Author Topic: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?  (Read 14133 times)

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Offline PizzaEater

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Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« on: February 04, 2009, 04:53:43 PM »
Looking for the reasons to use a pizza screen and it's correct use (mainly adjusting cooking times, bake on stone or no stone, etc.). To this point I use a peel and cook my pizza's on a stone. I'm guessing the peel replaces the need for a peel, IE - lay out the dough on the screen sauce/top and bake on the screen with no stone. Only a guess though, set me straight.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 05:49:28 PM »
Dave,

Good to see you back on the forum.

Some time ago, I discussed the ways that I have used a pizza screen in my oven, at Reply 45 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg20965.html#msg20965. In addition to the methods described there, I have also often found that I do not need to use the broiler element to get increased top crust browning or to more fully cook the toppings. Often, just moving the pizza up to get the heat at the top of the oven is enough. An example of where I used a combination of a screen and top heat is at Reply 35 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.msg60197.html#msg60197.

Also, as noted in the above post (Reply 45), a pizza screen can be used all by itself, without having to move it while in the oven. A recent example is given at Reply 48 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.msg64308.html#msg64308. On occasion, I will slip the pizza off of the screen and let it sit on an oven rack to get more bottom browning, as I did at Reply 38 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.msg60892.html#msg60892.

A pizza screen is especially useful when working with a dough with a lot of sugar in it, as was the case with some of the examples given above (where I was using sugar at above 4% by weight of flour). If such a dough is baked directly on a pizza stone, the bottom crust can brown too quickly, and even burn, often before the rest of the pizza has finished baking. Of course, using a pizza screen avoids the need to heat the oven for more than about 15 minutes, as you would if you were using a pizza stone. That can be a blessing when making pizzas in the summer when it is really hot.

While a pizza screen is a useful item, you should note that if a dough is too wet, that is, overly hydrated, it can stick to the screen and seep into it. So, you don't want to let a dough sit on a screen for too long. I have found that I have to pay close attention to this facet when the dough hydration approaches 65%. I will also use an oil spray on the screen to minimize sticking, and work quickly to dress the pizza. It also helps to season the screen before using for the first time. I discussed how to do this at Reply 4 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2894.msg24858/topicseen.html#msg24858.

After a few tries with your new screen, I am sure you will get the hang of it.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 06:19:21 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Jake77

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 06:28:19 PM »
Screens are nice if you have to make a whole lot of pies fast. Build them up have them on the prep table ready to rotate into the oven. I always pulled the Pizza off of it when the crust was just firm enough to not come apart on the peel, stick the point of a knife under, slip it up in the peel and put it in the hot screen box. I like them and want to get a couple for the house. I can do it without but they make it easier for me. mostly to make more than one pie at a time without having to pour a box of corn starch on my counter. I have been cheating lately though using a piece of parchment to make them ahead and then pull it out after about 1 minute in the oven on the stone. A couple of screens would save me $$ on parchment in the long run I figure.

Probably blasphemy and all but what the hey I'm not from New York or anything.

Offline alconnell

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 06:43:26 PM »
I owned a pizza shop for 5 years and make pizza at home all the time, and wouldn't be without my screens.  Why? 
1) Multiple pizzas - indispensable here.  Saves time, allows pizzas to be pre-made, better for cooking, etc.
2) Save on Parchment.
3) Keep oven cleaner if you're using cornmeal/semolina and a peel.  This is a big one for me.
4) Consistent sizing - much easier to keep dough at right diameter.
5) I actually find cooking is more even this way - though I usually put my pizzas on the "brick" for 2 minutes or so, before pulling them.

Bear in mind, I also have an outdoor mud oven I make pizza in when it's not 10 below like it will be tonight!  Then, all the above goes out the window. 
I heat my oven to 550 (it's max) for 30-45 min. before baking. 

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 06:54:42 PM »
There are quite a few pizza operators who use pizza screens even with deck ovens. Often the people who make the pizzas are high school and college kids who aren't likely to be around long enough to warrant the amount of training necessary to get them to skillfully slap out skins. So there are likely to be fewer mishaps when using the screens rather than peels. The screens also give the operators some flexibility in making the pizzas. As an example, they can slip the pizzas off of the screens toward the end of the bake and onto the deck to get more bottom crust browning or crisping (this is often called "decking the pizza"), or they can slip a screen or two under a pizza toward the end of a bake to prevent excessive bottom crust browning. That means they can use doughs with a fair amount of sugar in them.

A lot of operators do as Jake77 has noted but usually they make just enough premade skins to carry them over the hump when they are know they are going to be slammed, or else they hold them in a cooler and bring them out over the course of the day as needed.

I personally have several screens of different sizes but one could use, say, a 16" screen to be able to make pizzas up to that size. As alconnel has noted, however, having several different sizes does come in handy in sizing the pizzas.

Peter

Offline Jake77

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 07:07:56 PM »
Screens are also really usefull for Stromboli and Calzone. stretch her out build her fold her and slap it on in the oven. Plus you can make multiple of said items on one screen and save space in your oven.  If I had an order of 3 Stromboli I would bake them on one 16" screen for example.

The high school aged kid at the pizza place Peter mentioned, yeah that was me.  :D did it 5 years. Them were the days LOL.

Pre made skins never did that but if I had more orders than I could get in my 4 place deck oven I had built up pies waiting in line. Everybody we had that was good at it did that.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 07:10:35 PM by Jake77 »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2009, 07:15:32 PM »
Member Randy had other recommended uses for pizza screens, as noted at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,256.msg2334.html#msg2334.

I also use pizza screens as templates for cutting out skins from a sheet to make cracker-style crusts.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 07:18:31 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Jake77

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2009, 07:37:30 PM »
You can also use the smaller ones as ninja stars in a pinch.

Offline alconnell

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2009, 08:38:19 PM »
Another good use is baking artisan breads and rolls.  I make NY style Hard Rolls on them and they come out great!

Offline David

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Re: Correct Use Of a Pizza Screen?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2009, 09:58:22 PM »
I use one in a WFO to quickly oven roast some vegetables such as sliced zuchinni,eggplant etc.Works great and visually leaves nice subtle diamond grill markings on the small cuts of vegetables.
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