Saturday, April 11, 2015

Adding Pizza to your Bar or Brew Pub Menu

Adding Pizza To your menu is easier than you think.

The pizza "Gold Rush is on and with pizza rocketing to become America's favorite food it's no wonder entrepreneurs  from all sectors are jumping in with both feet. Although Fast Casual is the word of the day and attracting most of the pizza press a growing segment of brew pubs, bars and amusement parks are also cashing in the continued interest and attraction of the pizza eating public and increased awareness of the gourmet pizza trend. Making it an easy plunge are outfits like the Pizza School of New York that trains a complete novice to expert in no time flat(why would you train any where else but NY?) and the New York Brick Oven Company which provides the industries top revolving brick oven for ease of training and operation while making incredible gourmet brick oven pizza at the same time. Beer and pizza is another natural and that is not surprising since the founder of Pizza Hut got his start making pizza in the kitchen of a local bar in Kansas, as the story goes. Many micro breweries and local taverns are having tremendous success adding pizza to the menu since it is an easy item to prepare and produce with a low food cost, an added benefit is that it keeps customers from leaving to dine elsewhere when the establishment does not offer any food items. Bowling alleys, amusement parks, mini golf and hotels are also joining in on the pizza party since there is no need for a skilled "chef" extensive labor or extensive kitchen space required to present a noteworthy product which depends mostly on fresh ingredients and a quality bake for results. If your looking to expand your menu or start one this is sure fire way to go.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pizza Baking Temperatures for Brick Ovens

Every body loves pizza and it the word evokes a completely different picture depending on where your from and the type your used to eating. So what does a different temperature do to the dough and what temperature should you bake at?
Brick Oven Pizza

Well this can be a loaded question depending on who you ask. That being said I always feel that any pizza is better than no pizza so here are some observations based on using the same dough(which is a mixture of semolina and flour) baked in the same revolving brick oven at several different temperatures.

One: we bake at about 650 which takes about 4 minutes and allows the top of the pizza adequate time to dry while the dough has time to set up and bake slow and even. This allows for a very consistent crust with a chewy texture and softer consistency for your outer crust with a nice bottom cook similar to the smooth New York Style type of pizza which is usually baked in the 500-600 degree range. This temperature is ideal for heavy toppings and multiple toppings or heavy sauce pies since it allows for drying of the extra moisture associated with this type of pie.

Two: We bake at our favorite temperature of about 740 degrees which takes about 2 and a half to 3 minutes bake time.  This happens to be our choice for what we call a New York Brick Oven Pizza. At this temperature your getting a consistently golden colored crust across the bottom of your pie and a slightly crisper outer crust that has time to rise and set up. This pizza is best when evenly topped without overloading the pie with toppings to allow for some drying of ingredients such as roasted peppers or a high moisture content fresh mozzarella.This temperature also creates a pie that is well suited for pick up and delivery.  At this temperature you can still make a well done pie that is not burnt or charred or covered with the black blisters of the next category.

Three:This is the hottest Temperature category and the traditional Neapolitan pizza comes in this range. Using the same dough as before we get a different type of pizza here because the temperature is so high that you get a quick delicate rise of the crust. The dough is airy and the traditional charring occurs creating a bottom with uneven very dark spots and an outer crust that is charred and blistered. Toppings need to be very light and sparse as you usually see in this pizza due to short cooking time and intense top heat. Also the lighter crust consistency and lack of bake time to evaporate moisture in this pizza makes it not well suited for pick up or delivery since it will get soggy very fast. Traditionally Neapolitan style pizza is made from a very fine flour and greater hydration content and would result in a much lighter pizza than the ones tested, this type of pizza requires a knife and fork to eat because it get floppy quick.

Regardless of bake time each pie was very well received and enjoyed thoroughly by the participants in this project.  Depending on your location you can visit many types of pizza places using many kinds of ovens and dough and then begin to narrow down the type of pizza you would like to make from the type that you think you and your customers would enjoy. Of course you will have to experiment a bit to create your own recipe and see what temperature, moisture contentand toppings work best with the oven you choose but that is half the fun of it. Happy Pizza to you.