moisture. I know I poured it into the pan for a two-hour room-temp rise. And then the cook as I described. It's just the precise percentages of the dough that I have to recover...


Online norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 25451
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
  • Always working and looking for new information!
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2015, 07:18:31 PM »
Olive,

I don't know if this Sicilian pizza is similar to what you are trying or not.  It was not parbaked, but did have some before proofing on top of the oven before baking.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=18281.msg180372#msg180372 

I have tried pretty many Sicilian pies with a parbake and without any parbake.

Norma

Offline oliveview

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: southern california
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Par Bake?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2015, 02:57:26 PM »
Norma, thanks. That's funny - that final product looks very similar to my results. Similar crust structure, similar browning, and even the dark cheese char around the rim. Good stuff!