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  • 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

    Yes i know most of you will try to talk me out of serving pizza to guests when its my first time (and i agree), but what can i do, my parents, in-laws, siblings and friends know that im going to fire up the oven, and there is no way they wont come over....


    So im estimating around 12-16 people. Im kinda nervous, mostly to get the dough right and put out some tasty pie's. I would really appreciate any advice you guys can give me. Mostly how much dough? flour, indigence etc.

    Thanks for all the help.
    Matthew 19:26. With God all things are possible.

    My Build: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...les-18741.html

  • #2
    Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

    Originally posted by V-wiz View Post
    Yes i know most of you will try to talk me out of serving pizza to guests when its my first time (and i agree), but what can i do, my parents, in-laws, siblings and friends know that im going to fire up the oven, and there is no way they wont come over....


    So im estimating around 12-16 people. Im kinda nervous, mostly to get the dough right and put out some tasty pie's. I would really appreciate any advice you guys can give me. Mostly how much dough? flour, indigence etc.

    Thanks for all the help.
    When we hosted smaller gatherings we used about 8-10 lbs of dough. The larger parties we used 15-20+...I don't remember exactly, those nights were a blur. We had so many great bakeries close by us in CT, and getting dough was easy if I didn't have time to make a lot. I use a no-knead recipe that was handed down from my great-grandmother, but it still takes time, so plan ahead if you make your own.You won't be able to do everything yourself...stick to oven management and get people involved in the process of making the pies...they will have fun and takes some of the pressure off.

    Don't sweat it..everyone will be oh'ing and ahh'ing the oven, so unless you flop the pie upside down every time you shoot one in, catch one on fire or constantly slide them off the peel onto the ground, you will do just fine.
    Old World Stone & Garden

    Current WFO build - Dry Stone Base & Gothic Vault

    When we build, let us think that we build for ever.
    John Ruskin

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

      V-wiz, I recently had a chance to use a WFO for the first time (follow the link for the whole story). It helped to be able to observe the caterer work the oven the day before. Still, where he and his helper carter for 40+ people without any apparent effort, I can't quite say the same for myself.

      1. Firing the oven.
      The two times I initially fired the oven I moved the fire to the side a bit too early and the hearth temp was lower then I had planned. Pizzas still came out pretty good, but the next time I get the chance, I will wait longer and more fully saturate the brick.

      2. Dough Prep.
      I tried a few different dough preparations and they all worked pretty well. I think you might get a bit more help in this area if you let us know your experience level in preparing dough.

      3. Assembling the pies.
      Again, previous experience helps here. Have your toppings laid out for so once your dough ball is stretched out, it can be ready for the oven as quickly as possible. Be sure the ball is well floured before forming the round. I used the same technique the caterer used. The dough was stretched on a floured plastic prep board and a metal peel slid underneath. This worked fairly well, but I ended up with a few calzones.

      4. Placing in the oven.
      This turned out much easier then I expected. I simply laid the peel flat on the floor, and pulled back and forth until the front of the pie was on the hearth and the peel could simply be pulled back. I would do one at a time.

      5. Finishing the cook.
      If you got this far the rest is easy. Let the crust set and then begin rotating the pie so it cooks evenly. Lift the edge and check for the level of char or browning you like. If the bottom cooks quicker then the top, lift the pie on the peel and hold it up near the top of the dome.

      For the first pies I would aim for 12" rounds. When I have pizza parties, I generally plan about 1/2 a pie each for my crowd. In general, 1/3 pie each would likely be enough. I would also make a bit thicker crust, about a 300 gram dough weight. It will be more forgiving on the peel and easier to work into a the round. Also, you might want to wait on the 90 sec cook until you have more experience. A little lower temp, say 600 f on the hearth and 700-800 f for the dome leaves you more margin. If you really want to be on the safe side, make a few parbaked shells or have some pizza screens you can use if have too much problem going from peel to oven.

      Hope some of this helps. I look forward to seeing what some of the more accomplished pizza makers on this site have to say. Have fun.
      Attached Files
      Link to my build here:
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f6/3...lly-19181.html

      Check out my pictures here:

      Selected pictures of the build.

      https://picasaweb.google.com/1168565...g&noredirect=1





      sigpic “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” ― Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

        Originally posted by stonecutter View Post
        When we hosted smaller gatherings we used about 8-10 lbs of dough. The larger parties we used 15-20+...I don't remember exactly, those nights were a blur. We had so many great bakeries close by us in CT, and getting dough was easy if I didn't have time to make a lot. I use a no-knead recipe that was handed down from my great-grandmother, but it still takes time, so plan ahead if you make your own.You won't be able to do everything yourself...stick to oven management and get people involved in the process of making the pies...they will have fun and takes some of the pressure off.

