Author Topic: Home setting to Commercial  (Read 1467 times)

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Offline nepa-pizza-snob

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Home setting to Commercial
« on: December 20, 2006, 11:14:52 PM »
Hey boys and girls

I want to hear from expreienced peeps how vastly different comm. ovens are to home ovens operating at 550 with 1" stones and how one might begin to develop a sucessful home recipe into a sucessful commercial one.

For starters I know that comm. oven are much "less tall" than home ovens. My current cook schedule is as follows:
pre-heat oven to 530 for 1 hour - place pizza on stone for 2 min max - then trnsfer to top rack for 3-4 min max until cheese and sauce bubble and mix. How do these times and temps translate in a Big bad ass gas fired pizza oven?
And in terms of recipes -  I worked backwards and formulated a comm. version of my home recipe using the Lehman calc.
that would allow for batches using 50# bags of flour - is that all there is to it? scale up the ingredients and adjust time and temps?

All helpful answers appreciated


Heres a pic of my latest lunch pie

Offline nepa-pizza-snob

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Re: Home setting to Commercial
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 11:18:01 PM »
You can see from the picks that the cheese isn't quite blended properly. I haven't found THE mozzerella yet.
I currently use a blend of Maggio (crowley) mozz and Grande Provolone. The Maggio is very nice, but doesn't
blend well with my high ratio of prov.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Home setting to Commercial
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2006, 10:43:27 AM »

As a strictly home pizza maker, I cannot speak authoritatively about commercial pizza ovens but from what I have read about such ovens they tend to use similar bake temperatures and bake times as many of us use in our home ovens. The ovens used by commercial operators are just better because they were designed from the outset just to make pizzas. The bake temperatures and times will differ by type of oven (e.g., deck vs. conveyor) and by model and manufacturer but there is no particular mystery about establishing those temperatures and times. 

Your question about how to convert a home dough recipe to a commercial one is one of the best questions I have read on this forum, and one that I have thought about a lot. It’s a lot harder to do than most people think. A dough recipe like the Lehmann dough recipe is already a commercial recipe so there is little that has to be done with it to use it in a commercial setting. But even there, it will depend on whether the dough using that particular recipe is to be made fresh in a store or at a commissary and, in the case of a commissary dough, whether the dough is to be delivered fresh or frozen to the individual stores, and within what timeframe. The dough formulation and the dough management procedures in each case will have to be tailored to the end user application. I assume in your case you are talking about making dough fresh in an individual location. That dough is likely to be better than a commissary dough because it can be made fresh and without having to be modified to accommodate the kinds of problems that commissary operators have to deal with.

In terms of the scalability of a home dough recipe to commercial values, such a recipe can be scaled up to just about any final dough weight. In so doing, however, it may be necessary to make some adjustments to the formulation just because of the scaling. This is a topic that comes up from time to time, including in this thread:,3463.msg29335.html#msg29335. The bottom line is that some experimentation with yeast levels, and possibly the quantities of other ingredients, may be necessary to scale the home recipe up to a commercial one. But these are not insurmountable challenges and can usually be overcome with modest experimentation and testing.

But scaling issues are not the end of it. As home pizza makers, we can get away with a lot of things that would not be acceptable or desirable or practical in a commercial setting. We can use whatever ingredients we want, in whatever quantities we want, without regard to price, be prepared in any way we want, and the worst thing that might happen is that we end up with a dough that has to be thrown away or the pizza is fed to the family dog. There is little room for error and unpredictability in a commercial setting. That generally means that the ingredients have to be simple, easy to use, and be very readily available from commercial vendors, dough preparation and management practices have to be simple and standardized so that low-cost labor can be used as much as possible, and the dough itself has to consistently meet rigid performance requirements. This set of requirements usually rules out cumbersome-to-use wet ingredients like eggs, milk, barley malt syrup and honey, and even some dry ingredients that we can use without concern in a home setting. They may offer many advantages and be differentiators for some operators, but their use comes at a cost (not to mention potential health issues when eggs and milk are used). Their use may also require adjustments to mixer operation and speeds and times.

If a dough is to be cold fermented for use in a commercial setting, which is a very common approach with commercial operators, the amount of yeast will usually have to be kept on the low side to control the rate and duration of fermentation, and careful attention will have to be paid to finished dough temperatures and subsequent storage conditions. Fortunately, these factors can be adjusted quite easily when converting a home dough recipe to a commercial one, although there may be some change in the final product. But the adjustments are necessary and can’t be ignored. Additional changes may also be necessary just to adapt the dough formulation so that it will work in the context of certain commercial ovens. For example, if a deck oven is to be used, the amount of sugar in the dough formulation may have to be lowered or eliminated altogether (to prevent the crust from overbrowning or burning), or otherwise pizza screens or disks may have to be used.

I think you can see that there are a lot of things to think about when converting a home dough formulation to a commercial one. And, in the process, the home dough formulation that worked so wonderfully in the home setting can be quite easily emasculated and turned into a product lacking in character. The trick is to capture those artisanal and other qualities that made the dough and pizza so special when you made them at home.


Offline nepa-pizza-snob

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Re: Home setting to Commercial
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2006, 03:07:45 PM »
Thanks for the reply

I would like to open a place someday and if multiple locations happened later fine, but for now lets say all dough is made in house for the house.

In terms of ingredients – I started out my experiment with food products bought only from a pizza restaurant supply service in my locale – so sourcing won’t be problematic. The simple stuff works brilliantly if you learn how to use it.

My prep methods have greatly improved since joining this forum, but are still extremely simple. I want the recipe to be fool proof so like you said monkeys could make the dough. I need to upgrade my scale someday because although it works in grams, isn’t accurate for salt, yeast in small amounts. I also do not currently weigh (portion) sauce or cheese, but I will be embarking on that journey in the not too distant future once I nail the mozzarella I will use. Grande products are available, but I have not done a cost / benefit comparison with the Rest. Supply brand of dairy products however its my belief that a little of a good thing is better than a s^% load of a just ok thing.

My dough uses very little sugar and I am still toying with a further reduction. I just recently began experimenting with oil in the dough as well and use amounts below the min. recommended by the Lehman Calc. What you said in a nutshell is what I have been striving for in the last 2 months. Creating a close to artisanal pie with basic almost lean dough.