        Don't sweat it..everyone will be oh'ing and ahh'ing the oven, so unless you flop the pie upside down every time you shoot one in, catch one on fire or constantly slide them off the peel onto the ground, you will do just fine.



        Thanks man, so how many pounds of flour will i need? or bags of King Arthur. I really want to make my own dough. I do plan on allowing others make the pies, i will just man handle the fire.
        Matthew 19:26. With God all things are possible.

        My Build: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...les-18741.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

          Since you are new to it, your pies will (should) be smaller (11-12"). Shoot for a finished doughball in the 250-280 gram range. I normally figure one small pizza per adult, this allows for mistakes and oops.

          Using my most basic high temp dough, this works out to about .375 pounds of raw flour per pizza, or 1.5 pounds for my normal (handmixed) batch of 4ea 280 gram balls.

          Pizza Anarchy - High Temp Dough

          If you have a recipe you are comfortable with, I would suggest using it, and adjust the doughball size in the 250-280 range when you ball them, and make enough for about 12 pizzas.

          I wouldn't worry about doing your first bake with friends and family, the worst that can happen is that you are ridiculed for the rest of your life. Just kidding, even a crappy WFO pizza is better than they have probably had from any commercial pizza joint.

          Do your prep, burn it long, and take your time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

            Originally posted by Bec1208 View Post
            V-wiz, I recently had a chance to use a WFO for the first time (follow the link for the whole story). It helped to be able to observe the caterer work the oven the day before. Still, where he and his helper carter for 40+ people without any apparent effort, I can't quite say the same for myself.

            1. Firing the oven.
            The two times I initially fired the oven I moved the fire to the side a bit too early and the hearth temp was lower then I had planned. Pizzas still came out pretty good, but the next time I get the chance, I will wait longer and more fully saturate the brick.

            2. Dough Prep.
            I tried a few different dough preparations and they all worked pretty well. I think you might get a bit more help in this area if you let us know your experience level in preparing dough.

            3. Assembling the pies.
            Again, previous experience helps here. Have your toppings laid out for so once your dough ball is stretched out, it can be ready for the oven as quickly as possible. Be sure the ball is well floured before forming the round. I used the same technique the caterer used. The dough was stretched on a floured plastic prep board and a metal peel slid underneath. This worked fairly well, but I ended up with a few calzones.

            4. Placing in the oven.
            This turned out much easier then I expected. I simply laid the peel flat on the floor, and pulled back and forth until the front of the pie was on the hearth and the peel could simply be pulled back. I would do one at a time.

            5. Finishing the cook.
            If you got this far the rest is easy. Let the crust set and then begin rotating the pie so it cooks evenly. Lift the edge and check for the level of char or browning you like. If the bottom cooks quicker then the top, lift the pie on the peel and hold it up near the top of the dome.

            For the first pies I would aim for 12" rounds. When I have pizza parties, I generally plan about 1/2 a pie each for my crowd. In general, 1/3 pie each would likely be enough. I would also make a bit thicker crust, about a 300 gram dough weight. It will be more forgiving on the peel and easier to work into a the round. Also, you might want to wait on the 90 sec cook until you have more experience. A little lower temp, say 600 f on the hearth and 700-800 f for the dome leaves you more margin. If you really want to be on the safe side, make a few parbaked shells or have some pizza screens you can use if have too much problem going from peel to oven.

            Hope some of this helps. I look forward to seeing what some of the more accomplished pizza makers on this site have to say. Have fun.


            Thanks alot for the help. You make a good point about the fire, a smaller fire will give me more flexability and time to experiment. Thanks
            Matthew 19:26. With God all things are possible.

            My Build: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...les-18741.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

              Originally posted by Tscarborough View Post
              Since you are new to it, your pies will (should) be smaller (11-12"). Shoot for a finished doughball in the 250-280 gram range. I normally figure one small pizza per adult, this allows for mistakes and oops.

              Using my most basic high temp dough, this works out to about .375 pounds of raw flour per pizza, or 1.5 pounds for my normal (handmixed) batch of 4ea 280 gram balls.

              Pizza Anarchy - High Temp Dough

              If you have a recipe you are comfortable with, I would suggest using it, and adjust the doughball size in the 250-280 range when you ball them, and make enough for about 12 pizzas.

              I wouldn't worry about doing your first bake with friends and family, the worst that can happen is that you are ridiculed for the rest of your life. Just kidding, even a crappy WFO pizza is better than they have probably had from any commercial pizza joint.

              Do your prep, burn it long, and take your time.
              Thanks for the advice, so if i use that chart i would make 16 pies if i were to multiply that formula X4 right? So ill need about 7 pounds of flour right?
              Matthew 19:26. With God all things are possible.

              My Build: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...les-18741.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                No one has talked here about hydration level on the dough, I would recommend about a 60 percent because I think the higher hydration doughs are more difficult to work with for someone new to the game.

                Assuming 60percent hydration 7 pounds of flour would yield a little over 11 pounds of dough, assuming 250 g (slightly over .5 pounds) dough balls this should give you about 20 pies.

                I think having a few par baked crusts available is a great idea. It would take the edge off if you get a rush of people all at once. If you are doing them just before your party, so they are fresh, cook them at a low 600 degree oven and brush them with olive oil before par baking so they do not balloon up all over.

                Screens or perforated pizza disks I prefer the disks, are a good idea because almost anyone can stretch a dough on one of them. I find that people with little or no experience stretching dough push the dough into the tiny holes of a screen and it can be difficult to get the pizza off the screen.

                You will be able to slide the pizza off of a perforated disk after 30 seconds in the oven and if your floor is to hot you can just leave the pizza on the disk for the full cooking cycle.

                Also, only attempt one pie at a time for this first party, two or three in the oven can be difficult to master.

                It would be good to have a practice session even without a hot oven, dough and tomato sauce is really cheap and practicing placing it on a peel saucing it with tomato sauce and then waiting a short period of time (30-60 seconds) to account for the time required to put on the ingredients, and then sliding it into the oven.

                Btw slide the dough/sauce simulated pizza on to a piece of scrap plywood or cardboard so you protect the oven floor and can slide the whole mess out. You will not be able to pick up an uncooked pizza once it is placed in a cold oven. Slide out the cardboard shield and toss the simulated pies in the trash. If you use cardboard as your shield, weight it down so it does not move when placing the pie.

                If your peel gets anything on it, clean it as soon as possible and dust with flour to dry the wet spot. Sauce, oil and cheese are not friends of the peel.

                I always start my parties with a real simple cheesy dough pie, grated sharp white cheddar, roasted garlic, a little sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It is a real crowd pleaser, and kids keep coming back and asking for more.

                The trick is to not overdo the cheese, and have a short cooking cycle, idealy the pie is just done, like warm rolls just out of the oven. Not brown and crispy but tan and bubbly
                Chip
                Attached Files
                Last edited by mrchipster; 05-29-2013, 05:00 AM.
                Chip

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                  Hi , I finished my oven and two weeks later made pizza for over 60 people. That was four years ago , about. Was it my best pizza , not even close. But people had a great time and still talk about it.

                  I would suggest having too much flour as it wont go bad , will continue to make pizza. Same with tomatoes. Just have fun and dont be overly critical as your still new. No one will be as tough on the pizza as you are.

                  good luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                    Some great suggestions and instruction in these posts! A few more thoughts that I will add..

                    1. Hopefully your oven has been fully cured and you have done a full heat saturation to temp at least once so (a) you know it will get to temp, and (b) you know how long it will take.

                    2. If you are making multiple batches of dough, do 1 at a time even if your mixer can handle a double batch.

                    3. Whatever dough recipe you use, I would absolutely make dough 24hrs before and let it rest in the fridge for a day.

                    4. dont play with the dough too much. It needs to be room temp and it should stretch out with very little spring back. If it is springing back and wont stay stretched out, you have either overkneaded it and/or not let it rest long enough.

                    5. Strongly consider getting your dough from Bertucci's....they will roll them out and put them in pizza boxes. Chances are if you have never done dough before, you arent going to get it right the first time.....there is a reason why there are thousands of posts on this forum discussing dough....it isnt rocket science but until you do it a few times and start to get it, it can be a beast....

                    6. Make sure you have some other food besides pizza! If things dont go well, you still need to be able to feed people.


                    7. Preparation/Tools. Hopefully you have the right tools to aid rather than hinder you....the GI Metal perforated anodized aluminum pizza peel is the only way to fly IMO...it will allow you to scoop up a pizza off nearly any surface with ease and pop it in the oven. It is worth every penny....seriously watch this video.... 2009 perforated pizza peel test - YouTube.

                    a simple stainless shaker filled with AP is not crucial but so much better than grabbing handfuls of AP or covering the work surface with piles of AP.

                    8. Ingredients/KISS. Do use quality ingredients. No pizza sauce. Search here on tomatos/sauces and use quality italian plum tomatoes. Fresh mozz and/or a quality shredded mozz. Keep the topping selection down to 2 or 3. And MAKE sure folks dont overload the pizzas. Less is more. Hopefully you have seen a Neopolitano WFO pizza before it went in the oven to see how little sauce, cheese and toppings are on it....the dough ideally will be paper thin...it cannot hold much.

                    9. Have fun. Drink beer. Take a breath. Dont get frustrated if it doesnt go well. It will get better and if you invest time/energy (and money) eventually it can go really really well...


                    10. Learn what works and what doesnt. Take pics. Report back with the good and the bad.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                      Originally posted by mrchipster View Post
                      No one has talked here about hydration level on the dough, I would recommend about a 60 percent because I think the higher hydration doughs are more difficult to work with for someone new to the game.

                      Assuming 60percent hydration 7 pounds of flour would yield a little over 11 pounds of dough, assuming 250 g (slightly over .5 pounds) dough balls this should give you about 20 pies.

                      I think having a few par baked crusts available is a great idea. It would take the edge off if you get a rush of people all at once. If you are doing them just before your party, so they are fresh, cook them at a low 600 degree oven and brush them with olive oil before par baking so they do not balloon up all over.

                      Screens or perforated pizza disks I prefer the disks, are a good idea because almost anyone can stretch a dough on one of them. I find that people with little or no experience stretching dough push the dough into the tiny holes of a screen and it can be difficult to get the pizza off the screen.

                      You will be able to slide the pizza off of a perforated disk after 30 seconds in the oven and if your floor is to hot you can just leave the pizza on the disk for the full cooking cycle.

                      Also, only attempt one pie at a time for this first party, two or three in the oven can be difficult to master.

                      It would be good to have a practice session even without a hot oven, dough and tomato sauce is really cheap and practicing placing it on a peel saucing it with tomato sauce and then waiting a short period of time (30-60 seconds) to account for the time required to put on the ingredients, and then sliding it into the oven.

                      Btw slide the dough/sauce simulated pizza on to a piece of scrap plywood or cardboard so you protect the oven floor and can slide the whole mess out. You will not be able to pick up an uncooked pizza once it is placed in a cold oven. Slide out the cardboard shield and toss the simulated pies in the trash. If you use cardboard as your shield, weight it down so it does not move when placing the pie.

                      If your peel gets anything on it, clean it as soon as possible and dust with flour to dry the wet spot. Sauce, oil and cheese are not friends of the peel.

                      I always start my parties with a real simple cheesy dough pie, grated sharp white cheddar, roasted garlic, a little sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It is a real crowd pleaser, and kids keep coming back and asking for more.

                      The trick is to not overdo the cheese, and have a short cooking cycle, idealy the pie is just done, like warm rolls just out of the oven. Not brown and crispy but tan and bubbly
                      Chip


                      Chip thanks for your help.

                      Im note sure how to measure hydration level, or how to tell..

                      Thats a good idea i can probably make garlic breads?
                      Matthew 19:26. With God all things are possible.

                      My Build: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...les-18741.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                        Originally posted by sclancy View Post
                        Some great suggestions and instruction in these posts! A few more thoughts that I will add..

                        1. Hopefully your oven has been fully cured and you have done a full heat saturation to temp at least once so (a) you know it will get to temp, and (b) you know how long it will take.

                        2. If you are making multiple batches of dough, do 1 at a time even if your mixer can handle a double batch.

                        3. Whatever dough recipe you use, I would absolutely make dough 24hrs before and let it rest in the fridge for a day.

                        4. dont play with the dough too much. It needs to be room temp and it should stretch out with very little spring back. If it is springing back and wont stay stretched out, you have either overkneaded it and/or not let it rest long enough.

                        5. Strongly consider getting your dough from Bertucci's....they will roll them out and put them in pizza boxes. Chances are if you have never done dough before, you arent going to get it right the first time.....there is a reason why there are thousands of posts on this forum discussing dough....it isnt rocket science but until you do it a few times and start to get it, it can be a beast....

                        6. Make sure you have some other food besides pizza! If things dont go well, you still need to be able to feed people.


                        7. Preparation/Tools. Hopefully you have the right tools to aid rather than hinder you....the GI Metal perforated anodized aluminum pizza peel is the only way to fly IMO...it will allow you to scoop up a pizza off nearly any surface with ease and pop it in the oven. It is worth every penny....seriously watch this video.... 2009 perforated pizza peel test - YouTube.

                        a simple stainless shaker filled with AP is not crucial but so much better than grabbing handfuls of AP or covering the work surface with piles of AP.

                        8. Ingredients/KISS. Do use quality ingredients. No pizza sauce. Search here on tomatos/sauces and use quality italian plum tomatoes. Fresh mozz and/or a quality shredded mozz. Keep the topping selection down to 2 or 3. And MAKE sure folks dont overload the pizzas. Less is more. Hopefully you have seen a Neopolitano WFO pizza before it went in the oven to see how little sauce, cheese and toppings are on it....the dough ideally will be paper thin...it cannot hold much.

                        9. Have fun. Drink beer. Take a breath. Dont get frustrated if it doesnt go well. It will get better and if you invest time/energy (and money) eventually it can go really really well...


                        10. Learn what works and what doesnt. Take pics. Report back with the good and the bad.


                        This post is very informative thank you.


                        1. My oven is fully cured (to my knowledge). I will start ahead of time and give my self extra time to slowly build the fire, i dont want a rapid increase in heat.

                        2. I plan on making enough dough for 16 people so i will hand mix all that.

                        3. I agree about the dough keeping it atleast for 24hrs. So i can i make the dough 2 days in advance and just store it in the fridge and take it out the day of and a few hours before i bake them. So do i need to keep the dough out of the fridge for it to properly rise of will it be just fine in the fridge?

                        4. Great advice thank you.


                        5. Where is Bertucci's? i plan on making my own dough, i did this last night at a test, i used dough from the store and made pizza, it came out well. I also made fresh dough and so far so good. It was practice.

                        6. I will have steak also. Thanks

                        7. I do have all the tools so im good there. Check my tool thread

                        I was planning on getting sauce as i dont have time to make my own yet, any recommendations?. Also where do i get fresh Mozz cheese.


                        Thanks alot
                        Matthew 19:26. With God all things are possible.

                        My Build: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...les-18741.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                          So you have not made dough before? Flour is cheap, start making it now to get a feel for it, even if you just throw it away, although I keep doughballs in the fridge for several weeks with no degradation in quality.

                          Hydration is measured as a percent of the total weight of the ingredients.

                          From the recipe I linked:

                          Ingredient Baker's Percent Grams Ounces Pounds
                          OO Flour (100%) 691.04 g 24.38 oz 1.52 lbs
                          Water (60%) 414.62 g 14.63 oz 0.91 lbs
                          ADY (.075%) 0.52 g 0.02 oz 0 lbs
                          Salt (2%) 13.82 g 0.49 oz 2.88 tsp
                          Total (162.075%) 1120 g 39.51 oz 2.47 lbs
                          Single Ball 280 g 9.88 oz 0.62 lbs


                          Flour is always 100%, then the weight of everything else is expressed as a percent of the weight of that. This allows you to scale the recipe up or down regarding batch size. That recipe is a 60% hydration, which is low for what I currently make, but still manageable for a newcomer.

                          If you do not weigh ingredients (I don't normally), you have to have a feel for what is supposed to be like at the various stages on making it.

                          The same recipe expressed in a volumetric notation:

                          5 cups OO flour
                          2-1/2 to 3 cups water
                          1 tsp ADY
                          almost 3 tsp salt


                          As you can see, it is much less precise, and is not really scalable to a larger or smaller batch.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                            For sauce, go to Walmart and buy Classico crushed tomatoes. Taste them and add a small amount of salt and/or sugar to balance them, and that is all you need to do. Walmart also has whole milk mozzarella and generally carries some fresh mozzarella that is OK in a pinch.

                            (I hate Wallie-World, but I do go there for those 2 items as they are excellent)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

                              3. I agree about the dough keeping it atleast for 24hrs. So i can i make the dough 2 days in advance and just store it in the fridge and take it out the day of and a few hours before i bake them. So do i need to keep the dough out of the fridge for it to properly rise of will it be just fine in the fridge?

                              Ball the dough in the sizes you want the morning of the event or the night before place them in lightly oiled bowls or plastic bags or wrap also work.

                              Remove them from the fridge 2 hours before cooking, I usually remove 6 at a time in 30 minute increments or faster if needed.

                              Just before tossing flour well and then stretch into pies, a bowl filled with flour works well for this, just toss them in and flip them over.

                              Chip
                              Chip

                              Comment

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